Nuchhi Currier, who has twice served as president of the Washington-based Woman’s National Democratic Club in recent years, is the latest entrant into the 2018 race for the House of Delegates from District 16 in Montgomery County.
Currier—who moved back to Chevy Chase this year after living in Washington, D.C., for the past decade—filed with the Maryland Board of Elections late last week to create a campaign committee. She said in a phone interview Monday that she plans to formally announce her candidacy soon, although a date has not been set.
She becomes the fifth non-incumbent candidate in the Democratic primary taking aim at the slot being given up by Del. Bill Frick, who is running for county executive. District 16 is based in Bethesda and includes parts of Chevy Chase and Potomac.
Currier, a Pakistani-born writer and consultant who holds a master’s degree in international affairs from New York’s Columbia University, first presided over the Woman’s National Democratic Club from 2009 to 2013. She was again elected to head the organization last year, for a term that ends this June—the same month as Maryland’s June 26 primary election.
The club, headquartered in a historic mansion near Dupont Circle in downtown Washington, was founded in 1922, two years after the U.S. Constitution was amended to give women the right to vote. It has long sponsored twice-weekly sessions featuring prominent speakers, including leading national Democrats.
More recently, it served as a base of D.C. operations for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign during the fall of 2016. Last month, Currier joined U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California in presenting Clinton with the organization’s “Democratic Woman of the Year” award during an emotional ceremony at the club.
While Currier can boast of extensive experience on the national and international fronts—she is also a visiting professor in her native Pakistan at what she said is the “oldest business school in the world outside of America”—she has little background in state and local politics in Maryland. Before returning to Chevy Chase to live last February, she last lived in the state from 2005 to 2007.
Asked why she is now seeking to shift her focus to Annapolis, Currier replied, “I am steeped in policy and politics, and I just thought this was a logical step for me.” She later added, “I decided that women needed a stronger voice, and when I say a stronger voice, I mean that there need to be more women in office.”
Born Nusrat Rahim (Nuchhi is a nickname), the 66-year old Currier immigrated to the United States more than three decades ago, and became a U.S. citizen soon after her arrival in New York City.
While declining to detail the issues she will emphasize in the forthcoming campaign pending her formal announcement of candidacy, she seems poised to highlight her immigrant background.
“When it comes to education, when it comes to the environment, when it comes to issues that the less privileged face … all these issues are so close to my heart because of my own personal experience in the countries that I have lived in,” she said, adding: “When I worked in the Persian Gulf for eight years, I saw how immigrants were treated or mistreated. So a lot of things that people talk about, I have actually seen. Some of them I might have even experienced.”
“I think that my background sort of speaks for me,” Currier said.
At the Woman’s National Democratic Club, “I’ve written statements on every current issue that faces our nation today. I’ve been particularly active in the last few months,” she said.
Recent “Messages from the President” posted by Currier on the club’s website touch on topics ranging from gun control to voter suppression to race relations, as well as immigration reform.
Moving to the Washington area in 2005 from New York, Currier and her husband, G. William Currier, lived in an apartment on Willard Avenue in Chevy Chase. Two years later, the couple purchased and moved into a townhouse in the Logan Circle neighborhood in downtown Washington. “The proximity to Bill’s work and my work dictated that,” Currier said.
They sold that residence in early 2017 after William Currier retired as a partner in the Washington office of White & Case, an international law firm, and moved back to Chevy Chase to another apartment on Willard Avenue.
“Now, we have gone back home. We have moved back to where we started,” Nuchhi Currier said. “That had been my home when I first moved to this area. For every facility and amenity that I wanted to use, I’d go back there. I’ve now been back for almost a year.”
However, according to records on the Maryland Board of Elections website, Currier did not register to vote in Chevy Chase until Nov. 30 of this year, barely two weeks before she filed to establish a committee to run for delegate. She said she had sought to register to vote in Maryland earlier this year when she shifted her driver’s license from D.C., and blamed the delay on a bureaucratic “glitch.”
“I went to change my driver’s license and asked them to do it then,” she said of the voter registration. “I realized later it had never been done because I hadn’t gotten my card. I applied online again, and still didn’t receive it. So I called them up and said, ‘What’s going on?’”
Currier said that Nov. 30 was “the date they actually got their act together, because I had been chasing them for a while. I’ve been a resident since the middle of February , but because of this glitch, the voter registration hadn’t taken effect.”
Under the Maryland constitution, a person seeking election as a senator or delegate to the General Assembly must have been a resident of the state for at least a year prior to the next election, and must have resided in the district he or she is seeking to represent for at least six months.
The 2018 general election will be Nov. 6.
Currier said she has yet to finalize a budget of what she aims to raise and spend for the District 16 contest, where winning campaigns in recent years have exceeded $200,000. Asked if she would rely on outside contributions or self-funding, she said, “I think it’s going to be a combination.”
Her campaign treasurer, Robbie Rich of Bethesda, was co-chair of the Montgomery County branch of the Clinton presidential campaign in 2016.
In District 16, which is represented by three delegates, Democratic incumbents Ariana Kelly and Marc Korman are seeking re-election. Currier joins a field of announced or filed non-incumbent candidates that also includes civic activist Jordan Cooper, attorneys Joseph Hennessey and Sara Love, and teacher Samir Paul. Real estate agent Bonnie Casper, immediate past president of the Maryland Association of Realtors, is considering a bid.
No Republicans have filed so far in the district, where Democrats enjoy a nearly 3-1 advantage in voter registration.