Two well-known members of Congress who represent Montgomery County said they will not endorse a candidate to replace County Executive Ike Leggett before the June 26 Democratic primary.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen told Bethesda Beat while attending a political event in Silver Spring on Monday that he will not endorse any of the six Democrats who are running.
“We have a lot of good candidates in the county executive race,” Van Hollen said.
The Democratic candidates are County Council members Marc Elrich, Roger Berliner and George Leventhal as well as businessman David Blair, state Del. Bill Frick (D-Bethesda) and former Rockville mayor Rose Krasnow.
Van Hollen was at the political event at the Silver Spring Library to support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rushern Baker, the Prince George’s County executive. In November, Van Hollen endorsed Baker in in the governor’s race.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park, who represents the 8th District, is also not endorsing a candidate in the county executive race.
“I have no plans to endorse in this race or any other of the open-seat races,” Raskin said in a statement sent Monday to Bethesda Beat.
Leggett, who plans to retire at the end of his term in December, has not formally said whether he will endorse a county executive candidate. Attempts to contact him Monday were not successful and his spokesman Patrick Lacefield did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The endorsements of either Raskin, Van Hollen or Leggett would have likely been a boost to one of the candidates in a race in which there is no clear front-runner. Two candidates have received significant endorsements recently—Elrich has landed endorsements from unions such as MCGEO Local 1994 and the county teachers’ union, while Blair received the endorsement of The Washington Post. The candidates have few opportunities remaining to bolster support before early voting begins Thursday and the primary election takes place June 26.
Blair picked up another endorsement recently—that of state Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat from Takoma Park. Franchot wrote in an email message to his supporters this week that Blair has a vision to ensure the county’s economic competitiveness and prosperity.
“There is nobody who has a clearer understanding than David of the pressures facing Montgomery County’s working, middle-class families—far too many of whom have seen the size of their paychecks stagnate while the cost of living continues to rise,” Franchot wrote.
Rep. John Delaney of Potomac, who represents the 6th Congressional District, gave a tacit endorsement of Blair on Twitter last week. He wrote that Blair “would be a superb Montgomery County executive and help make MoCo more competitive for jobs.”
Delaney is running for president and is stepping down from his 6th District seat. Blair is a multimillionaire businessman who is running for public office for the first time—following a path similar to that of Delaney, who successfully ran for Congress in 2012 as a business executive with no political experience.