Updated at 5 p.m. Monday: At-large Montgomery County Council member Nancy Floreen on Monday filed with the county’s Board of Elections to run for county executive as an independent.
Alysoun McLaughlin, the deputy director of the county board, confirmed Monday afternoon that Floreen filed a “declaration of intent” to run in the race.
Floreen, who lives in Garrett Park, said in a statement released Monday afternoon that she filed the paperwork because she faced a Monday deadline to do so, but she will wait until the Democratic primary results are certified to decide if she will run for county executive.
At-large council member Marc Elrich and businessman David Blair remain locked in a tight race for the Democratic nomination for county executive that hinges on an ongoing count of provisional and absentee ballots. After the most recent count concluded on Friday, Elrich leads Blair by 149 votes.
Election officials plan to count more than 5,000 provisional and absentee ballots on Thursday and Friday, which is expected to decide who won the Democratic primary.
“I did not support either David Blair or Marc Elrich,” Floreen said in the statement. “Whichever candidate prevails in the count will do so with less than 30 percent of the third of Democrats who voted–a fraction of a fraction. That’s less than 40,000 votes in a county of more than a million. I believe ALL Democrats, Republicans and independents would benefit from a third, independent choice.”
McLaughlin said Floreen is still registered as a Democrat, but that Floreen indicated in her paperwork that she would change her party registration to unaffiliated when first able to do so on July 9 under state law. Residents are not permitted to change their party registration 21 days before a primary election or until 11 days after.
McLaughlin said she did not know whether Floreen is legally permitted to file as an independent candidate for county executive while still registered as a Democrat.
“Legal counsel at the Board of Elections is reviewing that,” McLaughlin said.
Floreen had to file by 5 p.m. Monday as a candidate planning to run as unaffiliated in order to have her name appear on the general election ballot, according to the State Board of Elections. It appears, based on state election law, that Floreen also would have to obtain signatures from at least 1 percent of the county’s registered voters for her name to appear on the ballot. She would need to obtain about 6,500 signatures by 5 p.m. Aug. 6 to meet that requirement, according to the state board’s website.
Floreen, 66, has served as a Democratic at-large member on the council since first winning a seat in 2002. Like Elrich, she is term-limited and cannot run for another four-year term. She has served as the chair of the council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee since 2010.
If she’s legally able to run as an independent, it could set up a three-way race for county executive this fall between her, Elrich or Blair and Republican attorney Robin Ficker of Boyds.
Floreen backed former Rockville mayor Rose Krasnow in the Democratic primary for county executive. Krasnow finished third, more than 10,000 votes behind both Blair and Elrich.