Democratic Montgomery County executive candidate Marc Elrich now has the force of a Super PAC behind him.
Progressive Maryland Liberation Alliance PAC, which is the Super PAC of the liberal group Progressive Maryland, will be working to support Elrich in the last few weeks before the Nov. 6 election, said Chairman Larry Stafford.
Progressive Maryland focuses on issues such as raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, police reform and getting money out of politics. The organization endorsed Elrich during the primary campaign, but Stafford said the PAC only began working to support Elrich a week or two ago. Progressive Maryland is also aligned with several organizations that have endorsed Elrich, including The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 and CASA in Action.
During the primary, Progressive Maryland Liberation Alliance PAC focused on opposing Potomac businessman David Blair’s campaign, spending more than $200,000 on anti-Blair advertising, according to records from the Maryland State Board of Elections campaign finance database. Elrich ultimately won the six-way June 26 primary, defeating Blair by 77 votes.
“We were always supportive of Elrich, but our main priority was to oppose David Blair, given that he had never been in the public arena or held elective office before,” Stafford said.
In addition to raising and spending money on pro-Elrich messaging, Stafford said the PAC will also focus on opposition to independent candidate Nancy Floreen, who he fears is being heavily influenced by developers that have given large amounts of money.
“We want to make sure voters know where Nancy Floreen stands with her record,” he said.
Elrich is using Montgomery County’s new public financing system, which means he can’t accept contributions from Super PACs or individuals in amounts of more than $150. But a Super PAC can operate independently as long as there is no coordination with the Elrich campaign.
Floreen, who announced her candidacy in August, was not eligible to participate in public financing due to her late entry into the race, and therefore can accept contributions of up to $6,000 from individuals. Developer Charles K. Nulsen III, president of Washington Property Co., created the Super PAC County Above Party on Aug. 29 to support Floreen. That Super PAC had raised $155,500 through Sept. 21.
Stafford said Progressive Maryland Liberation Alliance PAC’s support for Elrich is not meant as a response to County Above Party, but rather as a counter force to what he says is the fear that “the developers are going to do everything in their power” to help Floreen win.
Stafford declined to say how much the Super PAC plans to raise or spend.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org