Credit: Photo courtesy of Stephen Escobar and file photo

Stephen J. Escobar, a sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard, is challenging incumbent Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman in the city’s November election.

Escobar, 29, has been in the National Guard since 2010, and is assigned to the protective force for the Department of Energy on a contracted status, he told Bethesda Beat on Wednesday. For the past six years, he has also worked part-time as a Realtor, he said.

Escobar is challenging Ashman, 50, who has been mayor since 2014 after serving for seven years on the City Council.

Both candidates were certified Tuesday night by the city’s Board of Supervisors of Elections.

The board also certified five candidates for two open seats on the City Council in the Nov. 2 election:

  • Yamil Hernandez, the chief business officer of the biotechnology company ExeGi Pharma
  • Dave Belgard, the senior financial compliance officer at the aerospace company General Dynamics Information Technology
  • Jim McNulty, who chairs the Olde Town Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the city’s Economic Development Committee.
  • Philip Cook, a data auditor at Vanda Pharmaceuticals.
  • Lisa Henderson, an information technology specialist with Montgomery County government

City Council Members Laurie-Anne Sayles and Mike Sesma, whose seats are up for re-election this year, are not running. Sayles is instead running in the Democratic primary for next year’s at-large Montgomery County Council race.


Gaithersburg’s mayor and City Council members serve staggered four-year terms. The city holds its elections every two years during odd-numbered years.

The city previously allowed write-in candidates in its elections, but got rid of them last year.

Voting will be a combination of mail-in and in-person voting.


Dan Schere can be reached at

If MoCo360 keeps you informed, connected and inspired, circle up and join our community by becoming a member today. Your membership supports our community journalism and unlocks special benefits.