After two rounds of endorsements, the Montgomery County Public Schools teachers union is backing every state lawmaker from the county who is seeking re-election.
The union also is supporting four of the five incumbent County Council members who are seeking re-election to their seats. The exception is President Gabe Albornoz, an at-large council member. The union did not explain why.
In the contested at-large council race, the Montgomery County Education Association is endorsing incumbents Evan Glass and Will Jawando as they seek another term.
For the other two at-large seats, the union has bypassed Albornoz and is supporting challengers Brandy Brooks and Laurie-Anne Sayles.
The current fourth at-large council member, Hans Riemer, is running for county execuitve.
The union also has picked one candidate to back in each of the seven County Council district races:
• District 1: Andrew Friedson, an incumbent
• District 2: Will Roberts
• District 3: Sidney Katz, an incumbent
• District 4: Kate Stewart
• District 5: Fatmata Barrie
• District 6: Natali Fani-Gonzalez
• District 7: Dawn Luedtke
Like Riemer, Council Member Tom Hucker, who has a district seat, also is running for county executive this year. Council Members Craig Rice and Nancy Navarro, who also represent districts, can’t run for re-election this year because of term limits.
MCEA’s second round of endorsements also includes one in a contested school board race — Julie Yang in District 3.
The union has not made endorsements yet for county executive or for three school board seats (two by district, one at-large). Dustin Jeter, the chair of the union’s PACE Committee, said he expects decisions in those races to happen by early April. PACE stands for political action and community engagement.
In February, in its first round of picks, the union endorsed 25 of the 31 state lawmakers from the county in their bids for re-election. MCEA considered those to be “friendly incumbent” selections — a show of support for incumbents the union has endorsed before.
Challengers were not eligible to get endorsements in that round.
The union also omitted five delegates (Anne Kaiser, Linda Foley, Lily Qi, Sara Love and Charlotte Crutchfield) and one senator (Will Smith) from that list.
However, Jeter said those omissions could have been reasons not related to qualifications or voting records. Rather, a candidate might not have yet turned in a questionnaire or gone through an interview.
In the second round of endorsements announced last week, all six of those omitted lawmakers were included. Even though the second-round list did not specifically mention Smith, Jeter confirmed that the union has endorsed him.
The only incumbent in Montgomery County’s 32-member state delegation who did not get the union’s endorsement, Del. Jim Gilchrist in District 17, is the only one not running for re-election. Instead, the union endorsed challenger Joe Vogel for delegate in that district.
The union has not considered endorsements for a state legislative district that has been extended into Montgomery County through this year’s redistricting process. District 9A is mostly in Howard County, but now includes a portion of upper Montgomery County. That will give Montgomery one more senator and two more delegates in its delegation, starting with the next legislative session.
Five of Montgomery County’s eight state legislative districts before redistricting have contested races for delegate, with more candidates running than there are seats. Those are Districts 14, 15, 17, 19 and 39.
There are contested primary races for state Senate so far in four of the eight Montgomery County districts — 14, 18, 20 and 39.
MCEA’s endorsement process starts with an interview panel, which recommends choices to the union’s board of directors. Then, the representative assembly, with about 550 members from buildings and sites throughout the school district, makes the final decision on endorsements on behalf of the union, which has about 14,000 members.
There must be a vote with at least 58% in favor at each step in the process for a candidate to win an endorsement.
The filing deadline for the June 28 primary is March 22.
Asked why MCEA locked in its endorsements for many state and county legislative seats before the candidate filing period had closed, Jeter said the union felt confident making its choices now.
He said some of the factors in the endorsement process are advocacy of education and viability, which might be tough to establish for a candidate who has not filed yet.
MCEA also will be involved in helping the statewide teachers union, Maryland State Education Association, make its endorsement for governor.