Del. Al Carr (D-Kensington), who has served in the House of Delegates since 2007, withdrew from re-election to the House’s 18th District on Friday, the filing deadline, and opted to run for County Council District 4 instead.
Because Carr was running alongside current delegates Emily Shetty and Jared Solomon in District 18, and no other Democrats had filed, his decision means that the county’s Democratic central committee needs to nominate someone to fill his spot on the primary ballot, since the filing deadline has passed, according to state and local law.
The new County Council District 4 includes North Bethesda, winds through Kensington and includes much of Silver Spring and all of Takoma Park. Carr said one of the reasons he decided to run in it was because of the overlap between it and District 18 in the House of Delegates.
Carr will face the following people in the Democratic primary:
- Friends of White Flint Executive Director Amy Ginsburg
- Troy Murtha, a law student at George Washington University, per his LinkedIn page
- Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart
- John Zittrauer, an employee at Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring
Carr said in an interview that he arrived at the state Board of Elections office in Annapolis around 6 p.m. on Friday to withdraw from the House race, and then drove to Gaithersburg to file for the County Council District 4 race.
Carr said he waited until Friday to make his decision, because he didn’t know until Wednesday if the Maryland Court of Appeals was going to throw out the proposed state legislative map.
Arthur Edmunds, chair of the Democratic Central Committee, said in an interview that he and colleagues will meet on Tuesday to see who will want to run for the seat. They have until Wednesday to select someone, he said.
When asked about the position he put the central committee in with his decision, Carr said there were a lot of unknowns because of the state legislative map challenge and other factors.
“If I would have told people a few days earlier, ‘Hey, I think I’m running for County Council,’ and then backed out, I don’t think that would have been fair to people either,” Carr said.
Edmunds said that the decision to replace Carr on the ballot with someone else is still “a moving target.”
But he later added: “The committee will submit a name by the deadline, I am very confident.”
He hadn’t heard from Carr beforehand that he was going to switch races. He demurred when asked whether the process of the central committee selecting someone to be on the ballot was less democratic than the normal candidate filing process.
“I don’t have any comment other than, we didn’t ask for this,” Edmunds said.
Carr said that he had considered running for County Council District 1 in 2018, but ultimately decided against it. He noted there were multiple other candidates running and that the timing wasn’t right.
As a former member of the Kensington Town Council, Carr said he has always been interested in local government issues. He believes Montgomery County needs to have stronger ethics laws, and that all boards and commissions should seek to be more transparent with residents.
He also said the county needs to better address infrastructure issues, such as better broadband service, and major flooding.
“We have a lot of neighborhoods that have experienced flooding, catastrophic property damage …it threatens [people’s] housing, it threatens the property, and unfortunately, the county has not had a coordinated response to that,” Carr said.
He said he likes his chances in the District 4 race, and looks forward to meeting voters in the coming months. Carr said he possesses the institutional knowledge and relationships in Annapolis that will help at the local government level.
“I think the council will benefit from having an experienced legislator,” Carr said.
The filing deadline was 9 p.m. Friday. The primary election is scheduled for July 19. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 8.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org