Montgomery County Council Member Tom Hucker backed out of the county executive race hours before Friday’s deadline and filed to run for the County Council instead.
The last-minute switch drops the Democratic primary field for county executive to incumbent Marc Elrich and three challengers — Council Member Hans Riemer, businessman David Blair and tech CEO Peter James.
Two Republicans are competing — GOP Chairman Reardon Sullivan and attorney Shelly Skolnick.
The filing deadline for the July 19 primary was 9 p.m. Friday.
Hucker said in an interview on Friday night that he had been thinking during the last month or so about whether to switch to a council race instead.
He took part on Thursday morning in a forum that Bethesda Beat and Bethesda Magazine organized for Democratic county executive candidates.
He said he explored the idea further after the forum, including in a conversation with Elrich.
“We always knew it would be a challenge to take on a well-funded candidate … or a county executive with hundreds of employees supporting him,” Hucker said.
Hucker was the fourth Democrat to enter the race — after Elrich, Blair and Riemer.
He declared his candidacy in November 2021 while he was president of the County Council. He waited until December to file, so that his one-year presidency would be over.
Hucker, who is finishing his second term on the County Council, currently represents District 5, which includes Silver Spring, Takoma Park and other eastern parts of the county.
However, the county created a new map, with redrawn boundaries, reflecting population changes after the 2020 U.S. census and the council expansion that voters approved from nine to 11 seats.
Hucker now joins the race for four at-large seats.
The Democratic primary has eight candidates for those four seats. Incumbents Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass and Will Jawando are seeking re-election. The other challengers, besides Hucker, are Brandy Brooks, Dana Gassaway, Scott Evan Goldberg, and Laurie Anne-Sayles.
Three Republicans are running for at-large seats — Christopher Fiotes, Lenard Lieber and Dwight Patel.
Hucker said an at-large race was more logical than trying to run in the new District 4, which includes only some of his current district.
“I think that makes more sense than moving to a district that’s never elected me in the first place,” he said.