Monday, August 23, 2010

Council At-Large: George Leventhal

Council Member George Leventhal finished first in the 2006 at-large Democratic primary. What does that mean this year?

First, some basic statistics on Leventhal along with his performance chart in 2006.

Electoral Experience
Two-term at-large incumbent. Finished fourth in 2002 as a member of the End Gridlock slate. Finished first in 2006. Former Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.

Areas of Strength, 2006
Almost everywhere. Leventhal finished first in four of five Council Districts and five of eight State Legislative Districts. He finished first in Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Germantown, Potomac, Chevy Chase and Olney, among MANY places.

Areas of Weakness, 2006
Finished fifth in Poolesville and fourth in Garrett Park and Dickerson. In other words, Leventhal had almost no geographic weaknesses.

In 2006, Leventhal had the Apple, the Post, lots of labor support, lots of business support… you name it, he had it, except for the Gazette. His endorsements are similarly numerous this year.

Campaign Receipts
$328,606 for the 2006 cycle, second only to Nancy Floreen. In the 2006 cycle through the Pre-Primary 1 report in 2006, Leventhal raised $285,246. In the 2010 cycle through the Pre-Primary 1 report in 2010, Leventhal has raised $257,353, a 10% decrease from the prior cycle.

What is Different Now
The Washington Post has targeted Leventhal for defeat over his dealings with the unions. We find the Post’s arguments against Leventhal to be unfair, but the Post is the lone political actor in the county that is unaccountable to anyone. (Witness the lack of consequence for the paper’s former practice of using a non-resident intern to write its local editorials.) Leventhal’s cash position is also not what it once was. In mid-August 2006, he had $132,162 in the bank. In mid-August 2010, he reported having $70,461.


We do not believe the Post’s attacks or cash flow issues will seriously hinder Leventhal. He finished first in 2006 largely because he was the only at-large incumbent to hold a spot on the Apple Ballot, he had good financing and he had very broad institutional support. Not much has changed. George Leventhal is a strong incumbent who will return. We are picking Leventhal to finish first, with a second-place finish possible if fellow incumbent Marc Elrich improves his financial performance.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at Marc Elrich.