Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Council At-Large: Marc Elrich

Council Member Marc Elrich finished second in the 2006 at-large Democratic primary. What does that mean this year?

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

Electoral Experience
Freshman at-large incumbent. Ran unsuccessfully in District 5 in 1990 and 1998 and at-large in 1994 and 2002. Finished second at-large in 2006. Takoma Park City Council Member, 1987-2006.

Areas of Strength, 2006
Finished first in Council District 5, State Legislative Districts 18 and 20, Takoma Park, Downtown Silver Spring and Kensington. Without Council District 5, Elrich would have finished fourth overall.

Areas of Weakness, 2006
Finished fifth in State Legislative Districts 15 and 17, Council District 3, Gaithersburg, Potomac, North Potomac and Cabin John.

In 2006, Elrich had the support of nearly every progressive group in the county but was not endorsed by the newspapers. This time, he retains all of his prior support plus the Post.

Campaign Receipts
$113,787 for the 2006 cycle, which ranked fifth. In the 2006 cycle through the Pre-Primary 1 report in 2006, Elrich raised $48,780. In the 2010 cycle through the Pre-Primary 1 report in 2010, Elrich has raised $87,411, a 79% increase from the prior cycle. Elrich has always refused contributions from developers, a policy that limits his financial capacity.

What is Different Now
On the downside, Elrich’s home base of State Legislative District 20 will probably have a lower turnout than in 2006. But there is simply no way that Elrich will finish fifth in Gaithersburg again. Elrich’s base is FAR bigger now than it was four years ago due to his close attention to local concerns all over the county. Your author cannot go anywhere in MoCo without finding Elrich supporters who credit him for listening to them on their issues. We expect his larger base plus the Post endorsement to more than make up for any shrinkage in District 20 turnout.


Elrich’s decision to reject developer financing is his biggest obstacle to reelection. (Many developers who are fans of Elrich’s BRT plan would likely give him MANY thousands of dollars if asked.) But Elrich’s cash on hand in mid-August ($59,553) was not much less than fellow incumbent George Leventhal’s ($70,461). With help from well-financed allies like County Executive Ike Leggett and Council Member Duchy Trachtenberg, Elrich could be able to mount a credible mail program. Overall, Elrich is a smart incumbent who has leveraged his opportunities for constituent service to generate lots of support for his return. We are picking Elrich to finish second, with an outside shot for first in the event that he attains financial parity with Leventhal.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at Duchy Trachtenberg.