Monday, September 04, 2006

Leggett's Staying Potential

In an earlier post, I made the case for why the race for Montgomery County Executive appears to be Steve Silverman's to lose.

One reader of that post (jsmdlawyer) made a savvy comment that the money race is more equal than it appears. Although Silverman has raised far more money ($2.2 million) than Ike Leggett ($831,000), he has also spent most of it. Leggett has husbanded his cash far more carefully. Leggett's last pre-primary report reveals that he has $430,220 to spend on the last days of the campaign. Silverman's report is not yet up on the database but the Washington Post reports he has $642,069 left in the bank. Unlike many candidates, Leggett will be able to come on strong in the final days. He'll still trail Silverman but he'll be competitive as long as voters have not already made up their minds based on Silverman's earlier attacks.

Of course, it is people and not dollars that ultimately vote in elections. And Leggett appears to have some real people power. As I walked down the Kensington Labor Day Parade route, I saw simply tons of people wearing shirts and otherwise showing their support for Leggett. In contrast, the only people I saw outwardly supporting Silverman were the people surrounding his car in the parade route. One suspected that Leggett would have won the votes of parade attendees in a landslide. While I wonder if Leggett is as well know in the newer subdivisions upcounty or among other people who have moved into Montgomery since Leggett left the Council, I just haven't seen that level of passion or breadth of support for Silverman.

Leggett's challenge in the final days is to communicate a coherent vision to voters so that he can both counter Silverman's attacks, which have had an impact on at least some of my neighbors, and to broadcast his own coherent vision for Montgomery beyond his impressive and inspirising biography. And it wouldn't hurt him a bit if that army of support in Kensington today showed up to orchestrate a big turnout for him on September 12th.

One thing is certain: voters in Montgomery have an enviable choice between two excellent candidates.