Del. Tom Hucker to announce candidacy for Montgomery County Council Dist. 5 seat

February 23

Del. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery), confirming a widely expected move, said he will file Monday as a candidate in the Democratic primary for the District 5 Montgomery County Council seat.

“I’m in,” said Hucker, 46, who is serving his second term in the Maryland House of Delegates representing state legislative District 20. It includes much of the Silver Spring and Takoma Park area covered by the council seat. The seat is currently held by Council member Cherri Branson (D-Silver Spring), appointed last month to finish the unexpired term of Valerie Ervin, who resigned. Branson will not be a candidate in the June primary.

Hucker joins what could be a crowded field that already includes Silver Spring activist Evan Glass and Jeffrey Thames, founder of Hope Restored, a community service nonprofit. Also expected to file before the 9 p.m. Tuesday deadline are Board of Education member Christopher Barclay and Takoma Park activist Terrill North.

Hucker is the founder and former executive director of Progressive Maryland, a group that promotes policies to benefit working-class families. He said Saturday that he seeks to extend a tradition of “proven progressive representation in Rockville” established by Ervin and her predecessor, Thomas Perez, who is now the U.S. labor secretary.

His announcement came with an endorsement from House Speaker Michael E. Busch: “I I am confident he will be a strong and effective advocate for the people of his district and all of Montgomery County,” he said in a statement.

Hucker enters the race with a significant financial edge: nearly $147,000 in cash on-hand from prior fundraising for state House campaigns, according to the most recent finance report. Glass shows $57,000 in cash. Thames has yet to file a report, according to the Maryland Board of Elections.

Hucker also has strong ties to labor from his work for Progressive Maryland, where he still serves on the board of directors. In his 2006 and 2010 state House campaigns, and in his previously planned bid for a third term this year, he was endorsed by the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), the teachers union that publishes the influential Apple Ballot.

Hucker said Saturday that he expected to receive the MCEA endorsement again. But Barclay, a pick for the Apple Ballot in 2012, could pose a dilemma for the union. As a board of education member — and president in 2010 and 2013 — he works closely with MCEA leadership and has a hand in forming and approving the school-system budget.

Barclay can keep his school board seat while running for County Council. It means that should he be denied the MCEA endorsement and go on to lose, the union will face at least two more years of doing business with him. If he wins, the MCEA could end up with a former friend on the council. All of which could be a bit awkward.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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