Elizabeth W. Spencer resigned yesterday from the Montgomery County school board seat she held for nearly eight years to challenge her board colleague, Marian L. Greenblatt, for the Republican nomination for Congress.
Without directly mentioning Greenlatt's name, Spencer made it clear that she was entering the race because of her differences, both in style and substance, with Greenblatt, leader of the board's conservative majority.
"I speak and act with common sense, avoid gross emotionalism and attempts to polarize issues and people," Spencer said.
Spencer carefully avoided stating any specific positions, saying only that, "Today is not the occasion to address in detail the complex details facing the 8th (Congressional) District and the nation."
Likewise, Spencer declined to cite specific differences between herself and Greenblatt. When pressed by reporters, Spencer -- keeping with the low-profile image that has been her hallmark on the board -- avoided any direct attacks. "I think I am better able to look at issues, to listen to both sides, and perhaps not speak with as strident a voice," Spencer said.
Greenblatt often has been accused of stridency for her central role during last years' school closing debate and in this campaign for her statements calling incumbent Democratic Congressman Michael Barnes a supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a charge Barnes and his supporters have denounced.
The strong Jewish backlash over Greenblatt's accusation caused some Republicans to question whether Greenblatt would prove too combative a standard bearer for the electorate in this county.
Greenblatt campaign manager James Teese said he did not expect the primary challenge from either Spencer or little-known Republican newcomer Kurt Summers to divert any money from their general election campaign. He added that a primary may be helpful in increasing media coverage, therefore boosting Greenblatt's name recognition.
Spencer said she has not yet begun to raise money, since "my commitment to the ethics of a nonpartisan school board" prohibited her from talking with Republican leaders or fund-raisers.