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Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker will run for county executive in 2022

Tom Hucker, shown speaking at a hearing in Rockville in 2019, has sought to position himself as an ally to tenants, unions and transit-oriented groups while a member of the Montgomery County Council. (Cheryl Diaz Meyer/for The Washington Post)
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Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker said Friday that he plans to run for county executive in 2022, becoming the fourth person in the deep-blue county of 1 million hoping to clinch the Democratic nomination next June.

Hucker (District 5), who first said in July that he was forming an exploratory committee to evaluate a bid for the county’s top post, confirmed in an interview that he plans to file his candidacy next month, after wrapping up his one-year term as council president. The news was first reported in the Bethesda Beat.

“The county needs a change in course,” said Hucker, 54, who wants to see the county take more ambitious steps toward expanding affordable housing and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

County Executive Marc Elrich (D) plans to seek reelection, primarily by drawing on Montgomery’s relative success in curbing the spread of the coronavirus and vaccinating residents at a high rate. His Democratic challengers include businessman David Blair and term-limited at-large council member Hans Riemer. Less than half of Montgomery’s 1 million residents are White, but so far, all four candidates for county executive in 2022 are White men.

Unlike Riemer, Hucker is not term-limited and could run to serve a third term on the council.

“For me to set aside what should be a safe reelection and put myself forward reflects the fact that there have been many people asking for an experienced progressive who knows how to get things done,” Hucker said.

A Silver Spring resident, Hucker started his political career in the 1990s campaigning for environmental causes in Maryland. He served as a state delegate for eight years before becoming a county council member in 2014.

On the council, Hucker has sought to position himself as an ally to tenants, unions and transit-oriented groups. He has spearheaded bills mandating air conditioning in all rental properties and required window guards in all units with small children. More recently, he led legislation that requires the police department to more regularly report body-camera footage that captures use-of-force incidents.

When Hucker, who shares some of the same support base as Elrich, took on the role of council president last December, some lawmakers thought he might be able to repair the council’s relationship with the executive branch, which had frayed last year over fiscal decisions and several ethics scandals. In recent months however, Hucker has increasingly clashed with Elrich.

“The approach of this administration on most major topics has been paralysis,” Hucker said Friday. Elrich did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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