The Washington Post

Andrews reaches out to Montgomery voters with neighbor-to-neighbor letters

Montgomery County Executive candidate and County Council member Phil Andrews (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

As candidates inundate Montgomery Democratic households with slick, pricey mailers in advance of the June 24 primary, Council member Phil Andrews is trying a different approach to cut through the clutter in his campaign for county executive: neighbor-to-neighbor letters.

On Friday, his staff began hauling an estimated 30,000 letters to the post office, written by volunteers to friends or neighbors urging them to vote for Andrews.

“It’s different to hear something coming from someone in your community,” said campaign manager Chandler Bellanca.

He said a group of about 300 long-time Andrews supporters began writing the letters last year. They were given some basic guidance on what to include, but largely left on their own.

“Everyone has their own reasons for voting for Phil,” Bellanca said.

Andrews (D-Rockville-Gaithersburg), who has used the personal letter approach in his council campaigns, needs every tool at his disposal. Incumbent Isiah Leggett is outspending him by a 10-to-1 margin, according to the latest campaign finance reports. Leggett had slightly over $1 million cash on hand as of May 20, compared to $93,000 for Andrews. The third candidate, former county executive Doug Duncan, reported $343,000 in the bank.

Volunteers paid for envelopes and postage, which totaled about $23,000 in in-kind contributions, according to Andrews’ finance filing.

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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