Maryland House Majority Leader C. William Frick (D-Montgomery) announced Wednesday that he will run for Montgomery County executive in 2018 despite previously filing paperwork and fundraising for a congressional campaign.
Frick, 42, said he decided to enter the executive's race because he wants to bring "a new generation of leadership" to the jurisdiction. He is more than a decade younger than the three other Democratic candidates, County Council members Roger Berliner (Potomac-Bethesda), 66; Marc Elrich (At Large), 67; and George L. Leventhal (At Large), 54.
"As I spent time traveling around the state and county, I heard time and again that people were looking for new leadership at this level ... and they weren't seeing that leadership coming from the current field," he said.
Activist attorney Robin Ficker is seeking the Republican nomination. The primary is in June.
Frick, who announced his executive campaign on Facebook, filed paperwork this year with the Federal Election Commission to raise money for a run to represent Maryland's 6th Congressional District. That seat is being vacated by Rep. John Delaney (D), who has said he will run for president in 2020. As of June 30, Frick had raised$213,000 for the 6th District race.
Frick would have faced fellow Democrats David Trone, a wealthy businessman who last year spent more than $12 million of his own money in an unsuccessful primary bid for the 8th Congressional District seat; state Del. Aruna Miller (Montgomery); state Sen. Roger Manno (Montgomery); and retired intelligence officer Andrew Duck.
Frick said he will refund the money he raised for his congressional campaign to the donors. In the executive's race, he does not plan to use Montgomery County's new public-financing system, which Leventhal and Elrich have said they will use.
"I don't care for the way council members raised taxes and put a lot of the money into a fund for them to run for office," he said. "It sent the wrong signal to taxpayers."
In the race to succeed retiring County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), Frick is the only Democratic candidate so far who is not a County council member. Unlike Elrich and Leventhal, he has never run a countywide political campaign.
As county executive, he said, one of his priorities would be to bolster economic development in the county: "You've seen a sense that Montgomery County is no longer the leader in the D.C. metropolitan area economically, and we need to regain that edge."
In his Facebook announcement, Frick, who lives in Bethesda, accused Montgomery's political leadership of failing to adequately address challenges facing the county.
"Our demands exceed our capacity, on our roads and in our classrooms," he said. "Too often, local leaders have been complacent, content to raise taxes and resist vital reforms, and our small businesses and parents grow more and more frustrated."
In Maryland's General Assembly, where he joined the House of Delegates in 2007, Frick's accomplishments include passing legislation to create a program in which the state will help sponsor individual retirement accounts for Maryland workers; and a bill that requires the energy companies in the state to buy 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020.
The candidate earned a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is an attorney at the D.C. offices of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.
Leggett is term-limited and could not seek reelection next year. Berliner, Elrich and Leventhal are also term-limited in their council positions.