Montgomery County Council member George Leventhal has formally entered the 2018 county executive’s race, promising a culture of customer service for all taxpayers and continued support for the poor, elderly, disabled and homeless in Maryland’s most populous locality.
“You have every right to expect that when you interact with Montgomery County government, you get an answer to your question and a satisfactory effort to solve your problem,” Leventhal, 54, told supporters Saturday at Wheaton Regional Park.
Leventhal (D-At Large), who lives in Takoma Park, has actually been running for months, collecting the small individual donations needed to qualify for public matching funds under the county’s new campaign finance system.
The primary is scheduled for June 26, 2018, and others may enter the field. Potomac wine executive David Trone said he’ll likely run for county executive if Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) chooses to remain in his 6th District congressional seat. Delaney has been weighing a run for governor. Other possible contenders include former council member Mike Knapp and Del. Benjamin F. Kramer (D-Montgomery). The lone Republican candidate to announce so far is activist attorney Robin Ficker.
Incumbent executive Isiah Leggett (D) is retiring after three terms.
Leventhal, serving his fourth term on the council, is the longtime chairman of the health and human services committee. He was a key figure in establishing Montgomery Cares, which provides health care to the uninsured.
Paraphrasing Hubert Humphrey, Leventhal said: “I believe a community should be judged not on how it cares for those with the most resources, but how it cares for those who most need a government on their side.”
Leventhal also led the passage of a controversial 2015 bill that barred cosmetic pesticides from private lawns. The measure is being challenged in court by lawn care companies, homeowners and a trade association for the pesticide industry.
Like Elrich and Berliner, Leventhal is term-limited on the council under the provisions of the ballot question approved by Montgomery voters in November, which limits council members and the county executive to no more than three consecutive terms