Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) endorsed David Blair for Montgomery county executive on Monday, becoming the first politician to officially back the largely self-funded, outsider candidate.
Franchot, who lives in Takoma Park and served in the House of Delegates for two decades, is seen as a bit of a maverick among Democrats — a fiscal conservative who is close with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
He said that Blair, who started and sold a successful prescription-drug benefits company, has a better understanding that any other candidate in the June 26 Democratic primary “of the pressures facing Montgomery County’s working, middle-class families.”
Blair has received a handful of other endorsements, including from The Washington Post’s editorial board (which is separate from its news operation), the Apartment & Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington and the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats of Maryland and Montgomery County.
Earlier this month, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), who is running for president in 2020, tweeted that Blair “would be a superb Montgomery County Executive and help make MoCo more competitive for jobs.”
In his endorsement email, Franchot argued that Blair was the candidate who knows that immediate action is needed to “create a stronger and more competitive business environment,” adding later in bold: “beginning with an end to the government liquor monopoly” in Montgomery County.
Blair is one of several Democratic candidates for county executive who has said the county should not be in the liquor business — but he’s also said the move to get out of it would be “difficult to unwind,” noting the need to “take care of” the hundreds of county workers who staff the liquor stores and make alcohol deliveries.
The system also contributes roughly $30 million a year in revenue to the county’s budget.
Early voting begins on Thursday.