Gov. Martin O’Malley endorsed Del. Tom Hucker in the Montgomery County Council District 5 race Monday, calling him a “progressive champion.”

“As a former local elected official, I know that skill and experience affect your ability to get things done,” O’Malley said in a statement. “And as a Democrat who grew up in Montgomery County, I know we need an effective, proven progressive leader on the Montgomery County Council. ... Tom is highly qualified and will be ready on day one to grow the middle class and protect the most vulnerable individuals in Montgomery County.”

Hucker had been expected to receive the Montgomery teachers union endorsement last week after it had been stripped from another District 5 candidate, school board member Christopher Barclay, amid reports of credit card abuse and poor fundraising. It didn’t happen. But he said this was welcome news.

“It’s truly an honor to have the endorsement of Gov. Martin O’Malley, “ Hucker said, “whose record as governor has set a national standard for effective, progressive leadership. If elected, I look forward to continuing the progress we’ve accomplished for Montgomery County.”