Opinion | Elrich gained in Montgomery County. He should do higher in his second time period.



Montgomery County Government Marc Elrich has fended off challengers for his job within the Democratic major, all however guaranteeing him a second time period as the highest native elected official in Maryland’s most populous locality. He gained by a gossamer margin, beating his closest rival, businessman David Blair, by fewer than three dozen votes out of greater than 141,000 solid. His victory was hard-fought and legit — it took election officers greater than a month, together with a recount, to tally the ballots.

Nonetheless, the outcome was not precisely a ringing endorsement; it’s truthful to see it as a chastening. Regardless of a serious name-recognition benefit and an enormous lead in early polls, Mr. Elrich was the selection of barely fewer than 4 in 10 Democrats who solid a vote. The perfect that may be stated is that he did higher than in 2018, when, in a crowded celebration major area, fewer than 3 in 10 Democrats backed him. (Lively registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in Montgomery by practically 10 to 1.)

The query now could be whether or not Mr. Elrich will alter course in a second time period: to enhance his poisonous relations with the county council; to juice Montgomery’s sluggish efficiency in constructing inexpensive housing; and to improve the county’s also-ran regional standing in attracting new companies and employers, a precondition for supporting higher native companies and public colleges. These are alternatives for Mr. Elrich to up his recreation over the approaching 4 years. He ought to seize them.

There isn’t a denying his intelligence, encyclopedic information of the county or attraction to a sure sort of voter. Though he’s undoubtedly a liberal, lots of these voters admire what might be interpreted as his important conservatism — outlined as a resistance to improvement of all types and, extra broadly, change within the bodily panorama.

Like him or not, Mr. Elrich has constructed his recognition and his model as a champion for numerous group teams which have opposed constructing new issues — from roads to transit traces to companies to housing to athletic fields. He even opposed bringing the Fillmore live performance corridor, a well-liked first-class venue, to Silver Spring.

However standing towards issues won’t give Montgomery what it wants, or create for Mr. Elrich a lot of a legacy. It’s time for him to forge a contemporary begin, and the constructing blocks for one are seen. They embody a brand new governor — Mr. Elrich has feuded bitterly with the term-limited incumbent, Republican Larry Hogan — in addition to new county council, on which six first-termers are more likely to compose a majority of the 11 seats.

The chief metric of success for Mr. Elrich begins with a extra sturdy employment base in a county that, regardless of broad affluence and a deep effectively of extremely educated individuals, has misplaced hundreds of high-paying jobs to neighboring jurisdictions for a lot of the previous 15 years. The county has underperformed even in life sciences, which Mr. Elrich himself has recognized as a key space for strategic progress.

Mr. Elrich deserves congratulations for his victory. Montgomery deserves a greater efficiency from him in a second time period.


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