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Phil Andrews is the one constant in the Maryland Democratic primary. At first, it appeared he would be squaring off against some of his council colleagues for the party's nomination for county executive. And then former county executive Doug Duncan entered the race, followed shortly thereafter by current executive Isiah Leggett.
That scared away all the council members who looked like they would run, except Andrews.
"I offer the change Montgomery County needs," Andrews says. "Stronger fiscal leadership. Much more of an assertive approach in Annapolis, so that we receive a fair share back of our tax dollars rather than just 20 cents on the dollar. And independence from interest groups."
The latter two issues are in many ways the hallmarks of Andrews' campaign. He says the county's delegation in the General Assembly — which is the largest — is not united, leading to diminishing state aid. Andrews believes uniting the delegation is the county executive's job, something that takes more than just talking.
"Make sure they are hearing from their constituents, because their constituents will have a lot of impact on them. That's the missing part right now," Andrews says. "The current county executive and the former have not mobilized the constituents, the people of Montgomery County, to advocate in large enough numbers with our own delegation."
Andrews is not accepting money from developers and unions during this campaign, something that has put him at a severe financial disadvantage compared to his two opponents. But he does find hope in how the incumbent first won the office eight years ago.
"Yes it makes it harder to raise the same amount of funds. But when (Isiah) Leggett ran against (Steve) Silverman in 2006, he was outspent by more than $1 million," Andrews says. "And he got 60 percent of the vote. So you need enough money to get your message out. And we're doing that."
Regardless of the outcome, Andrews decision to run for executive means at the end of this year for the first time this century, he will not hold the District 3 seat on the county council. He's served four terms representing an area that includes the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg.