For the past nearly 20 years, two men have been Montgomery County Executive and they’ll be facing each other in next June’s primary.
Louis Peck’s piece in Bethesda Magazine on the dynamics of the race between Isiah Leggett and Doug Duncan is full of stuff of great interest to those who follow local politics. But besides the effects of a first-time June primary, the potential for negative campaigning and the presence of a third candidate — Councilmember Phil Andrews — Peck focuses on the different personalities and leadership styles of the two men.
After all, their political views aren’t that different:
“By every measure, Doug was very involved and was often referred to as another delegate,” says one state legislator who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Comparing Leggett and Duncan, the legislator adds: “People don’t fear Ike; they like him, they respect him. Doug, in terms of being a bolder, more intimidating presence, would probably get his way.
“Having said that, Doug is not that likable — and you see how now, running for county executive, people aren’t jumping on his bandwagon, even though the 12 years of Duncan were perceived as a very successful time.
“So the past and the present are converging a bit,” the legislator notes. “[Duncan’s] style has some benefits, but I’m not sure it’s benefiting him in the current campaign cycle.”
It appears Duncan will point to underlying discontent from the business community about the “business unfriendly” climate in the county.
But many local politicans and political observers told Peck they don’t see one single issue large enough — or controversial enough — to sway people to drop the incumbent Leggett.
“Any kind of criticism of Ike is pretty much around the edges,” Councilmember Nancy Floreen told Peck.