Kagan to Forgo Bid for County Exec, Seek Re-election to Senate

State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D), who has pondered running for Montgomery County executive over the past several months, will announce Thursday afternoon that she is seeking re-election instead.

In a statement to be posted on her Facebook page, Kagan will say she was “intrigued … by the possibility of serving as our next County Executive at this critical juncture” and “humbled by the incredible support offered by hundreds of residents and activists,” but has decided to try to remain in the Senate, which will see significant turnover following the 2018 election.

“I have worked hard to build coalitions with legislators and advocates from across the aisle and around the State,” she says in the statement. “Should the voters of District 17 elect me to another term, I will continue my work on issues including consumer protection, public safety,educational excellence, environmental protection, progressive social policies, and support for the nonprofit and business communities.”

Kagan
State Sen. Cheryl Kagan

In an interview, Kagan said she was swayed in part by her excitement last week when former Rockville mayor Rose Krasnow (D) put out the word that she was contemplating running for executive.

“The energy I felt when Rose told me that she was considering was the beginning of the answer for me,” Kagan said. She called Krasnow “a common-sense Democrat who is thoughtful and progressive.”

Currently, four Democrats are seeking to replace term-limited County Executive Ike Leggett (D): Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich and George Leventhal – who are term-limited themselves – and state House Majority Leader Bill Frick. Businessman David Blair told Maryland Matters on Wednesday that he is “likely” to join the race within the month.

Political provocateur Robin Ficker is the lone candidate on the Republican side.

Kagan, 56, served two terms in the House of Delegates, from 1995 to 2003, representing the Rockville and Gaithersburg areas, before taking a break from elective politics. In 2010, she challenged veteran state Sen. Jennie Forehand in the Democratic primary, losing narrowly, then won the seat following a bruising primary after Forehand announced her retirement.

With at least two Montgomery senators departing at the end of next year – Sen. Rich Madaleno (D) is running for governor and Sen. Roger Manno (D) is running for Congress – Kagan said she felt it was important to maintain “some stability” in the county’s Senate delegation.

Kagan spent the past few months talking to Montgomery County business, civic and political leaders about a possible bid for executive.

“All of those meetings will help make me a better senator,” she said.

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

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