Floreen Video a Ficker Takedown

    Robin Ficker’s hobby as a sporting event heckler may not be well known among newer voters in Montgomery County. But a just-posted web video for County Councilwoman Nancy Floreen’s independent campaign for county executive serves as a pungent reminder about her Republican opponent’s infamous antics.

    The 30-second video, produced by SWAY, a Democratic media firm based in Bethesda, opens with footage of Ficker, clad in cheetah-print shorts and a T-shirt, on the sidelines of a University of Maryland wrestling match, yelling and pounding his chest, Tarzan-style.

    “Meet Robin Ficker,” a narrator says. “Is this what you’re looking for in a county executive? Robin Ficker has run for office 20 times, including 10 times in the last 18 years, and lost every single race.”

    The ad goes on to outline Ficker’s ethical scrapes, noting that he twice had his law license suspended and that he has been reprimanded “multiple times” by the Maryland Court of Appeals.

    “The issues facing Montgomery County are too serious to be wasted on a candidate who shouldn’t be taken seriously,” the narrator concludes, to audio of more Ficker yelling. “The Washington Post said it best: anyone but Robin Ficker.”

    The ad is clearly designed to attempt to allay the fears of Montgomery County residents who wonder whether a vote for Floreen instead of the Democratic nominee for county executive, Councilman Marc B. Elrich, will result in electing Ficker.

    While there has been no public polling on the general election, Elrich, by virtue of the county’s demographics and voting history, is widely assumed to be ahead. But whether he has an insurmountable lead is very much an open question, as Floreen and a supportive political action committee continue to be bankrolled by the real estate industry who fear Elrich. Elrich and Ficker are both participating in the county’s new public financing system for candidates, though two PACs are also working on Elrich’s behalf.

    Ficker’s own potential in this race is also hard to gauge. He took 9 percent in the 2006 election for county executive as an independent. But this appears to be his best-funded race yet, thanks to public financing. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s unusually high approval ratings for a Republican in Montgomery County also provide an unknown. Democratic households this week reported receiving Ficker’s campaign mailers.

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    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.