After six years on the political sidelines by Douglas M. Duncan, most of the former Montgomery County executive’s political allies have moved on to different careers, but as Duncan moves forward with a 2014 bid for his old job, he said to expect to see fresh faces by his side, including his son.
Duncan is considering a slate of County Council candidates to share the ballot, but is not considering incumbents.
“I’m taking a very close look at that, I’m giving that very close consideration, I’m considering that very heavily,” he said of assembling a slate.
Two council members elected on the 2002 “End Gridlock” slate that nabbed Duncan his third term as executive still sit on the council, George L. Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park and Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park. Current county Economic Development Director Steve Silverman and former county councilman Michael Subin were also on the 2002 slate.
But Duncan is looking elsewhere for his possible 2014 team.
“I think we need a team of people who are working together with the same vision for the county,” he said. “Right now I’m focusing on people that are outside of the council.”
However, he is keeping his campaign in the family.
Duncan has brought his 28-year-old son John Duncan on as political director to work with a new campaign staff, though he said many whom he relied on in the past are still advising him today.
“This will be the best campaign I’ve ever run. We will reach more people than I ever have before,” he said.
Duncan, 57, served three terms in Montgomery’s top elected slot before making a short-lived run for Maryland governor in 2006.
Battling depression, he pulled from the 2006 governor race, dropping out of politics and into a series of careers including education and consulting.
No longer depressed and excited to lead Montgomery again, in November Duncan announced to a group of supporters at a private breakfast that he was running for his old job.
Duncan might have been a notable absence from the political stage for the last few years, but his is a name still recognized in Montgomery.
Greeting a man in a Rockville restaurant Monday, just saying his name immediately flashed recognition on the man’s face.
“Really, the election is about the future,” Duncan said. “It’s about where we want to go, who we want to be, what we want to do. To me that is the excitment of it and that’s the beauty of it.”
Missing from politics today is vision, he said.
And while Duncan’s vision for Montgomery in 2014 is still unclear, he said voters can expect his vision to focus during the campaign.
For now, Duncan said he is spending his time listening to voters about where they feel the county needs to go.
“We’re a great county, there’s no denying that, and I want us to be even greater. As I said, I want us to be the best county in the country,” he said. “Clearly we’ve got to do a lot with our schools, we’ve got to do a lot with transportation, we’ve got to do a lot with getting our fair share from Annapolis, and we’ve got to do a lot with job growth, we’ve got to do a lot with making sure the benefits of the county apply to all members of the county.”
Exactly what issues will drive his campaign are undecided, he said, noting that the 2014 primary is still more than a year away.
But expect to see more of Duncan, including bumper stickers, in the spring when he said his campaign will ramp up.
“I see myself being the next county executive, no doubt in my mind,” he said.