Looking Ahead: MoCo Term Limits Referendum Looming?

The day before an April primary is not necessarily the best time to look ahead, but let’s do it anyway. Bethesda Magazine has an article today updating the efforts of perpetual gadfly Robin Ficker to get a Montgomery County charter amendment on the ballot in November.

Republican activist Robin Ficker says a referendum to impose term limits on county elected officials is “a virtual certainty” to be on the November general election ballot in Montgomery County.

Ficker, the Boyds man with a long history of challenging the county’s Democratic establishment through referendums, said Monday he has verified about 9,000 of the more than 11,000 signatures he and supporters have collected on a petition to put the term limits question up to voters. He needs 10,000 verified signatures to get the question on the November ballot.

“I expect it to be a very major issue in the fall election,” said Ficker, who’s also running for the Republican nomination for the District 6 House seat in Tuesday’s primary. “It’s going to be my running mate in the fall.”

If approved by a majority of voters, the measure would mean the county executive and County Council members are limited to three consecutive four-year terms. There are currently no term limits on those county officials.

Since the measure would apply retroactively to current county elected officials, it would mean County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council members Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen and George Leventhal couldn’t run again for their current positions in 2018.

Term limits have been on the ballot twice before, most recently in 2004, when it was defeated 52-48. Given the mood of the electorate on both the right and the left in 2016, it would most likely pass in November absent either a legal challenge to Ficker’s efforts or a major organized campaign against the proposal.

The 2018 campaign in Montgomery County will be a zoo if this passes. All four of the term limited Councilmembers – and perhaps others – will run for executive. And three open at large seats will attract a large pool of new candidates.

Maryland Scramble Part Deux. Gotta love it.

2 thoughts on “Looking Ahead: MoCo Term Limits Referendum Looming?

  1. Charles Arian

    There are few things as undemocratic as term limits. If you think your councilmember, mayor, senator, representative, whatever, has been in office too long, vote them out. The problem is that most people dislike “Congress” but like their own member. They dislike “the county government” but like their own councilmember. By passing term limits I get to vote out YOUR representative. I really hope this doesn’t go anywhere.

    1. Sharka Moriarty

      Amen. Look at Virginia and the excellent governors they’ve had who could not run for re-election. It’s an ad for the anti-term limits side.


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