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ROCKVILLE, Md. (DC News Now) — Reardon Sullivan grew up in a family of Democrats. But taxes, the businessman who runs his own architectural engineering firm here said, drove him to the Republican side.
Now the political novice is taking on Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich in a campaign almost no one gives the 62-year-old county native a chance to win.
But don’t tell Sullivan that. He’s in it to win it, he said.
“Some things just need to change. Part of the issue is just living in Montgomery County all my life,” he said. “Montgomery County now is not the way it used to be when I grew up.”
He thinks he has a path to victory with Elrich’s epic primary election battle with businessman David Blair and that makes the executive vulnerable. Sullivan said that Elrich isn’t well-liked in the county.
“We knew we have a chance When you look at the math, it’s actually very simple,” Sullivan said. “In the Democratic primary, sixty percent of the voters did not support Marc Elrich, forty percent of the voters supported David Blair. My positions are very similar to David Blair’s.”
The math of fundraising hasn’t allowed Sullivan to raise or spend millions on his own campaign like Blair did. Still, the Republican believes there’s a chance to win over Independents and some Democrats.
“I don’t want to say brainwashed, but oh, the Democratic primary automatically decides the winner,” he said. “I think because of this very strong anti-Elrich sentiment here in Montgomery County, I have an opportunity.”
Elrich said Sullivan has no idea what he’s talking about and isn’t ready to be the county executive.
“Too bad he doesn’t pay attention. He hasn’t really been engaged in government so he kind of shoots from the hip,” Elrich said.
Sullivan’s family came to Montgomery County in 1966 when his father decided the schools were better for his children. He recalled some of the stares his family received as the first Black people to move into the all-white neighborhood.
He said they quickly won over residents there and integrated smoothly.
Sullivan said he was raised in a family of Democrats. But taxes drove him to the GOP. His Mom was shocked.
“But we’re Democrats,” he recalled his Mom saying. “It’s like, Mom, I’m a Republican. But why? We’ve always been Democrats. Because I was paying too many taxes.”
Sullivan admits his candidacy is a tall order.
“It’s a long shot, some would say, but you know, doing nothing is not the answer,” he said.