“We’re seeing that dream get put too far out of attain for individuals who aren’t extraordinarily rich,” mentioned Jentleson, who positioned the blame at Elrich’s ft because the incumbent seeks a second time period as county government.
The group reviews spending $500,000 to make its case that Montgomery residents ought to elect anybody however Elrich for housing affordability, zeroing in on a centerpiece problem within the contest to steer the rich deep-blue suburb that has been a perennial thorn in Elrich’s aspect.
Critics have voiced doubt about his management, pointing to a historical past of butting heads with the council on improvement and a common stance towards fast development in density.
Elrich mentioned in an interview that he was offended by the advert, saying that he has supported a variety of inexpensive housing tasks and that his critics ignore the nuance and issue of fixing a disaster pummeling the area and nation.
“It is a failure of individuals to be sincere about the issue we’re coping with, as a result of it’s a lot simpler to say this man doesn’t assist inexpensive housing,” Elrich mentioned.
The advert begins with narration over outdated clips saying Montgomery County was as soon as a spot the place individuals might “work arduous, get forward, make a house,” till skyrocketing prices led to a number of the highest housing costs within the nation. The issue, the advert says, is Elrich.
“Vote for affordability, vote towards Marc Elrich,” the advert concludes.
In Could, the median value of houses offered in Montgomery County was $620,000, in accordance with information from the Better Capital Space Affiliation of Realtors. Final 12 months, Montgomery fell behind on its aim of touchdown 23,100 new inexpensive housing models by 2030, as inequities widened.
“Montgomery County needs to be a pacesetter on this problem, not only for the area, however arguably for his or her nation,” Jentleson mentioned. “And as an alternative, we’re a laggard, and an outlier even in our personal area.”
Jentleson mentioned different candidates would higher serve on inexpensive housing and land-use points however that the PAC just isn’t supporting any particular one within the race. Elrich’s foremost opponents on this 12 months’s major are businessman David Blair, who misplaced to Elrich in 2018 and once more this 12 months obtained The Washington Submit’s editorial board endorsement (The Submit’s editorial board is separate from its information operation), and term-limited council member Hans Riemer.
On this liberal D.C. suburb, the place the winner of the Democratic major is commonly the eventual victor, inexpensive housing has been a centerpiece problem within the race for county government. It is a scorching matter in liberal jurisdictions nationwide amid rising consciousness of the impact of race and revenue disparities on entry to housing.
Over the previous 40 years, the arrival of recent immigrants and Black and Latino residents from surrounding jurisdictions and from throughout the nation have helped almost double Montgomery County’s inhabitants — straining the housing inventory, inciting intense zoning debates and dividing the county on methods to greatest advance improvement.
Elrich bought his begin in native politics on the Takoma Park Metropolis Council earlier than he gained the six-way major in 2018, beating Blair by simply 77 votes with the assist of residents who recognized together with his wariness about fast widespread improvement. His critics — like the brand new tremendous PAC — have pointed to his report of dismissing suggestions by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in 2019, vetoing tax incentives for high-rise flats above Metro stations, and regularly disagreeing with the county council and planning board on including density in sure neighborhoods.
Elrich defended his report in an interview, pointing to 4 inexpensive housing tasks underway, in addition to proposing about $100 million on this 12 months’s funds for inexpensive housing and a further $40 million to create a fund for preserving Naturally Occurring Reasonably priced Housing.
“I’ve been doing this combat for so long as I’ve been concerned in this type of problem in Montgomery County, which is rattling near 40 years,” Elrich mentioned. “I’m not new to this.”
The tremendous PAC, a gaggle that may settle for limitless donations and make unbiased expenditures to assist or oppose candidates, paid to run the advert on all of D.C.’s main networks in addition to on cable, linked TV and YouTube till the July 19 major.
Jentleson, previously deputy chief of employees for then-Senate Majority Chief Harry Reid (D-Nev.), mentioned the group just isn’t affiliated with Elrich’s opponents.
The group is totally funded by Open Philanthropy, a grant-making nonprofit funded by Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Fb and Asana, however Jentleson mentioned it plans to increase and search exterior donations till Montgomery County is a “regional chief and even a nationwide chief on inexpensive housing.”
In 2018, an excellent PAC funded by unions and a liberal group ran an advert that questioned Blair’s enterprise practices. This 12 months, an excellent PAC referred to as Progressives for Progress, funded by actual property and improvement teams, popped up supporting Blair.
Former Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin mentioned that whereas it’s nonetheless unusual to see a PAC pop up within the county government’s race, she’s not shocked provided that inexpensive housing has turn out to be a prime problem for county residents.
“Individuals who have been within the county authorities and who’ve been taking part in public life are actually completely disgusted by what they’re seeing,” she mentioned.
Ervin additionally questioned the PAC’s impression with just some weeks left earlier than the election.
“They’re actually behind,” she mentioned.
Jentleson mentioned this week was the earliest the group might get the whole lot collectively.
“He’s weak on this problem. He’s a weak incumbent. We’d like a automobile to get the message out,” Jentleson mentioned. “With three weeks to go on this election, I feel our prime precedence proper now’s having an impression on this race.”