somewhat blurred,” Leggett agrees. “That
happens when you get into an area of slow
economic growth because there becomes
much more of a drumbeat for jobs.”
This apparent consensus suggests
another political obstacle for Duncan in
taking on an incumbent: Leggett may have
been perceived as favoring slower growth
during his days on the county council and
in his 2006 race for county executive, but
throughout his career he has been success-
ful in bridging the two sides of that debate.
“I think whether Doug wins or Ike
wins, the policies would be roughly the
same,” Bauman says. “The style of governance would be different.”
Few politicians could differ more in
terms of style than Duncan and Leggett.
Ewing sees Duncan as having a top-down management style drawn from his
background in business, while Leggett’s
modus operandi reflects the more collegial nature of academic governance.
“Ike tries really hard to get as many
people as possible to agree with what he’s
doing before he does it,” Ewing says. “And
if he can’t get you [to agree], he tries very
hard to explain to you why. Doug doesn’t
bother with giving you reasons why he
doesn’t want to do what you wanted to do.
He just says, ‘This isn’t what I’m doing.’ ”
Duncan today complains of Montgom-
ery County’s elected officials fighting one
another, but Ewing points out that Dun-
can’s first couple of years as county exec-
utive included constant friction between
his office and the county council.
“I think Mr. Duncan at the time
thought he was our boss,” Ewing recalls
with a derisive chuckle.
Duncan doesn’t deny that. “The [previ-ous] county executive had basically ceded
authority to the county council, and I had
to come in and reassert executive authority,” he says. “So we did that, and moved on.”
In fact, it was that tendency to operate
more like a CEO than a member of the
team that persuaded Duncan to forgo a
congressional run two years ago.
“I do like to get things done, and one of
my comments about Montgomery County
has been that we wait too long for the perfect solution, as opposed to deciding on a
good solution, implementing it and then
moving on to the next problem,” he says.
Running for Congress wasn’t the only
option he considered before pursuing his
old job. “It was sort of a mulling: If I’m
going to get back into elective office, what’s
the best place for me? The ones that sort of
jumped out were Congress, comptroller
and county executive,” Duncan says.
His last bid for public office ended
in late June 2006. Trailing now-Gov.
Martin O’Malley in both fundraising
and public opinion surveys at the time,
Duncan withdrew from the Democratic
gubernatorial primary, citing a diagnosis of clinical depression. It’s a problem
he speaks about with candor.
“It was so scary that I never want
to go back there,” he says of his battle
Is it behind him?
4800 Hampden Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
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Now you do too.
Paley Rothman is proud that the three senior
members of its Family Law practice group—
Glenn M. Cooper, Howard B. Soypher and Bibi
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county’s “Top Divorce Attorneys.” All of them
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which significant and complex financial assets are
at stake. They have considerable experience with
premarital agreements, divorce and separation,
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accountants and other professionals on business
valuations, large trusts and property distribution.
We thank Bethesda Magazine for recognizing
these remarkable attorneys—and thank Glenn,
Howard and Bibi for always providing the highest
quality of legal representation that earned them
continued on p. 81