Running for state office as a Republican from one of the most liberal districts in Maryland would seem a losing battle to many, but Meyer Marks sees it as an opportunity.
“I’ve never been afraid to take on challenge in my life,” said Marks, a health care policy consultant who lives in downtown Bethesda. “My whole background is taking on challenges.”
The question is which race he will enter into: the gubernatorial or the District 16 race.
Marks, 53, who has not yet filed his candidacy with the state elections board, created a website called marksformaryland.org.
He’s no stranger to navigating the Democratic-rich waters of Montgomery County as a Republican.
In 2008, he ran for a seat in the 8th Congressional District, losing the Republican nomination to Steven Hudson, who went on to lose to incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
Then in 2010, Marks ran in the race for delegate in District 16 and lost.
It hasn’t all been losses — that same year, he was elected as an at-large member of the Republican Central Committee from Montgomery County.
None of this has deterred him from running again, he said.
Already in the District 16 race are Jordan Cooper and Hrant Jamgochian, both of Bethesda and both with backgrounds in health care policy, and Marc Korman, a lawyer.
District 16 is now represented by Sen. Brian Frosh and Dels. Bill Frick, Ariana Kelly and Susan Lee. All four are Democrats. But if Frosh and Frick fight it out for attorney general, one delegate seat will open up. And if Lee goes for Frosh’s Senate seat, so will a second.
However, at the Maryland Young Republicans’ convention on June 1, the program listed Marks as a gubernatorial candidate. There, he told the crowd of about 40 people that Republicans could win if they stuck together.
Marks said he won’t decide which race he will enter until August.
“The main thing is trying to gauge where my support is coming from,” he said.
Marks acknowledged the difficulty of being a Republican in a Democrat stronghold.
“It’s doable when you have a candidate that can appeal across the board,” Marks said. “I consider myself to be a moderate Republican able to appeal across the board.”
Born and raised in Little Rock, Ark., Marks earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Central Arkansas and went on to work as finance director for the State Republican Party of Arkansas during the years Bill Clinton was governor.
In 1998, Marks founded Marks and Associates, a small lobbying firm based in Washington, and has lived in Bethesda for about 10 years. He is divorced and has no children.
Marks said his main goal if elected will be “getting Maryland’s fiscal house in order.”
“We have to reform our budget process,” he said. “We continually run a deficit in the state.”