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Douglas M. Duncan (born October 25, 1955) is a former American politician from Maryland who served as Rockville City Councilman, Rockville Mayor, Montgomery County Executive, and candidate for Maryland Governor. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Duncan currently serves as President and CEO of Leadership Greater Washington, a position he has held since 2014.

Doug Duncan
Duncan greets supporters, September 2013.jpg
5th Executive of Montgomery County
In office
December 1994 – December 4, 2006
Preceded byNeal Potter
Succeeded byIke Leggett
Mayor of Rockville
In office
Preceded bySteven VanGrack
Succeeded byJames Coyle
Member of the Rockville City Council
In office
Personal details
Douglas M. Duncan

(1955-10-25) October 25, 1955 (age 63)
Rockville, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Barbara Duncan (m. 1980)
ResidenceRockville, Maryland, U.S.
Alma materColumbia University
St. John's College High School
OccupationPresident & CEO at Leadership Greater Washington
Public official
Former politician
Former Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park[1]


Early life and educationEdit

Duncan was born on October 25, 1955. The fifth of 13 children, Duncan grew up in the Twinbrook section of Rockville, Maryland, a working-class neighborhood, home to federal employees, teachers, police officers and firefighters.[2] His father worked for the NSA and later worked for the Montgomery County Public Schools as a volunteer tutor and ESOL teacher.[3] His mother worked for the Montgomery County Circuit Court as a courtroom clerk from 1973 to 1999.[4]

Duncan attended St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1973. He graduated from Columbia University in three years, in 1976, earning a bachelor's degree with a double focus in psychology and political science. Upon graduating, Doug worked for Montgomery County's criminal justice commission, and then spent 13 years in the private sector working in the telecommunications industry for AT&T.[2]

Duncan got his start in politics at an early age, going door-to-door with his mother for John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, and was the only one of his 12 siblings to follow in his mother's Democratic-activist footsteps.[2]


City of Rockville CouncilEdit

Duncan's first full-time experience in politics was as a field director for Charlie Gilchrist's campaign for Montgomery County Executive in 1978. Mr. Gilchrist won that race by a margin of better than 3-to-2.[5] Deciding to run for political office himself, Duncan ran for and was elected to Rockville City Council in 1982 at the age of 26.[6] He would be re-elected twice to that position. In 1984, Duncan called for the resignation of then-Mayor John Freeland, who had taken a job with a city developer, claiming it was a rank conflict of interest.[7] Freeland resigned that year.[8]

City of Rockville MayorEdit

After serving three terms as Rockville City Councilman, he decided to run for Mayor of Rockville in 1987, beating incumbent Steve Van Grack.[9] During his six years as Mayor, Doug started the process of redevelopment in downtown Rockville,[10] including the tearing down of the Rockville Mall. That project would serve as inspiration for his revitalization of downtown Silver Spring years later as Montgomery County Executive.[11] Accomplishments under the Duncan administration include building Wootton Parkway and Gude Drive bridge.[11] One of his proudest accomplishments was starting Hometown Holidays, Rockville's annual Memorial Day weekend festival.[12]

Montgomery County ExecutiveEdit

Duncan successfully ran for Montgomery County Executive in 1994, defeating Councilman Bruce Adams by nine percentage points in the Democratic Primary[7] and earning 63% of the vote against Steve Abrams in the general election.[13] Duncan would go on to be re-elected twice for a then unprecedented three terms as County Executive.[1] During Duncan's tenure as County Executive, he focused on improving educational excellence, strengthening environmental protections, fighting poverty and urban blight, and positioning Montgomery County as an international biotechnology leader and economic engine for Maryland all while managing a multi-billion dollar annual budget.

The Washington Post described his governing style as "county leadership that knows when to quit mulling and start moving."[2] Due to his long tenure and influence, media observers later described him as "Montgomery's dominant political figure for over a decade."[14]

Duncan's focus on education included increasing investments in higher education opportunities for county residents, leading to the expansion of Montgomery College's Rockville, Takoma Park, and Germantown campuses. Duncan's advocacy for Montgomery College helped lead to the planning and development of many new initiatives and institutes including the College's High Technology and Science center, Humanities Institute, Information Technology Institute and Health and Science Center. Duncan also played a role in creating the Universities at Shady Grove Center and encouraging the growth of the Johns Hopkins University Shady Grove Campus.[2]

During his time in office, two of the County's most infamous moments occurred: the September 11 attacks, and the DC sniper attacks in October, 2002; a memorial stands in downtown Rockville,[15] and at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton,[16] respectively.

Some of Duncan's top accomplishments during his three terms in office were the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring, including the re-location of Discovery's world headquarters and the opening of the AFI Silver Theatre and Culture Center, the building of Strathmore, a cultural and artistic venue and institution, the Maryland Soccer Plex, gaining the approval for building of the Intercounty Connector, and becoming the first county ever in the United States to implement an earned income tax credit.[17]

Amongst his many awards and accolades during his tenure, one of the most notable was being named Washingtonian of the Year in 2002.[17]

Race for Maryland GovernorEdit

In 2005, Duncan announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party's nomination to challenge incumbent Governor Robert Ehrlich in the 2006 Maryland gubernatorial election. His main rival in the Democratic primary election was Baltimore Mayor Martin J. O'Malley.[14] He announced his campaign with a bus tour through each of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City.[18]

During the campaign, Duncan trailed both O'Malley and Ehrlich in fundraising.[18] Education became a defining issue in the race; schools in Duncan's home jurisdiction of Montgomery County had a good reputation while a judge had ordered a state takeover of Baltimore's troubled special education programs in 2005.[19] Duncan began airing television ads in May 2006, relatively early in the campaign season, and in the following weeks his poll numbers began to rise.

On June 22, 2006, Duncan dropped out of the race unexpectedly citing a diagnosis of clinical depression. During the brief announcement of his withdrawal, he said that he had at first thought he was simply experiencing physical and mental fatigue associated with campaigning, but that the symptoms had progressed beyond simple fatigue, and sought medical treatment which resulted in the depression diagnosis. He cited a family history of the disease as a factor in the diagnosis, and a number of aides and political associates were quoted in the press saying that Duncan was noticeably unhappy in the period leading up to his withdrawal. During his withdrawal announcement, Duncan endorsed his Democratic primary opponent, Martin O'Malley, in the latter's race against incumbent Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich.[14] At the time of the announcement, polls showed Duncan closing in on O'Malley even as his fundraising was beginning to decline.[20] This weakness in fundraising had led to speculation that Duncan would drop out during the summer, even before the announcement of the depression diagnosis. Reports at the time suggested that his dropping out would have a significant effect on state politics, making it easier for O'Malley to unseat Ehrlich and lowering turnout in the Democratic primary, thereby affecting down ballot races as well.[14]

Clinical DepressionEdit

Duncan was honored by a number of mental health groups for having publicly announced that he suffered from depression. The public nature of his declaration led to an increase in the number of calls to Montgomery County mental health agencies from people seeking mental health help. In the months after his withdrawal, he continued to seek counseling for a time and began a medical regiment to treat the depression. He continued to publicly discuss these treatments and his experiences with the disease, including speaking at a NIH Forum on it.[21][22]

In an April, 2009 Baltimore Sun article, Duncan proclaimed, "I'm living proof that treatment works."

University of Maryland and afterEdit

On March 22, 2007, Duncan was appointed Vice President of Administrative Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park, effective April 4.[23] This made him the University's chief administrative and finance officer with authority over the University's human resources, comptroller, public safety, facilities and environmental management, and procurement. During his tenure, Duncan led the East Campus redevelopment project, designed as a mixed-use town center with graduate student housing along the Route 1 corridor. In association with the project, he also worked to improve relations between the university and the surrounding city of College Park. On October 15, 2008, after a seventeen-month tenure, Duncan announced his resignation from the University of Maryland.[1]

After Maryland, Duncan was self-employed as a consultant advising various enterprises in Greater Washington D.C. Metro Region and beyond regarding economic development, technology and immigration issues. In 2010, Duncan was speculated as being in consideration for General Manager of WMATA, after John Catoe vacated the post, including receiving an endorsement from then Congressman, and now United States Senator Chris Van Hollen.[24]

Duncan campaigning in the Kentlands Parade during 2014 election.

2014 Race for Montgomery County ExecutiveEdit

In 2014, Duncan made his political comeback seeking to reclaim his old post at Montgomery County, Maryland Executive for a fourth term. Running on a platform of "Leadership In Action" with ideas of revitalizing downtown Wheaton, better attract and keep jobs and business with an improved procurement process and more "open for business" attitude, create express lanes on I-270, build a technology institute venture similar to that of Cornell and New York City, and provide gigabit internet speeds across the county.[25] He lost in the Democratic primary on June 24 to incumbent Ike Leggett.

Leadership Greater WashingtonEdit

Shortly after his campaign, Duncan was selected as President and CEO of Leadership Greater Washington, a non-profit organization with a mission to bring leaders together to make positive community impact in the Washington Metropolitan region. The vision for LGW is to help the Washington Metropolitan become a more dynamic and collaborative community with engaged leaders of diverse backgrounds, geographies, and sectors through dynamic, education and membership programs that promote dialogue and cooperation, enabling area leaders to find effective solutions to regional challenges. He still serves in this role today. In this new role, Duncan was named to Washington Business Journal's Power 100 for 2014 and 2015.[26]

Continued Involvement in PoliticsEdit

Despite being out of political office since 2006, Duncan has remained politically active in Maryland and the Washington Region.

In 2012, Duncan endorsed then upstart and underdog John Delaney in his first bid for Congress; "Duncan’s endorsement was the first of any consequence, and he backed up his support by cutting radio spots for Delaney and going door to door with him".[27]

In 2014, Duncan was named to newly-elected Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's transition team as well as newly-elected District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser's.[28]

In 2018, Duncan endorsed now Congressman David Trone.[29]

Personal lifeEdit

Duncan married wife, Barbara, on June 14, 1980, on the campus of Trinity College in Washington, D.C., where Barbara went to school. They met in 1978, as Barbara worked for Doug's mom, Ellie, at the Montgomery County Circuit Court. They live in Rockville, MD. They have five grown children and two grandchildren.[citation needed]

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Duncan Resigns Position at Maryland". The University of Maryland. Archived from the original on 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2013-08-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Louis Stinson Hurwitz" (TXT). Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  4. ^ "Eleanor Duncan, Mother of Former Montgomery County Executive, Dies at 86". Rockville, Maryland Patch.
  5. ^ Johnson, Janis (November 8, 1978). "Gilchrist Wins Executive Race In Montgomery".
  6. ^ "Colleagues look back on Duncan's Rockville legacy".
  7. ^ a b Zoroya, Gregg (September 19, 1994). "Rivals' Pugnacious Past Signals Montgomery Brawl".
  8. ^ Moncada, Carlos (October 27, 1984). "Rockville Mayor, Amidst Job Controversy, Says He Will Resign".
  9. ^ Kaiman, Beth (November 4, 1987). "Duncan Beats Rockville Mayor Van Grack".
  10. ^ "Rockville Town Square in Rockville, Maryland • A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments". A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments. 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  11. ^ a b "Colleagues look back on Duncan's Rockville legacy".
  12. ^ "Hometown Holidays carries on in the rain". The Montgomery County Sentinel. 2017-06-02. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  13. ^ Zoroya, Gregg (November 9, 1994). "MONTGOMERY COUNTY; Democrat Duncan Big Winner in Executive's Race".
  14. ^ a b c d Mosk, Matthew; Marimow, Ann (June 23, 2006). "Duncan Drops Bid for Governor". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  15. ^ Gowen, Annie (February 4, 2003). "Montgomery Picks Two Artists to Honor County's 9/11 Victims". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  16. ^ Shepard, Alicia C. (2012-09-26). "Terror in October: A Look Back at the DC Sniper Attacks". Washingtonian. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  17. ^ a b Milk, Leslie; Ryan, Ellen (2003-01-01). "Washingtonians Of The Year 2002". Washingtonian. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  18. ^ a b Mosk, Matthew; Wagner, John (January 17, 2006). "Duncan Trails Opponents". Maryland Politics Blog. Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2011-05-23. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  19. ^ Rascovar, Barry (August 19, 2005). "Schools are key in governor's race". The Gazette. Montgomery County, Maryland. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  20. ^ Matt Mosk and John Wagner. "Duncan Trails Opponents" Archived May 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. The Washington Post. January 17, 2006. URL retrieved on February 2, 2007.
  21. ^ "Former County Executive Puts Face on Depression Forum - The NIH Record -January 26, 2007". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  22. ^ Baer, Susan (September 1, 2008). "Doug Duncan's Comeback". The Washingtonian. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  23. ^ "Duncan Appointed University of Maryland Vice President". Office of Internet Communications, University of Maryland, College Park. Archived from the original on 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  24. ^ "Some say Duncan is perfect for Metro job; others aren't so sure". Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  25. ^ Turque, Bill (April 7, 2014). "Express lanes, high-speed Internet proposed for Montgomery County". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  26. ^ Fruehling, Douglas (October 13, 2015). "The Power 100 of 2015". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  27. ^ "Josh Kurtz: Doug Duncan's Next Act". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  28. ^ "Former Montgomery County Executive Named to Hogan's Transition Advisory Board". Bethesda Magazine. 2014-11-26. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  29. ^ "David Trone receives Doug Duncan endorsement". David Trone. 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2019-01-07.

External linksEdit