Military Wiki
James P. Gleason
1st Montgomery County Executive

In office
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Charles W. Gilchrist
Member of the Montgomery County Council

In office
Maryland Constitutional Convention Delegate

In office
Personal details
Born (1921-10-14)October 14, 1921
Cleveland, Ohio
Died February 1, 2008(2008-02-01) (aged 86)
Rockville, Maryland
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Georgette Gleason
Residence Rockville, Maryland
Alma mater Georgetown University (B.A., J.D.)
Occupation Attorney and Local Politician
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank Staff sergeant
Unit Army Transportation Corps
Battles/wars World War II

James P. Gleason (1921–2008) was an American politician.

Early life, military service, and education[]

Gleason was born on October 14, 1921, in Cleveland, Ohio, to John and Millicent Gleason.[1] His father worked as an accountant and an auditor, and his job required him to travel frequently.[1] Gleason attended parochial schools in Cleveland, including Cathedral Latin High School.[1] Gleason worked at a bowling alley and as a restaurant busboy after school.[1] After three years of high school, he dropped out to work as a brakeman on the Pennsylvania Railroad's Cleveland–Youngstown route.[1]

Two years later, Gleason joined the United States Army during World War II, where he was assigned to work on supply trains in Iran with the Army Transportation Corps.[1] Gleason earned the rank of staff sergeant.[2]

Georgette E. Smith, a native of Staten Island who had joined WAVES, met Gleason while she was stationed in Cleveland.[1]

As Gleason's discharge date approached, a friend in the Army from Anacostia suggested that Gleason should move to Washington for college.[1] Following his marriage to Georgette and discharge from the Army in October 1945, Gleason took and passed a high school equivalency exam, but his high school refused to honor his test results, denying him the diploma he needed to enroll at Georgetown University.[1] James A. McFadden, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown and a friend of Gleason's mother, wrote a letter on his behalf to Georgetown University, and the school decided to admit him for the spring term of 1946.[1]

Gleason and his wife rented an apartment in Suitland, Maryland, while he attended school.[1] Gleason completed the equivalent of seven years of schooling in four and a half years, and he graduated with honors from Georgetown University Law Center with a combined bachelor of arts and juris doctorate in 1950.[1] Gleason passed Maryland's bar exam in November 1950.[1]

Political career[]

After briefly working part-time at Georgetown University Law School's library and as a part-time legal assistant at a private law firm, Gleason was hired to serve as a legislative assistant to Senator Richard Nixon in 1951.[1] Two years later, Nixon was elected vice president of the United States, Gleason's position was no longer necessary, and Gleason left.[1]

Gleason worked for Senator William F. Knowland for six years, helping President Dwight D. Eisenhower's bills to be passed through Congress.[1]

Senate campaigns[]


In 1962, Gleason ran for the United States Senate seat vacated by the retiring Senator John Marshall Butler.[3] Gleason ran against three other Republicans, namely former Congressman Edward Tylor Miller, real estate broker Harry Simms, and former Hagerstown mayor Herman L. Mills.[4]

In May 1962, the Maryland Republican Party distributed sample ballots, marked "official", that omitted Gleason's name.[5] Gleason said that the Maryland Republican Party violated its principles by openly preferring one Republican candidate over others.[5] Gleason continued to campaign vigorously.[6]

Miller defeated Gleason in the Republican primary election, receiving 49 percent of the vote to Gleason's 39 percent.[7] Following the election, Gleason decided to practice law in Prince George's County.[1][8]


In 1964, Gleason ran again for the United States Senate, challenging incumbent James Glenn Beall.[8] William A. Albaugh of Mount Rainier and Henry J. Laque, Jr. of North Linthicum also ran in the Republican primary.[8]

Gleason criticized Beall's work in the Senate, saying that Beall had allowed Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson's political advisor Bobby Baker to cover up his acts of bribery and arranging sexual favors in exchange for Congressional votes and government contracts.[9]

Beall defeated Gleason in the Republican primary election, receiving 66 percent of the vote to Gleason's 34 percent.[10]

Montgomery County Council[]

When Montgomery County Councilmember David Scull died in office, the Council voted to appoint Gleason to the seat on March 7, 1968.[11] As Scull was a Republican, Gleason returned the Council to four Republicans out of seven seats on the Council.[12]

Montgomery County Executive[]

On June 11, 1970, Gleason said that he would run to be the first elected Montgomery County Executive.[13] In the Republican primary election, Gleason ran against Don R. Kendall, the former chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.[13] Gleason won the Republican primary election, receiving 62 percent of the vote to Kendall's 38 percent.[14][15] In the general election, Gleason faced Democrat William W. Greenhalgh.[16] After recounts were completed, Gleason won the general election with 50.1 percent of the vote to Greenhalgh's 49.9 percent.[16]

On June 19, 1974, Gleason announced that he would run for reelection, saying that there were "many things here that have been not accomplished."[17] Four Democrats ran the office, namely Montgomery County Council members Idamae T. Garrott and William Sher; and former executive director of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission John P. Hewitt.[18][19] No Republicans filed to challenge Gleason's reelection, and no Republican primary election was held for the office.[20] Garrott won the Democratic primary election and faced Gleason in the general election.[20]

Gleason won the general election, receiving 53 percent of the vote.[21]

Gleason's tenure was marked by an extensive reorganization of Montgomery County's government in 1972 and by conflicts with the Montgomery County Council and his constituents. Loath to compromise, Gleason threatened to withhold Montgomery County funds from Washington Metro, which he had helped plan and which he avidly supported, unless it promised to build two lines into the County. He refused to play party politics, and instead appointed department heads and staff with an even-handedness based on merit.

Later life and death[]

On February 1, 1978, Gleason announced his retirement from politics to pursue a career of writing fiction.[22]

Gleason died from complications from prostate cancer at his home on September 4, 2008.[23]

Electoral history[]


1962 United States Senator of Maryland, Republican Party Primary Election[7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Edward T. Miller 7,464 49
Republican James P. Gleason 5,940 39
Republican Harry L. Simms 1,082 7
Republican Henry J. Laque, Jr. 846 6


1964 United States Senator of Maryland, Republican Party Primary Election[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Glenn Beall 64,293 66
Republican James P. Gleason 32,409 34


1970 County Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland, General Election[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James P. Gleason 10,223 62
Republican Don R. Kendall 6,325 38
1970 County Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland, General Election[16]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James P. Gleason 77,483 50.1
Democratic William W. Greenhalgh 77,063 49.9


1974 County Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland, General Election[21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James P. Gleason 86,791 53
Democratic Idamae T. Garrott 77,927 47


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 "His Career Began on Capitol Hill: Gleason Doesn't Like 'Conservative' Label". The Washington Post. October 24, 1974. p. H1.
  2. "James P. Gleason, County Executive". Maryland State Archives. June 17, 2004.
  3. Carper, Elsie. "Maryland GOP Lacks Candidates As Filing Time Deadline Looms: Hunting Candidates Heavy Opposition Slate Fell Through". The Washington Post. March 1, 1962. p. A1.
  4. Carper, Elise. "Maryland GOP Race Left to Scull, Small". The Washington Post. March 6, 1962. p. A1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "'Deceptive' Methods Charged by Gleason". The Washington Post. May 13, 1962. p. A30.
  6. Stern, Lawrence M. "Suburbs Getting Ornery". The Washington Post. May 20, 1962. p. E2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Whiteford, Charles. "45 Per Cent Record Vote in Primary: One Result, In First District, Changed By Official Count". The Baltimore Sun. May 27, 1962. p. BF46.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "77 Candidates Enter Primary: 57 Democrats, 20 Republicans File For Congress". The Baltimore Sun. March 10, 1964. p. 38.
  9. "Baker Case Is Target Of Gleason". The Washington Post. March 15, 1964. p. B7.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Franklin, Ben A. "Rivals in Maryland Primary Election". The New York Times. May 20, 1964. p. 1.
  11. Rovner, Sandy. "Montgomery Post Filled: Gleason Named To Vacant Seat On County Council". The Baltimore Sun. March 8, 1968. p. A10.
  12. Lippman, Thomas W. "Montgomery Council Finally Agrees On Republican Gleason for Vacancy". The Washington Post. March 8, 1968. p. B1.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Cohen, Richard M. "Gleason Entering GOP Race For Montgomery Executive". The Washington Post. June 12, 1970. p. C5.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Maryland Results". The Washington Post. September 16, 1970. p. A1.
  15. MacNees, James. "Tydings And Other Liberals Show Well In D.C. Suburbs". The Baltimore Sun. September 17, 1970. p. A11.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Victory Now Official". The Washington Post. November 14, 1970. p. B4.
  17. Bonner, Alice. "Gleason Will Seek Re-Election: Gleason Seeks Re-election in Md." The Washington Post. June 20, 1974. p. C1.
  18. Cooper, Bill. "4th Democrat Enters Race for Montgomery Executive". The Washington Post. April 21, 1974. p. D1.
  19. "2 Md. County Executives Certain to Be Renominated". The Washington Post. July 2, 1974. p. C2.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Baker, Donald P. "Mrs. Garrott Won All But 17 Precincts". The Washington Post. p. C1.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Baker, Donald P.; Bonner, Alice. "Final Campaign Days Made Gleason Victor: Gleason Says He Won in Final Days". The Washington Post. November 7, 1974. p. C1.
  22. "Montgomery executive, Gleason, quitting politics". The Baltimore Sun. February 2, 1978. p. C3.
  23. Sullivan, Patricia. "James P. Gleason, 86; Force for Change in Montgomery County". The Washington Post. September 16, 2008. p. B6.
Preceded by
Office created
Montgomery County, Maryland Executive
Succeeded by
Charles W. Gilchrist

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