- By Patrick Taylor, Marge Neal and Devin Crum -
Former Delegate Johnny Olszewski Jr.’s lead in the race for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County executive was cut to just 42 after the first round of absentee ballots were counted on Thursday, June 28. Olszewski entered Thursday leading State Senator Jim Brochin by 346 votes.
While Olszewski and Brochin are separated by just 42 votes, Councilwoman Vicki Almond remains in contention, though she trails Olszewski by 1,059 votes. On July 5, approximately 2,400 provisional ballots will be counted, with more absentee ballots being tallied on July 6.
A few dozen observers representing the three Democrats watched closely as the ballots were counted last Thursday, and despite the tight race, representatives for each candidate remained optimistic. Even with that optimism, Brochin campaign manager Marc Lazerow told the East County Times
he expects the race is heading for a recount, regardless of the winner.
“It just seems like that’s the direction that this is heading,” said Lazerow.
The deadline to petition for a recount is July 12. The winner of the Democratic primary will go on to face Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer in the general election in November.
While Redmer secured the nomination last Tuesday, his opponent, Delegate Pat McDonough, refused to concede. After telling The Baltimore Sun
that Redmer did not deserve his support, endorsement or concession, McDonough went a step further, sharing a post on his official Facebook page Thursday night that urged supporters to write in his name in November. Calls to McDonough for comment went unreturned by press time.
While the post has since been deleted, reception was relatively negative from both the public and elected Republican officials who view this election as the first real opportunity to flip the county executive seat to Republican for the first time since Roger Hayden held the office from 1990 - 1994.
Councilman David Marks (R-5) said that “Pat McDonough ran a spirited and strong campaign, but Al Redmer won and the party will line up behind him.”
Joining Marks was Delegate Robin Grammer (R-6), who told The East County Times
that McDonough and Redmer needed to make amends, given that they are on the same side of the issues.
“I’ll tell you for me the primary is both a great and bad thing. It was very refreshing because you had both Pat and Al talking about the issues I’ve been trying to talk about for a long time - like Section 8 housing and community blight,” said Grammer. “Both spoke to those issues frequently - that was their platform - and I think they agreed on most of those issues.
“The bad thing is I have to see two people that have worked with me and people I liked duke it out,” Grammer continued. “I thought it was going to be much closer, thought Pat was going to take it and was a bit surprised. They both predominantly ran on the same platform and from here on I’ll definitely be supporting Al. He is speaking directly to the concerns I have for Baltimore County.”
In his victory speech last Tuesday night, Redmer tried bridging the divide between he and McDonough, telling the crowd at his election night party that he appreciated McDonough’s service during his time as a delegate in the Maryland General Assembly.
“His term ends at the end of this year, and we appreciate his service,” Redmer told a crowd of about 100 at Columbus Gardens. “Equally as important, he has for years been a strong conservative voice, and I hope that we will continue to have him fill that crucial role.”
In a video shared on his Facebook page on June 28, McDonough told his supporters that he intends to continue being that conservative voice by utilizing his radio show and starting a newsletter for his grassroots populist movement.
McDonough also reiterated that he has no plans to endorse or support Redmer, saying he didn’t respect the campaign Redmer ran.
“I put principle and people over party politics,” said McDonough.Legislative District 6
In the Sixth Legislative District, incumbent Republican State Senator Johnny Ray Salling easily defeated challenger Janice L. Dymowski by a 75.3-percent to 24.7-percent margin. Before provisional and absentee ballots were counted, Salling had 3,168 votes, compared to 1,038 for Dymowski.
On the Democratic side of the Senate race, Buddy Staigerwald, with 2,988 votes, maintained a 420-vote lead over Russ Mirabile (2,568 votes) before provisional and absentee ballots were counted.
In the House of Delegates race, Republican incumbents Robin L. Grammer (2,890 votes), Bob Long (3,296 votes) and Ric Metzgar (3,267 votes) all secured spots in November's general election, easily handling a challenge from former delegate and new Republican Jake Mohorovic (1,302 votes).
Five Democratic candidates filed to challenge the incumbents, with the top three of Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr., a former Baltimore City Councilman; Diane DeCarlo, a former delegate and state senator; and Megan Mioduszewski, a Democratic State Central Committee member, advancing to November's general election.Legislative District 7
In the Seventh District, incumbent delegate and House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga earned a commanding victory in the crowded race for Del. Pat McDonough’s open seat. Szeliga was the top vote-getter in the field of 13 Republican candidates running for the district’s three seats. She garnered 7,002 votes, topping the next highest - fellow incumbent Rick Impallaria - by about 2,600 votes.
Szeliga had typically been the second-highest performing of the incumbents in that district, taking a back seat to McDonough who gave up his seat to run for Baltimore County Executive.
The third finisher in that race was Harford County Resident and community organizer Lauren Arikan.
The deep-red Seventh does not traditionally elect Democrats, and only two blue candidates - Allison Berkowitz and Gordon Koerner - even filed to run for the three seats.Legislative District 8
While there were some competitive races in Baltimore County, the Republican and Democratic races for District 8 House of Delegates went exactly as expected, with the "All Joe" ticket of Delegate Joe Cluster, former delegate Joe Boteler and Joe Norman securing the Republican nominations. Cluster was the top vote getter for the Republican trio, pulling in just over 25 percent of the vote, while Boteler received 21 percent of the vote. Norman pulled in just under 18.5 percent of the vote, edging out Norma Secoura by just over 800 votes.
Early in the night, Norman told The East County Times
that he was looking forward to the general election and campaigning with his colleagues. He said that the three meshed well personality-wise, with all three focused on the whole rather than their individual campaigns.
"We don't have any grandstanders or anything like that," he said.
For the Democrats, Del. Eric Bromwell was the top vote getter, with the incumbent receiving 31.2 percent of the vote. Bromwell was trailed by Harry Bhandari with 28.2 percent, and Carl Jackson, who finished with 24.75 percent.
With the primary election now in the past, the main focus in District 8 will shift to the state Senate race which has incumbent Kathy Klausmeier going up against Hogan-endorsed Delegate Christian Miele. With Hogan cabinet member Redmer taking the county executive nomination and Baltimore County crucial to Hogan's reelection campaign, it is expected that Hogan will be spending a decent amount of time in Baltimore County over the next few months. Hogan's popularity across the aisle could prove to be a big boost for Miele and down-ticket Republicans in the district.
As it stands, Klausmeier has far outraised Miele financially, but that could shift once Hogan starts throwing the weight of his office around. And with District 8 seen as one of the more purple districts in the state, the race between Klausmeier and Miele is expected to be one of the closer races in November.County Council District 5
Incumbent Councilman David Marks easily fought off a primary challenge from Jay Payne, securing the Republican nomination with just under 83 percent of the vote. Marks, a highly popular figure in his district, was never really in jeopardy in the primary, but he did face an onslaught of attacks over the last year or so from the Libertarian group Baltimore County Campaign for Liberty (BCCL). Despite the attack effort, Marks glided to victory, setting up a race against Alex Foley, who took the Democratic nomination with almost 70 percent of the vote in the primary.
"We advance to the general election with support from Democrats, Republicans and voters of all political backgrounds who believe in bipartisan, independent leadership for Baltimore County," said Marks in a statement.
While Marks has enjoyed bipartisan support in his district, he did not face a primary or general election challenger in 2014, making his race against Foley a bit of an intriguing affair.County Council District 6
The council’s Sixth District was another race that saw a crowded field of Republicans vying for the nomination. However, the field of five candidates looked more competitive than it was.
Frontrunners Ryan Nawrocki and Deb Sullivan far outpaced Erik Lofstad, Allen Robertson and Glen Geelhaar, and Nawrocki held a strong lead over Sullivan by the end of the night with just over 50 percent of the total vote and 2,366 votes to her 1,467.
Democratic incumbent Cathy Bevins was unchallenged in her primary.County Council District 7
Incumbent Republican County Councilman Todd Crandell easily held off a challenge from Dave Rader, winning the primary contest by an 80.3-percent to 19.7-percent margin.
Democrat Brian Weir gathered 70.8 percent of the votes cast to defeat Richard Davis, 3,684 to 1,520. Weir will challenge Crandell in November.District 7 Board of Education
For the first time in Baltimore County history, the Board of Education will have the majority of its members elected by citizens.
The board that gets seated in December will have seven popularly elected members - one from each of seven councilmanic districts - and four at-large members appointed by the governor.
On the county's east side, only voters in the 7th District had a primary decision to make for the school board. Only districts with three or more candidates faced a primary runoff, with the top two advancing to November's general election. The two candidates from each of the 5th and 6th districts automatically advance to the final.
In the 7th District race, Rod McMillion, a Baltimore County Public Schools educator, and Will Feuer, a Baltimore County Department of Aging employee, finished first and second and will advance to the general election. Community College of Baltimore County employee Eric Washington finished third, despite an endorsement from the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.