The three-way primary election showdown between Baltimore County executive candidates Johnny Olszewski Jr., state Sen. Jim Brochin and County Councilwoman Vicki Almond was a nail-biter on election night with less than 1,000 votes separating the three hopefuls. But after the first count was completed, including absentee and provisional ballots that had been complicated by an MVA voter-registration change glitch, Olszewski pulled ahead of the pack by a mere nine votes.
With such a slim margin favoring Olszewski, Brochin, who finished second, petitioned the Baltimore County Board of Elections for a recount, which finished on July 14 and widened Olszewski’s lead to 17. Although the county has yet to make the count official, Brochin conceded on July 14.
Unofficial results show Olszewski with 27,820 votes to Brochin’s 27,803. Almond trailed by less than 1,000 votes at 26,842 votes and Kevin Francis Marron earned 2,136 out of more than 84,000 votes cast.
“Now that the recount is concluded, I want to thank the Baltimore County Board of Elections for its hard work and diligence these past few weeks. The Board went out of its way to be fair to each campaign, and always acted with the highest integrity,” Brochin said. “Just as important, I want to congratulate John Olszewski Jr. for a hard-fought campaign victory. I wish him well.”
He also thanked his District 42 constituents that he represented as a state senator, saying, “It’s been an honor.”
Olszewski, a teacher and former state delegate from Dundalk who was originally trailing Brochin in pre- election polls, said county voters believed in his vision of “better schools and a more transparent and responsive government.”
“Over the coming months, we will continue to build a diverse coalition and work together to create a positive, inclusive vision of what’s possible in Baltimore County,” he said, also thanking the board of elections for its recount process. “I commend Sen. Brochin and Councilwoman Almond for running strong campaigns and look forward to working with them to make our vision of a brighter future for Baltimore County a reality. I remain so humbled by the support we’ve seen, and I am excited to get back to work and back to connecting with even more Baltimore County residents in the months ahead.”
Almond congratulated Olszewski on her campaign Facebook page.
“Congratulations to Johnny O on winning the Democratic Nomination for Baltimore County Executive!” she wrote. “It certainly was a campaign for the history books!”
At elections forums and in their campaign materials, it often seemed Almond and Brochin were vying for the top spot alone, with Brochin painting Almond as a friend to developers and Almond painting Brochin as a friend of the NRA.
Olszewski now faces Republican Al Redmer Jr. in the November general election. Olszewski has been quoted as saying that the race between him and Redmer will stay above the fray of negative campaigning.
For his part, Redmer said he is looking forward to the campaign season ahead. The state insurance commissioner and former state delegate, who has the backing of popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, beat a challenge from state Del. Pat McDonough in the Republican primary, with 18,058 votes to McDonough’s 14,487.
“I congratulate Johnny O on his victory and look forward to a spirited discussion of the issues throughout the campaign. We were prepared to run against any of the Democrats, regardless of the recount outcome,” Redmer said. “I believe that my background, experience, and skillset uniquely qualify me to be the person to bring much-needed change to Baltimore County and lead the county over the next four years.”