Democrats waiting to see if Olszewski seeks reelection
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 11:40

Bud Staigerwald says he will run for public office

by Ben Boehl

    Could this be Councilman John Olszewski, Sr. final term in office?
    The four-term Democrat has served continuously since being elected in 1998, but he told The Dundalk Eagle at the Oct. 1 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Dundalk High-Sollers Point Tech schools that he has not yet made a firm decision on his 2014 plans and would make an announcement at a later date.
    If Olszewski does seek reelection, he is likely to face Republican Todd Crandell in the general election.
    Olszewski ran unopposed in three of the last four general elections, although he did face a Democratic opponent in each of the four primaries.
    When Crandell announced he was running for County Council as a Republican at the Dundalk 4th of July parade, Olszewski immediately said he was ready for the challenge, saying of Crandell’s candidacy, “it’s all good” and noting Crandell’s switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
    Crandell ran for the House of Delegates as a Democrat on a ticket with Senate challenger Jordan Hadfield in 2010.
    After the two were defeated in the Democratic primary, both endorsed  Republican Bob Ehrlich in the governor’s race, alienating many Democrats.
    “He would’ve had to explain that,” Olszewski said of the Ehrlich endorsement in July. “And for some people, he still might have to.”

Olszewski was the target of criticism when it was reported that he had failed to list his current employer on legally-required disclosure forms and that his former employer, D&M Painting & Drywall Inc., was awarded a contract for work on the new Dundalk High-Sollers Point Tech campus.
    The Baltimore County Ethics Commission reviewed the case and did not file a complaint against Olszewski because it was determined by the commission that he had satisfactorily updated the disclosure documents.
    Despite the Ethics Commission case and the challenge from Crandell, it seemed in the summer that Olszewski was ready to seek another term on the County Council.
    However, there has been speculation that Olszewski is considering not running in the next election. He told The Eagle last week that he has not made a decision about 2014.
    “I haven’t decided yet. The filing deadline is Feb. 25,” Olszewski said. “When the time comes, the people will know.”
    Crandell said he has heard about the speculation that Olszewski may not run, but said that decision will not affect his campaign.
    “I don’t find it surprising that [Olszewski] has yet to give a straightforward answer,” Crandell said. “If he is truly questioning whether to run or not, he is joining many people throughout the district who doubt he should continue to hold the office.”        With Olszewski’s future uncertain, members of the Democratic Party might look to fill Olszewski’s shoes.
    Former state delegate Jake Mohorovic has been rumored to be seeking his old House seat, and is known to have sent e-mails to others seeking their support in a House race, but he has not made a public announcement.
    Some local Democrats have asserted that Mohorovic has not committed to the House race because he is holding out hope that Olszewski’s council seat may become available.
    Last week, Olszewski was named as one of three Baltimore County co-chairs for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s campaign for governor. 
    When asked if he thought Olszewski would forego reelection to focus exclusively on Brown’s campaign, Mohorovic responded, “Wish I knew.”
    When asked if he would  indeed run for County Council if the seat were to become open, Mohorovic declined to comment.
    Another prominent area Democrat, Bud Staigerwald, has said he will be on the ballot in 2014, although he has not yet specified what office he will seek.
    Staigerwald was the president of the New 7th Democratic Club, but recently decided to step down, since he will now be a candidate.
    “I will be running for office. I don’t think it is ethical for me to remain as (New 7th Democratic Club) president,” Staigerwald said.
    Although he did not commit to a specific office, there is speculation that Staigerwald will seek the council seat if Olszewski steps down or will go after one of the two vacant House of Delegates seats if Olszewski decides to seek reelection.
    Staigerwald denied that he is waiting for Olszew-ski or any other candidate. He said he is looking at running in any of the local races.
    “All options are on the table. I’m not waiting for anyone,” he said. “I’m looking at all my options. There is no magic formula.”     
    Staigerwald ran for the House of Delegates in 2002, falling short in the Democratic primary.
    He feels this could be a good time to run, with two vacant seats in the local House delegation.
    In addition to his time as president of the New 7th Democratic Club, he served as president of the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Department. Staigerwald said he likes serving the community, and he recognizes their frustrations.
    “I don’t mean no disrespect to the local politicians, but the Government Center issue was not transparent,” he said. “Before you write that RFP, the county should have contacted the people that it affected.”