Endorsements spread out in County Council contest
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 10:37

Democrats seek to break out of pack

by Ben Boehl

    When there are five candidates running for one nomination, there is a lot of scrapping involved, and every advantage counts — including endorsements.
    That phenomenon is readily apparent on the Democratic side of the County Council race.
    When Councilman John Olszewski, Sr. decided not to seek re-election after this year, five Democrats have come out for the nomination.
    Five have proven to be a crowd, and each candidate is trying to separate himself from the others.
    The sorting of the field began when — as was widely expected — Olszewski endorsed longtime friend and ally County Seal Democratic Club president Ron Yeatman to succeed him.

Yeatman was also endorsed by the Baltimore County Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics Association Local 1311 and received a nod for the Teachers Association of Baltimore County (TABCO).
    Essex-Middle River Renaissance Corp, president Joe DiCara has been endorsed by former Democratic state senator and schoolteacher Mike Collins and received an endorsement from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25, which represents county sheriff’s deputies, in March.
    “I couldn’t be more pleased or honored. The deputy sheriffs know Baltimore County and law enforcement. I value their support and commitment,” DiCara said of the endorsement.
    Former New 7th Democratic Club president C.O. “Bud” Staigerwald received an endorsement from former county councilman Joe Bartenfelder in February and received the nod from the AFL-CIO last month.
    Multiple sources alleged to The Eagle that the Baltimore-area AFL-CIO council was set to endorse Yeatman, but that Staigerwald was chosen after the state council intervened. 
    “Yeatman was endorsed by the local AFL-CIO, but when the local recommendation went to the state level of the AFL-CIO, the state level changed their endorsement to [Staigerwald],” claimed one source.
    Ernie Grecco, president of the AFL-CIO’s Baltimore Metropolitan Council, denied that Yeatman was ever considered and said the local group picked Staigerwald — not the state AFL-CIO.
    “We do not take nominations [from outside sources], he said. “We have a process with our delegates, and Staigerwald got the endorsement.”
    County Recreation and Parks board member Brian Weir entered the race late and has not picked up any major endorsements, but he has been able to raise funds; a recent campaign finance report showed him with an account of $6,315.11 as of April 13.
    Weir has raised over $2,500 campaign contributions since March 1 and garnered over $4,500 in ticket sales from a single campaign event.
    Weir said he has not gotten any endorsements, but is only concerned about getting the endorsement of the public on June 24. Weir was the last candidate to enter the race back in late February.
    “Honestly I got in at the last minute because my rec, councils and all the regular people wanted someone that was not a puppet looking out for the regular person to change the quality of life,” Weir said.
    “The government  center issues were big and I worked hard with Dundalk United and their efforts.”
    One candidate who has seemingly fallen off the radar is Greater Dundalk Community Council (GDCC) president Scott Holupka.
    Although he has been seen at a variety of community meetings, Holupka has not been as publicly visible as some of his opponents and has not put out the abundance of campaign paraphernalia like yard signs and stickers to match the other four council candidates.
    Holupka responded that his signs will be in the area soon, but pointed out that “yard signs don’t vote in elections,” adding that he has been campaigning door-to-door.
    “Don’t mistake signs for campaigning. Yes, I’m still committed to the race,”  Holupka said. “I’ve been attending some community meetings, but focusing even more on knocking on doors and talking to — hopefully — likely voters.  And, at least in the precincts where I’ve been, I’ve been told that I’m the only council candidate that has been there.”
    The eventual Democratic nominee will face Republican candidate Todd Crandell, who said that he has been following the Democratic race and feels confident against whoever wins the primary.
    “I do not have a preference in who to face; I’m confident in our growing base of bi-partisan support throughout the district, the strength of our endorsements so far in [former] Gov. [Bob] Ehr-lich, Councilman [David] Marks and Bob Staab, and we have the hardest working volunteer campaign organization in the district — so we feel very good about November no matter who we face,” Crandell said.
    All six candidates will meet on Wednesday, May 21, at 7 p.m.  at the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Department hall for a County Council forum, held by the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and the Millers Island-Edgemere Business Association.