Crandell kicks off run for 7th District Council seat
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 11:33

2010 House challenger jumps to GOP

 by Ben Boehl

    The Fourth of July is filled with fireworks at night, but 2010 House of Delegates candidate Todd Crandell set off his own round of fireworks in the morning when he announced at the 79th Annual Dundalk 4th of July parade that he is running for the 7th District Baltimore County Council seat currently held by Councilman John Olszewski Sr.
    “We wanted to announce it at a large community event. I couldn’t think of any place but the parade,” Crandell said.
    Crandell ran for House of Delegates as a Democrat in 2010 and came close to taking a seat in that year’s primary, finishing fourth by only 1,300 votes.     
    This year, Crandell dropped another bombshell, saying he will run as a Republican in 2014.
    He said he was originally a Republican for 18 years, but became a Democrat to run alongside state Senate candidate Jordan Hadfield.
    Hadfield will not be a candidate in 2014, as he no longer lives in Maryland.
    Some Democrats were critical when Crandell and Hadfield endorsed Republican Bob Ehrlich for governor after their Democratic primary loss. Crandell said he does not believe party affiliation matters.
    “I haven’t talked to anyone who cares about [switching] parties,” Crandell said. “No one had brought it up.”
    Olszewski first won the 7th District council seat in 1998 and will be seeking his fifth term next year.
    Olszewski has been under scrutiny since it was reported that he had failed to list his current employer on legally-required disclosure forms; then the story broke that his former employer, D&M Painting & Drywall Inc., was awarded a contract for work on the new Dundalk High-Sollers Point Tech campus.
    In a brief interview after the parade, Olszewski told The Eagle that he will seek reelection.
    As to Crandell’s candidacy, he said “it’s all good,” and stressed that he was prepared to defend his record.
   

“Every four years, I go back to the people for their vote, and so far, they’ve always re-elected me. It’s their choice, so if someone else wants to run, they should — and the people can make their choice.”
    Olszewski did say that Crandell’s choice to run as a Republican was prudent, given that his endorsement of Ehrlich in 2010 would leave him open to criticism in a Democratic primary race.
    “He would’ve had to explain that,” Olszewski noted. “And for some people, he still might have to.”
    Crandell’s entry into the race as a Republican guarantees that Olszewski will face an opponent in the general election for only the second time and the first since he defeated Ray Krul in 2006.
    One local political insider believes that Crandell can be competitive in a general election because the 7th District has picked up more Republican voters since 2010, and because 2014 should be a favorable year for Republicans running on an anti-tax platform.
    “The race keeps ‘Johnny O’ busy, and that is good for Republicans running for other seats.”
    According to campaign finance reports, Olszewski had over $168,000 in campaign funds before the start of 2013. Crandell acknowledged he will not have the same type of funding, but said this election will not be about money.
    “He definitely has name recognition. I’m not sure if it is working for him,” Crandell added. “This campaign is not about money. I’m not trying to outspend him. My campaign is hard work and grass roots.”
    Crandell, who is known for his strong business background, ran in 2010 on his and Hadfield’s  “Blueprint for Progress,” an ambitious and detailed economic development policy platform.
    He plans to run with a similar focus on economic issues in this campaign.
    “We need jobs. I can’t think of one economic development [Olszewski] has had in this district,” Crandell said.
    In addition to jobs, Crandell was critical of Olszewski for his vote in favor of the “Rain Tax.”
    “It’s a money-grabber. I don’t see how you can charge a stormwater management tax, then give tax credits to land developers,” Crandell noted.     
    Crandell was also critical of Olszewski and the lack of transparency regarding the proposed sale of the North Point Government Center.
    “I just don’t believe we should be putting our public assets for sale for something the community does not want,” Crandell said. “The process was not open.”
    Other names linked to the council race include Republican hopeful Myia Biggs and Baltimore County police officer and Dun-Logan Community Association president Warren Fluck.
    Biggs confirmed she thought about a run for council but decided to stay out of the race to focus on her professional career and to support Crandell.
    “Yes, there is truth to the rumors [that she was considering a run]. However, I have decided to focus on school and work towards my law degree,” Biggs wrote in a statement.
    I support [Crandell] 100 percent and feel that he is what our district needs.”
    Fluck could not be reached for comment.
    Republican Bob Long told The Dundalk Eagle in January that he had looked into the idea of running for County Council but decided to take another shot at the House of Delegates.
    Long said he will now support Crandell.
    “I think he is going to be good for the community,” Long said.