Four years ago, in the Edgemere VFW Hall, John Olszewski Sr. stood before a gathering of his son’s supporters who were stunned into silence by Olszewski Jr.’s loss that election day in the race for state senator and said:
“The people of the district have spoken. I believe they spoke wrongly ...”
Tuesday night, Olszewski Sr. took the podium in a ballroom of the Towson Sheraton Hotel and addressed hundreds of loud, cheering, celebrating people.
“Hey Team O, how are you doing tonight?” he said, as the Black-Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” played over the P.A. system (“I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night ...”).
John Olszewski Jr., his political career practically left for dead that night four years ago, completed a remarkable revival by being elected Baltimore County Executive.
As of early Wednesday morning, unofficial results had Olszewski Jr., the Democratic candidate, defeating Republican candidate Al Redmer Jr. 174,406 to 129,209 with 244 of 250 precincts reporting.
“Well, we did it,” Olszewski Jr. told the enthusiastic crowd. “Are you ready for a better Baltimore County? I’ve got some good news: it’s already here. A people-powered campaign that speaks to what’s possible in the county.”
“When we started this campaign two years ago, political insiders didn’t give us a chance. They wrote us off. But all of you believed in me. And thanks to you, Baltimore County believes in me.”
The man who defeated Olszewski Jr. four years ago, Johnny Ray Salling, also had a good night as he and the three delegates who became the first Republicans to ever represent the Dundalk area in the state legislature proved their victory in 2014 was no one-time fluke.
Salling was re-elected by an unofficial count (244 precincts reporting) of 18,941 to 13,427 over Democratic challenger Buddy Staigerwald.
“We’re very happy,” Salling said. “The people feel good about what we’re doing and what [Gov. Larry Hogan) is doing.”
The three incumbent delegates, Bob Long (17,760), Robin Grammer (17,568) and Ric Metzgar (17,321), easily held off Democratic challengers Nicholas D’Adamo (12,251), Megan Ann Mioduszewski (11,652) and Diane DeCarlo (11,414).
Libertarian candidate Michael J. Lyden received 1,400 votes. As with all vote totals in this story, these numbers are unofficial and based on 244 of the 250 precincts reporting as of early Wednesday morning.
“The things I was hearing from voters today that they were happy with what they were seeing from the Republican Party,” Grammer said. “And they were not happy at all with what they were seeing from the Democratic Party.
“I know that’s a very partisan message, but that’s what I was hearing.”
Gov. Larry Hogan became the first Republican incumbent governor to be re-elected in Maryland since 1954.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Dundalk, Essex and eastern Baltmore County,” Metzgar said. “It gives us momentum to continue what we’re doing and the work we have started.”
“Our vision will be coming into fruition. Great things are happening, economic development is going to happen, job creation is going to happen, housing is going to happen and education for our vocational young people is going to happen.”
Hogan defeated Democratic challenger Ben Jealous by an unofficial total (1,983 of 1,991 precincts reporting) of 1,196,352 to 909,923.
In Baltimore County, Hogan defeated Jealous 187,766 to 113,337.
Olszewski Jr. praised his opponent during his victory speech.
“I commend [Redmer] for his lifetime of service, not just for Baltimore County, but the state of Maryland,” Olszewski Jr. said.
He continued to stress a “Better Baltimore County,” a movement he started even before he announced his candidacy for county executive.
“Politics will never get in the way of progress here in Baltimore County,” Olszewski Jr. said. “I am so excited for our county’s future. I know our best days are in front of us.”
Olszewski Sr. recalled that night four years ago at the Edgemere VFW Hall,
“Tonight validates the belief in him,” Olszewski Sr. said. “He just worked hard, but the most important thing is, he listened to people, listened to what they felt he could do to make a better Baltimore County. I could see this day happening two years ago.”
“Four years ago, it was a gut-check,” said John’s brother, Jordan Olszewski. “We were deflated. But tonight we took nothing for granted, and we are elated; elated to call John the next county executive.”
Olszewski Jr. called his defeat for years ago (after being elected to the House of Delegates in 2006 and 2010) “a good reminder that life is going to throw challenges your way, and it’s important to know you can come back from that and end up in a place where you can do even more.
“We always believed the county’s best days are still ahead, and it’s a message that resonated with the people of the county.”
In the race for 7th District representative to the Baltimore County Council, incumbent Republican Todd Crandell also demonstrated staying power with a 18,516 to 12,399 victory over Democratic challenger Brian Weir.
(Again, unofficial numbers, 244 precincts reporting.)
Suddenly-former Chesapeake High School athletic director Rod McMillion was elected to represent the 7th Councilmanic District on the Baltimore County School Board.
This is the first time the county school board will be comprised of elected and appointed members.
McMillion, a longtime teacher who must now retire (fortunately, he’s past retirement age), defeated William Feuer by an unofficial count of 13,286 to 10,671.
In the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Democrat C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger defeated Republican challenger Liz Matory 93,541 to 49,072.
Ruppersberger was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2002.
Benjamin Cardin, the incumbent Democrat, was re-elected to the U.S. Senate over Republican challenger Tony Campbell 183,663 to 101,086.
R. Jay Fisher, a Democrat, was re-elected as Baltimore County Sheriff by a vote of 175,512 to 110,702 over Republican challenger Carl Magee Jr.
Eagle reporter Charlene Mayo contributed to this story.
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