March 16, 2014 5:52 pm ET
As is typical with political races, the Baltimore County Council contest is starting to be more about who is backing the candidates, and whether or not that will translate into votes at the polls.
With that in mind, Republican Todd Crandell scored a major “get” in former Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich to headline a fund raiser scheduled for Sunday, April 6, at the Greektown Square & Event Center.
We seem to be building an impressive list of “A players” standing behind the potential suitors for the council seat in the “big house.”
(Wait, that’s not good. I shouldn’t use the term “big house”—that is where the bad guys go to do time. I just couldn’t help myself because, in a sense, there is some truth in that statement. But I digress…)
OK, I’m back to my topic … or at least my sidebar.
With the mind games aside, the issue here is candidate Crandall and the impact former Governor Ehrlich will have on his campaign, especially when you consider the endorsements of his Democratic rivals.
You see, John Olszewski Sr. is endorsing candidate Ron Yeatman while his son, John Olszewski Jr., is supporting Scott Holupka. Yes, that is the same Mr. Holupka who has strong ties to the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, along with John Jr.
I believe they call that “party unity.”
(Digression time #2: I should also mention that John Olszewski Sr. recently suffered a serious back injury after a fall. Mr. Olszewski and I have had our battles over the years, but that is the nature of politics. For those of us who have suffered a serious injury, especially one that involves he back, we understand that it can be debilitating. I do wish John a speedy recovery.)
Now, as one who follows the political game rather closely in theses here parts, I believe that Mr. Crandell is making all the right moves.
When he entered the political arena in his first bid for office, he was a Democrat who took on a formidable challenge in an attempt to break the mold. He mounted a well-run campaign but, in the end, the incumbent always has the edge; so, Todd lost. In the world of politics, losing can be classified as a learning experience … or, at the very least, a chance for some priceless media exposure.
Crandell made what we common folks call a “switcheroo” when he changed party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. He took a lot of heat for that move but, generally speaking, it came from people who know nothing about politics. So, the hot air over Todd’s changing parties was just that; hot air! After all, who has been at the helm for (seemingly) the last 100 years?
Answer: It ain’t the Republicans!
I thought it was a brilliant move. At the time, Olszewski Sr. was still in in the race, so—in reality—it boiled down to a two-man contest. Now, granted, there could have been more Republicans enter the fray, but that was doubtful. The same goes for the Democratic side of the equation.
Joe DiCara announced his bid, saying he was not aware of Olszewski’s decision not to run. However, I have my doubts considering their close relationship.
The flood gates opened when Democrat Olszewski Sr. announced he was not going to seek another term. So, instead of just DiCara in the race, you now have Buddy Staigerwald, Scott Holupka, Ron Yeatman, and Brian Weir.
This gives us a knockdown, drag out battle for the Democratic nod which will leave candidates bloodied and bruised, while Crandell sits back and waits for the winner to rise to the top of the heap.
Another major coup behind the scenes was when Buddy Staigerwald landed former Council member Joe Bartenfelder in his corner. Bartenfelder backs Staigerwald, who is a well-polished public speaker, but Buddy will need more than that—he needs a campaign.
I have noticed that those who are running in the various races from Delegate to County Council lack an agenda. The “how am I going to fix this” message is missing.
Right now, the way I see it, the race shaping up is Crandell vs Staigerwald in the general election. Buddy will take the Democratic nod and face off with an unchallenged Crandall. That is when the rubber will meet the road and those issues I spoke about will speak volumes.
Both candidates will need a rather large toolbox to fix the problems in this district. My advice is to leave the lunch box at home, because there won’t be any time for breaks.
I could be wrong, but what I have heard so far from the rather large field of hopefuls leaves me wondering, “Where’s the beef?”
Let’s hope they find it…