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Baltimore County's Olszewski likely to face Republican McDonough this fall

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Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is likely to face Pat McDonough during the November general election.

It appears Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski will be facing off against former Republican Delegate Pat McDonough during the general election in November.

McDonough was clear that he plans to run an aggressive campaign against Olszewski, who is seeking a four year term for the second time.

Both hold healthy leads in their respective primary elections, early voting data shows. McDonough had about 40% of the vote in a six-way race in the Republican primary on Tuesday night, according to the Maryland Board of Elections data. Olszewski had more than 80% of the vote in a two-way contest in the Democratic primary.

Meanwhile, other races in the county are too close to call. Thousands of mail-in ballots remain to be counted and by state law that cannot begin until Thursday morning.

McDonough declared victory Tuesday night.

“We are going to run on the simple slogan of save our county,” McDonough said. “People say well save our county from what? Well save our county from Johnny Olszewski.”

McDonough said there’s too much crime and schools are too violent.

“My pledge to the people is very simple,” McDonough said. “My pledge is I will never allow Baltimore County to become another Baltimore City.”

Olszewski said he is happy to run on his record of running an accountable, transparent government.

“We certainly welcome the opportunity to not just tell our story but to share pretty stark contrasts about a future looking vision for our county is and has been and what he might present,” Olszewski said.

Olszewski stopped short of declaring victory in the Democratic primary.

“I’m going to let the process play out,” Olszewski said. “Obviously we are humbled and overwhelmed by the support we’ve seen.”

His opponent Adam Reuter, a political unknown, stopped short of saying the race is over, but declared on Tuesday night, “It looks like I’m going to lose.”

Four years ago, Olszewski won a historically close primary election by only 17 votes. When asked why this time around the margin was so much larger he pointed to his record.

“I think it’s because we delivered on the promise of four years ago,” Olszewski said. “We’ve turned county government inside out, and we’re being more responsive, accountable, transparent and connected than ever before.”

Also, Olszewski now enjoys the power of incumbency, including having around $2 million in his campaign coffers.

McDonough ran for county executive four years ago but lost the Republican primary.

Meanwhile, the winner of the contentious battle for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County State’s Attorney remains up in the air.

Challenger Robbie Leonard held a lead of several hundred votes over incumbent Scott Shellenberger on Tuesday night.

But there are at least around 30,000 Democratic mail-in ballots that need to be counted in the county. That will begin on Thursday.

Leonard and Shellenbeger took shots at each other in what was arguably the most aggressively fought primary race in the county. Leonard claimed Shellenberger does not protect victims of sexual assault and goes easy on police officers charged with misconduct.

Shellenberger denied both of those accusations and fired back that Leonard isn’t qualified to be state’s attorney.

Shellenberger has served in the position since 2007.

Two open council seats in the first and sixth districts are close as well.

“We want to make sure that residents are patient as our very capable board of elections works through counting those ballots,” Olszewski said.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County.
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