Re­count con­firms Ol­szewski Jr. win

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­pub.com

In the spirit of the World Cup, the strug­gle to earn the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion for Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive ex­tended through ex­tra time (ab­sen­tee bal­lots), over­time (pro­vi­sional bal­lots) and was fi­nally re­solved by penalty kicks (man­ual re­count).

As of Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon, for­mer state del­e­gate and Dun­dalk res­i­dent John Ol­szewski Jr. was fi­nally, in­dis­putably con­firmed as the win­ner of the elec­tion and will face Repub­li­can Al Red­mer Jr. in Novem­ber.

Ol­szewski’s fi­nal mar­gin over Jim Brochin: 27,820 to 27,803. Seven­teen votes.

Vicki Al­mond fin­ished third with 26,842. Kevin Mar­ron was fourth with 2,136.

“Tonight there is ab­so­lutely no doubt — we have won this pri­mary,” Ol­szewski Jr. told sup­port­ers on Sat­ur­day night at his lo­cal cam­paign head­quar­ters on North Point Boule­vard next to Costas Inn. “I am so hon­ored to ac­cept the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion and be the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee for county ex­ec­u­tive.

“I may have a few more grey hairs than I did a few weeks ago.”

Ol­szewski had a nine-vote lead over Brochin after ab­sen­tee and pro­vi­sional votes were counted, prompt­ing Brochin to re­quest a man­ual re­count.

The re­count took three days, start­ing on Thurs­day and end­ing Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon.

Brochin con­ceded the elec­tion shortly be­fore Ol­szewski met with his sup­port­ers on Sat­ur­day night.

“I’d like to thank the ded­i­cated folks at the county Board of Elec­tions who worked to make sure ev­ery vote was counted and ev­ery voter heard,” Ol­szewski said.

The man­ual re­count lacked a bit of drama, as Ol­szewski re­port­edly main­tained the lead after each day of count­ing.

Ol­szewski led by 346 votes after elec­tion day. That lead shrunk to 42 votes after most of the ab­sen­tee bal­lots were counted, and slipped to seven votes after the fi­nal 200 ab­sen­tee bal­lots were counted.

He picked up two votes from the pro­vi­sional bal­lots to take a nine-vote lead into the re­count, where he gained eight more votes on Brochin.

Most of the change dur­ing the re­count came from “over­votes”; bal­lots on which the voter had filled in more than one can­di­date.

Ac­cord­ing to Tucker Ca­vanaugh, Ol­szewski’s cam­paign man­ager, the Board of Elec­tions ex­am­ined each bal­lot on which there was an over­vote to see if the voter’s in­ten­tion could be de­ter­mined.

If, for ex­am­ple, a voter had filled in the cir­cle for one can­di­date, then placed an ‘x’ over it and filled in a cir­cle for an­other can­di­date, the Board of Elec­tions panel gave that vote to the can­di­date who did not have the ‘x’ over their cir­cle.

“This elec­tion was a crit­i­cally im­por­tant re­minder that ev­ery vote does mat­ter,” Ol­szewski said. “I com­mend Brochin and Al­mond for run­ning in­cred­i­bly strong cam­paigns. Their cam­paigns, in turn, made ours stronger, too. It will in­spire all of us in the days ahead.”

Each of the three main can­di­dates did best among their base: Ol­szewski won on the east side of Bal­ti­more County, Al­mond won on the west side and Brochin did well in cen­tral and north­ern Bal­ti­more County.

Ol­szewski emerged the win­ner due to a strong show­ing on the west side, where he fin­ished sec­ond to Al­mond in most of the precincts. He also fin­ished sec­ond to Brochin in most of the ar­eas where Brochin won, while the run­ner-up spot on the east side was split be­tween Brochin and Al­mond.

Ol­szewski also took south­west Bal­ti­more County and por­tions of the west side. Brochin won just a hand­ful of precincts in western Bal­ti­more County, and prac­ti­cally none on the east side.

And, in a race where only 17 votes sep­a­rated the top two fin­ish­ers, there’s the ques­tion as to how much im­pact Mar­ron’s oth­er­wise in­signif­i­cant show­ing had on the out­come. Had he not run, which can­di­date would have picked up the most of Mar­ron’s 2,100 votes?

While say­ing he was con­fi­dent his lead would hold up, Ol­szewski con­fessed “sur­viv­ing the re­count has re­ally been a jour­ney”.

“I’m ex­cited to get back to work. We will build a bet­ter Bal­ti­more County, and we will build it to­gether.”

Speak­ing at Ol­szewski’s rally on Sat­ur­day, county ex­ec­u­tive Don Mohler com­mented on the low turnout in the pri­mary.

“This is to the 75 per­cent of [regis­tered Demo­cratic] vot­ers who skipped the pri­mar y and said ‘see you in Novem­ber,’” Mohler said. “Ev­ery vote counts.”

“By Novem­ber, I believe peo­ple are go­ing to get to know [Ol­szewski], get to sense his vi­sion, and say ‘I believe in this guy.’”

PHOTO BY BILL GATES

John Ol­szewski Jr. speaks to sup­port­ers and the me­dia at his cam­paign head­quar­ters on North Point Boule­vard after a man­ual re­count con­firmed his vic­tory in the Demo­cratic pri­mary for county ex­ec­u­tive on Sat­ur­day.

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