Baltimore County executive candidate Johnny Olszewski Jr. pulled out of a debate planned for Friday night, frustrating organizers and his opponent.
Olszewski, a Democrat, was scheduled to debate Republican Al Redmer Jr. at the North Point Government Center in Dundalk. Olszewski said “an unexpected family event has required my time and attention on Friday.”
The debate had been scheduled several weeks earlier by the 7th District Civic Council of Baltimore County. In a statement issued Monday night, the civic council apologized to voters and Redmer for having to cancel the debate.
“The 7th District Civic Council of Baltimore County Debate Committee thanks Mr. Al Redmer’s unwavering commitment to a transparent and rigorous election process including Baltimore County’s apparently forgotten and foregone 7th District voters,” the civic council wrote.
Redmer wrote on Facebook that it was “disappointing if not unsurprising” that Olszewski pulled out of the Dundalk debate.
“This isn't the first time Johnny O has turned his back on District 7, and if he is elected County Executive it certainly won't be the last,” Redmer wrote.
Olszewski responded with a statement: “I’d hope my opponent would provide the same respect and courtesy I afforded him when he had to miss a debate with The Baltimore Sun to address a family matter earlier this year. I look forward to debating my opponent in communities across our county in the coming days and weeks to discuss my vision for a better Baltimore County.”
In June, Redmer declined to participate in a debate against his Republican primary opponent, Del. Pat McDonough. Redmer initially said he had a scheduling conflict due to a family member’s surgery, but later said he refused to share a stage with McDonough.
Redmer and Olszewski have several more candidate forums and debates planned leading up to the November general election.
On Tuesday morning, they debated before about 100 business owners and leaders in Towson, and they’re both scheduled to appear before real estate agents and builders on Thursday.
They also are scheduled to record a televised debate on WBFF Fox 45 and hold radio debates on WYPR-FM and WOLB-FM this month.