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Redmer, Olszewski bring out political heavy hitters for start of early voting in Baltimore County

Baltimore County executive candidates Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Al Redmer Jr. relied on political heavy hitters to help persuade voters on the first day of early voting Thursday.

Olszewski, a Democrat, appeared on the west side of the county with two members of Congress, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings.

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Meanwhile, Redmer, a Republican, made two campaign stops on the east side of the county with Gov. Larry Hogan.

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings praises Baltimore County executive candidate Johnny Olszewski Jr., at left, during the first day of early voting at the Randallstown Community Center on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings praises Baltimore County executive candidate Johnny Olszewski Jr., at left, during the first day of early voting at the Randallstown Community Center on Thursday. (Pamela Wood / The Baltimore Sun)

Redmer and Olszewski are vying to lead the state’s third-most populous jurisdiction, and both have run intense campaigns. There’s no public polling in the race to indicate who might have the upper hand.

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As voting got underway at the Randallstown Community Center — one of Baltimore County’s busiest early voting spots — Olszewski was surrounded by fellow Democrats who sung his praises. Cardin and Cummings led the pro-Olszewski charge.

Cummings said Olszewski understands the need to help all Baltimore County residents, as well as work with Baltimore City leaders to boost the entire region.

“He believes that in order for our state to be good, in order for our county to be good, in order for our city to be good, we all have to work together,” Cummings said. “And without a doubt, we have somebody in Johnny Olszewski who will do that. Our working together makes us much more powerful and much more effective.”

Gov. Larry Hogan, left, joins Baltimore County executive candidate Al Redmer Jr. for a tour of the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company’s new station on Thursday. It was the first of two appearances that Hogan made with Redmer on the first day of early voting.
Gov. Larry Hogan, left, joins Baltimore County executive candidate Al Redmer Jr. for a tour of the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company’s new station on Thursday. It was the first of two appearances that Hogan made with Redmer on the first day of early voting. (Pamela Wood / The Baltimore Sun)

Olszewski was encouraged to see more than 200 people in line to vote at Randallstown as the polls opened.

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“People are excited to vote, they’re excited about exercising their right and they’re excited about registering their voices and they’re excited about supporting the great team that is here today,” Olszewski said.

Having survived a competitive primary that went to a recount before he officially was declared the winner by 17 votes, Olszewski said he takes no vote for granted.

“As someone who has lived through a historic election, it is true: Every vote counts,” he said. “So we are so thrilled to see people out here casting their vote.”

Against a fractious political backdrop, tens of thousands of Marylanders swarmed early voting sites, eager to take the first opportunity to cast their ballots.

Hogan joined Redmer at a pair of events on the eastern side of the county, touring the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company’s new station and then greeting voters and supporters at the early voting site at the Honeygo Run Community Center in Perry Hall.

“I’m certainly excited that Al Redmer is going to be the next Baltimore County executive,” Hogan told reporters at the fire station. Later, Hogan and Redmer posed at the center for a photo surrounded by dozens of supporters and Republican candidates at Honeygo.

Redmer said he appreciated the governor’s in-person support. Hogan is also scheduled to headline a get-out-the-vote rally for Redmer in White Marsh on Tuesday.

Baltimore County executive Al Redmer Jr., a Republican, grew up in Perry Hall and has lived in the community much of his life. He was elected four times to the House of Delegates, has worked in private industry and is Maryland's Insurance Commissioner.

“You can just look around here and see all the folks that came out to see Governor Hogan,” Redmer said. “Equally as important, you can feel the energy that he brings and that is energy that translates into more volunteers, volunteers working harder and an energetic group of voters that are going to change Baltimore County.”

During the campaign, Redmer has emphasized his relationship with Hogan, telling voters that if both are elected, it will translate into more state money and support for Baltimore County.

Baltimore County executive candidate and Democrat Johnny Olszewski Jr. describes himself as a “public school kid” who was the first in his family to go to college. He obtained a doctoral degree, taught in public schools and is raising a family in his hometown.

The two men are longtime personal friends, and Hogan appointed Redmer to his current position as state insurance commissioner.

The winner of the Baltimore County executive’s race will succeed County Executive Don Mohler. Mohler, a Democrat, was appointed to the position in May following the death of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz from cardiac arrest. Kamenetz was finishing his second and final term as executive and was running for governor at the time of his death.

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