Baltimore County Executive Running For Congress

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Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, pictured above, announced Tuesday that he is running to replace the retiring U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a fellow Democrat, in Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District. (Courtesy of Baltimore County)

This story was last updated Tuesday at 11:19 a.m.

TOWSON, MD - Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski (D) announced Tuesday that he is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland's 2nd Congressional District.

Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) currently holds the seat, but he announced Friday that he will not seek re-election. Ruppersberger, who turns 78 on Wednesday, represented District 2 for more than 21 years.

Olszewski, known as "Johnny O," announced his bid to replace Ruppersberger in a Tuesday Facebook post.

"I am excited to announce that I'm officially running for Maryland's 2nd Congressional District," Olszewski said in the post. "As a public school teacher, a state legislator, and as Baltimore County Executive, I'm proud to have dedicated my life to serving our communities."

District 2 covers most of Baltimore County and Carroll County and a slice of northern Baltimore City. A map of the district is posted here.

Olszewski, who turns 42 in September, called for a new generation in Washington. 

His campaign kickoff video urged bipartisanship in Congress.

"It's how D.C. should work, but it isn't," Olszewski said in the video. "Far too often, it allows partisan politics and self-interest to get in the way of progress. It's time for Washington to have a new generation of leaders."

Olszewski also hinted at his stance on abortion, saying he wants to "make sure Maryland remains a beacon of hope for women and choice, not just here, but across our country."

Environmentalism is another one of his priorities.

"It's time for leaders who understand that climate change is real and something that requires urgent action," Olszewski said.

Olszewski has been county executive since 2018. He was re-elected in 2022. His second term as county executive runs through 2026. 

If Olszewski wins his Congressional election, he would have to leave his post as county executive. The County Council would then select a replacement to finish his term, Maryland Matters reported.

"As county executive, we've led transformative change, instilling the values of equity and sustainability and accountability in all that we do," Olszewski said. "We've made historic investments in our schools, our parks, our roads and more. We've tackled some of the hardest challenges out there, from police reform to gun safety to housing attainability and we've done so in a bipartisan way."

Olszewski entered politics in 2006 at age 23 as the delegate for Legislative District 6. He held that seat until January 2015. He ran for state Senate in 2014 and lost, Maryland Matters said. In 2018, he won the Democratic county executive primary by a tight margin, Maryland Matters said. 

Maryland Matters reported that Olszewski started fundraising for a potential congressional run in July 2023.

Maryland Matters said the other candidates for Congressional District 2 are:

  • Del. Harry Bhandari (D-Baltimore County)
  • Medical assistant Jessica Sjoberg (D)
  • Insurance agent Clint Spellman Jr. (D)
  • Businessman and frequent candidate David Wallace (R)

Democrats usually win District 2. Ruppersberger defeated Republican National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose by 18 percentage points in 2022, Maryland Matters said.

The primary election is on May 14. The General Election is on Nov. 5.

Olszewski is a Dundalk native and a lifelong Baltimore County resident.

He graduated from Sparrows Point High School before earning his undergraduate degree from Goucher College, his master's from George Washington University and his Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Olszewski and his wife have a 7-year-old daughter, WBAL reported.

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Of course he is. He’s a disaster. He brings nothing to Congress. He’s a cliche machine. He has done NOTHING to help. His words are like his head, empty. The guy is a word salad chef. He’s like Kamala Harris.

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Did anyone notice the ‘and frequent candidate’ put in front of David Wallace? It’s Jacob’s way of lessening a Republican candidate. Johnny knows the area has been ruined by him. He doesn’t even want to be here. That’s why he’s leaving for DC. 

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