Democrat Joe Janusz filed Tuesday to challenge veteran incumbent Del. David Rudolph in the Democratic primary for the Dist. 34B seat, embarking on what some political observers from both parties characterize as a political suicide mission.
Janusz had initially filed for the Third District County Commissioner seat currently held by fellow Democrat Brian Lockhart, who initially planned not to seek re-election. But, as the Cecil Times previously reported, Janusz decided this spring to pull out of the race for family reasons. (He and his wife, Sara, are going through a divorce and the couple has several young children.) Lockhart filed for re-election last week.
Democratic political circles had been buzzing for a week or more that Richard (Tucker) Mackie, a former delegate himself, was pushing Janusz to run against Rudolph. But few, if any, thought Janusz would actually do it.
Janusz was seen as a young rising star in the county Democratic party after his impressive, but losing, campaign against Lockhart in the Democratic primary for county commissioner in 2006. Lockhart later appointed Janusz to the county Planning Commission. Janusz had been carefully planning for a commissioner run for a long time. But with his personal concerns, his political future seemed to be on hold, with a potential revival a few years down the road.
Now, with his filing to run against the popular and well-financed Del. Rudolph, Janusz’ political future in the county would seem to be in doubt. It’s an odd turn of fate and political fortune to jeopardize a future political career by jumping in at the last minute to such an uphill battle. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Ted Patterson, a leader of the county’s “Young Republican” club and recently graduated student at the University of Delaware.
Another last minute surprise, and another Phoenix-like rise from the political graveyard, came when Diana Broomell filed Tuesday as a Republican for the 4th District County Commissioner seat now held by Democrat Wayne Tome. Broomell, a former longtime aide to Del. Michael Smigiel, R-36, ran a spirited campaign against Tome in 2006 but lost. She became active in the Tea Party movement last summer but then disappeared from that and other local political activity, after taking a job in Harford County.
The 4th Dist. Commissioner contest is a crowded field. Tome is already facing a tough Democratic primary challenge from Carl Roberts, the former county Superintendent of Schools. Broomell will face Mike Dawson, a political newcomer and a former Prince George’s county police officer. Dawson has been considered to be aligned with the GOP faction led by State Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-36, and Smigiel. Broomell is much better known in the county than Dawson.