Metropolitan AFL-CIO switches support to Kamenetz for Balto. Co. executive

Influential union had backed Bartenfelder in rough primary

September 17, 2010|By Jonathan Pitts, The Baltimore Sun

The Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO has endorsed Democratic Baltimore County executive candidate Kevin Kamenetz, who defeated Joseph Bartenfelder in a spirited primary contest on Tuesday.

The influential union, which had backed Bartenfelder during the primary campaign, wasted little time in switching its allegiance to Kamenetz, the 52-year-old county councilman from Owings Mills who will now face Republican Kenneth C. Holt in the general election.

"We look forward to having a dialogue with Kevin and working to get him elected the next County Executive and making Baltimore County not only a great place to live but also a great place to work," Ernie Grecco, president of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council, said in a news release Friday.

The union represents thousands of workers and is made up of locals including the Baltimore County Professional Firefighters Association, Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council.

It was unclear what, if anything, the announcement said about Bartenfelder's position. Bartenfelder. 53, has so far declined to voice support for Kamenetz, a longtime colleague on the County Council who some criticized for negative campaigning during the bruising primary battle.

"Whether there will be [an endorsement] remains to be seen," said Bartenfelder's campaign manager, W. Michael Seganish, shortly after the primary. "He's thinking about it. It's just too early."

Another campaign official, Tom Welzenbach, said the two candidates had traded phone messages over the past few days but that he didn't know whether they had spoken.

Bartenfelder did not respond to calls seeking comment. Holt was not available for comment either.

The Kamenetz team called the union's endorsement significant. "I'm honored," Kamenetz said in a statement.

"The campaign is moving forward toward Election Day, working toward bringing everybody together," said campaign manager Peter Clerkin. But he stopped short of predicting Bartenfelder's response. "I can't read minds," he said.

jonathan.pitts@baltsun.com

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