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‘Good Mike’ Dawson Withdraws from Cecil County Council Race to Unify Opposition to Broomell; May Seek Other Office

February 17, 2014
By Nancy Schwerzler

Michael W. “Good Mike” Dawson has withdrawn his candidacy for the Cecil County Council seat now held by Diana Broomell, throwing his support to fellow Republican George Patchell in an effort to unify opposition to Broomell.

Dawson, whose family has generations-deep roots in the Perryville area, had filed his official candidacy including the “Good Mike” nickname local residents gave him to differentiate him from Michael A. Dawson—a newcomer to the county and one-term Perryville town commissioner known as “MAD Mike” for his bitter and divisive attacks on fellow lawmakers and citizens.

“Good Mike” Dawson withdrew his candidacy for the Council in District 4 on 2/12/14. He had originally filed as a candidate 6/6/13.

In an interview with Cecil Times, Dawson said, “I decided it would be best for the county and for Republicans to go forward united. There is no reason to have an internal battle.” And with two other GOP candidates in the party primary, it would have split opposition to Broomell, who has said she plans to seek re-election but has not yet filed her candidacy.

Broomell, who was elected in 2010, has been a controversial figure first on the old Board of Commissioners for two years as a ringleader of the “Three Amigos” group that controlled county government, and more recently as a County Councilor who frequently attacks the County Executive and fellow Council members—despite the fact that all of them are Republicans.

Both Dawson and Patchell, who remains in the Council race, agreed that defeating Broomell in the GOP primary was a priority.

Dawson said he met recently with Patchell to discuss issues facing the county and at times it was “like looking in the mirror.” Both agreed on many points about moving the county forward in a positive fashion and avoiding the negative attack-mode politics of the current occupant of the Council seat.

Dawson said he would “enthusiastically” support Patchell’s candidacy: “I’m not doing it grudgingly… this is not about me.”

But he acknowledged the financial realities of running a successful campaign if there were two rivals to Broomell in the primary. Dawson’s most recent campaign committee finance report was an affidavit specifying that he had raised no more than $1,000 in the past year. Patchell, who filed as a candidate in late November, will hold his first fundraiser in early March, and he is expected to have strong financial support from the Cecil Business Leaders for Better Government, which has a political action committee that was active in the 2012 election and is already gearing up for this year’s campaigns.

Although the CBL has not formally endorsed candidates yet, it was an open secret in local political circles that Patchell had support from the business group. But there was some dismay that the CBL group had not at least held discussions with Dawson, who filed first as a candidate, before indicating backing for Patchell. [SEE previous Cecil Times report here: http://ceciltimes.com/2013/11/cecil-county-politics-patchell-ymca-chief-files-for-county-council-against-broomell-mad-mike-dawson-withdraws-from-senate-35-race/ ]

Patchell was grateful, and gracious, in reacting to Dawson’s decision to withdraw. In an interview with Cecil Times, he said he had not asked his fellow candidate to pull out and that Dawson’s move “took me by surprise.”

But “we were both concerned about splitting the vote” in a three-way contest that could allow Broomell to win, he said. Patchell added that both men “felt comfortable with each other” on many issues.

And there may be another factor: the “flexibility” to perhaps run for another office in this year’s elections.

Dawson acknowledged he was not ruling out possibly running for another office this year, apart from his already-filed candidacy for a seat on the county’s Republican Central Committee. “I’m absolutely staying in” that race, Dawson said. “We need to re-boot the Central Committee and rebuild the trust that I think has been compromised in the county” by the current committee majority.

The nine-seat GOP panel is controlled by allies of the old “Smipkin” political organization created by Del. Michael Smigiel and former Sen. E.J. Pipkin and members have attacked fellow Republicans such as Tari Moore, the County Executive, and three Council members not aligned with the Smipkins.

Dawson ran as a third-party candidate for the state Delegate seat held by David Rudolph, a Democrat, in 2010. His Perryville home is still in Rudolph’s district—which is now re-numbered as 35-A and after redistricting includes a lesser slice of the heavily GOP western county and added more heavily Democratic areas around Elkton.

Rudolph has not yet filed as a candidate this year while one largely unknown Republican, Kevin Hornberger, a North East resident who works at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC as a mechanical operations engineer, filed 1/29/14. And another Republican candidate, Mary Catherine Podlesak, of Elkton, filed on 2/12/14.

Meanwhile, Patchell, the longtime executive director of Cecil County’s YMCA and a leader of many community youth programs, has scheduled his first fundraiser for his County Council race on 3/11/14 at the Wellwood in Charlestown. He is setting up a campaign website at www.patchellforcountycouncil.com

[UPDATE: In the 4th District County Council race, one Democrat, Wayne Tome– mayor of Port Deposit and a former county commissioner– has already filed his candidacy in his party’s primary. See previous Cecil Times report here:
http://ceciltimes.com/2014/02/wayne-tome-port-mayor-and-former-county-commissioner-files-for-cecil-county-council-seat/

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3 Responses to ‘Good Mike’ Dawson Withdraws from Cecil County Council Race to Unify Opposition to Broomell; May Seek Other Office

  1. Bob Laird on February 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Excellent decision by a strong, thoughtful gentleman. Patchell will be an excellent challenger to Broomell and “Good Mike” can do more to assist across the board. Kevin Hornberger is not going to be “largely unknown” for long. This party is moving in the right direction.

  2. Ron Lobos on February 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Let’s give “Good Mike” Dawson credit for pursuing what is best for the county instead of going after his own self interests. He recognizes the need to get Broomell out of office as a priority. This only goes to point out what kind of representative Mike would be for us no matter what position he pursues in the future.

  3. Joe C on February 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    My advice to Mr. Patchell is to stay clear of the CBL and be his own man. Truth is coming out on the CBL, they want to “move the county forward” on other people’s money, unforunately is is our tax money they want to spend for their special interests. He also needs to insure the voters that he is not entering this position to funnel public money to the YMCA in exchange for other pet projects. Mike Dawson running for Register of Wills is a great move.

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