ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Former Gov. Robert Ehrlich has wedged himself in the middle of the race for Anne Arundel County executive, asking county voters to endorse Del. Steve Schuh.
Ehrlich, in a letter to Republican voters, called out County Executive Laura Neuman for her “complete absence” from party politics before she was appointed to the position in February 2013.
"On June 24, the citizens of Anne Arundel County will face a choice between appointed incumbent Laura Neuman and my longtime friend, State Delegate Steve Schuh. These two candidates could not be more different - the contrast is striking - presenting what I believe is an easy decision for Republican voters of Anne Arundel County," Ehrlich wrote in the letter.
Ehrlich, who initially endorsed Schuh publicly last summer, went on to tout the Gibson Island Republican’s eight years as a state delegate representing Anne Arundel County, membership in Republican clubs and participation in more than a dozen Republican campaigns.
Ehrlich also pointed out Neuman was appointed county executive after John R. Leopold resigned by three Democrats and one Republican.
He said there is no record of her voting in a Republican primary in the last decade, and when she was appointed, the only political contributions she made were to Democrats.
Timb Mantegna, a campaign manager for Neuman, declined to comment on the letter.
In response, the campaign released an endorsement from former U.S. Rep. Helen Bentley, a Republican who served in the House from 1985 to 1995.
“It is with tremendous enthusiasm that I endorse Laura Neuman’s candidacy for Anne Arundel County executive,” Bentley wrote in her endorsement. “Laura has done a remarkable job translating her skills as a manager and an entrepreneur into results-oriented leadership for the citizens of Anne Arundel County.”
Bentley said Neuman put the county on sound fiscal ground, improved the police and fire departments and brought “a culture of transparency and excellence” to the government.
She also pointed out Neuman vetoed the county’s version of the stormwater fee, a move that was later overridden by the County Council. Schuh voted for the state mandate that created the fee.
“Anne Arundel County has flourished under her brand of conservative Republican leadership, and will continue to do so,” Bentley wrote.
The winner of the Republican primary will face off against Democrat George Johnson in the fall.