ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Del. Steve Schuh won the Republican primary for Anne Arundel County executive Tuesday night, edging out incumbent Laura Neuman.
As of 12:35 a.m., with 170 out of 195 precincts reporting, Schuh was leading Neuman by more than 2,400 votes.
"I think the citizens embraced the vision that I had for the future of our county," Schuh said. "The citizens of Anne Arundel County are ready to see us move in a new policy direction."
Neuman conceded the race via Twitter, saying she'd release a full statement Wednesday morning.
"I'm going home to take care of my children, but I believe Del. Schuh is the winner," Neuman wrote. "Congrats Steve!"
She then sent Schuh a "gracious" text message, the delegate said.
In a speech before a crowd of supporters at the Greene Turtle in Pasadena, Schuh thanked the Neuman campaign for “keeping him on his toes” and said this is now the time for Republicans to come together.
In the Nov. 4 general election, Schuh will face former county sheriff George Johnson, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Johnson's campaign released a statement early Wednesday morning, congratulating Schuh on his win.
"Unfortunately, the Republican primary didn’t offer voters much more than ‘who’s the REAL conservative Republican’ and that was the race Schuh won,” the statement read. “As we now move onto the General Election in November the differences between Schuh and I will become very clear."
While campaigning earlier in the day, Neuman was optimistic about her chances.
“I believe it’s not done until it’s done,” Neuman said while greeting voters outside Old Mill High School.
She said she was content no matter what the outcome of the election.
“For me, I’m at peace personally,” she said.
Neuman was appointed county executive in February 2013 after John R. Leopold resigned when he was convicted of abusing his office. Schuh, who had been eyeing the seat for years, also sought the seat.
The Anne Arundel County Council’s three Democrats appointed Neuman, something Schuh’s campaign pointed out repeatedly on the campaign trail.
The race between Neuman and Schuh became one of the most hotly contested primary elections in years, with each attacking the other’s Republican credentials and accusing each other of spreading lies.
Among other things, Neuman went after Schuh for his 2012 vote in favor of the state mandate that required Maryland’s 10 largest jurisdictions adopt a stormwater fee, derided as the “rain tax” by conservatives. Her campaign sent out pointed flyers targeting Schuh’s record, including one that featured him in the likeness of President Barack Obama.
In turn, Schuh went after Neuman for increasing the Anne Arundel County budget for fiscal 2014, saying she could have cut taxes but didn’t. He also raised questions about Neuman’s claims of growing up poor in Baltimore city, which she has said led her to drop out of high school.
Neuman said Tuesday she didn’t feel her campaign had gone negative, and stayed focused on Schuh’s record. Schuh, meanwhile, tried to distort hers, even releasing a video that she says wrongly implied she is pro-choice.
A few working the polls said they were disappointed voter turnout appeared to be light.
“The public is not nearly as interested as the two candidates are,” said Alex Shandrowsky, stumping in Arnold for Register of Wills Lauren Parker.
Maria Triandos, a Democratic candidate for delegate in District 30A, spent the day visiting various precincts around the Annapolis area and said she was disappointed by how empty some of them were.
“There were more polling people and people supporting candidates than anyone else,” she said.
Sharon Kaspary was waving a sign in support of County Councilman Derek Fink outside Chesapeake Bay Middle School in Pasadena late in the afternoon, when voter traffic seemed to be picking up.
“I’ve never seen so many mailers,” Kaspary said of the campaign literature that went out from both sides, seemingly on a daily basis.
The amount of spending was certainly unprecedented, Schuh said as he met with voters outside Chesapeake Bay Middle School. As of the most recent campaign finance reports, Schuh had more than $500,000 on hand; Neuman had more than $244,000.
“The stakes are high,” he said.
Schuh said he expects his race against Johnson to be a much different one.
"I think it's going to be nothing like the primary," he said.
For complete election results, click here .