With 10 weeks until the elections, the Republican primary for Anne Arundel county executive is heating up as candidates Steve Schuh and Laura Neuman trade barbs over spending and boast about their endorsements.
Meanwhile, Neuman, the incumbent, recently lost her campaign manager.
In an email to her campaign team this month, Neuman said campaign manager Ryan Terrill left to spend more time with his new wife. "He has realized that the incredible time commitment of a campaign does not lend itself to starting this new chapter in his life," Neuman wrote.
Terrill declined to comment.
Deputy campaign manager Corbett Webb has taken over leadership of the campaign, said spokesman Timb Mantegna.
Schuh, a state delegate from Gibson Island who has had his eye on the post for years, is challenging Neuman, a political newcomer from Annapolis who was appointed last year after County Executive John R. Leopold resigned in the aftermath of misconduct convictions.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat and former county Sheriff George F. Johnson IV in the general election.
Schuh recently promoted his endorsement from former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Though the campaign lined up the Ehrlich endorsement last year, it released a letter from Ehrlich this week praising Schuh.
"He is a conservative who has consistently demonstrated a commitment to the fundamental principles of the Republican Party," wrote the former governor, who lives in Annapolis.
Neuman's camp countered with an endorsement from former Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, who recently appeared with Neuman at a fundraiser.
"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 in a statement released by the Neuman campaign.
Neuman's campaign needled Schuh for his hotel, meal and mileage expenses during the annual 90-day General Assembly session. Between 2007 and 2013, Schuh charged $3,900 to $6,900 per year in expenses, according to the Neuman campaign.
Dave Abrams, a spokesman for Schuh, said the expenses were legitimate.
"There's nothing wrong with the expenditures. They're given to every member of the General Assembly as part-time legislators, and Laura Neuman is just trying to change the subject from her tax-and-spend policies," Abrams said.
The Neuman campaign also put out a list of tax and fee increases that Schuh has voted for in the legislature, ranging from the controversial stormwater fee to an increase in fees for fishing licenses.
"It's hard to find an area in which Schuh hasn't stuck it to the taxpayer," Mantegna said.
Abrams countered by pointing out that Neuman raised property taxes in her first budget last year.
"Steve Schuh has eight years as an elected official and thousands of votes taken for lower taxes, lower fees, less regulation," he said. "Laura Neuman has no record at all."
The primary is June 24, with early voting scheduled to begin June 12.