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Republican former Del. Ken Holt enters Baltimore County executive race

Republican and former state delegate Ken Holt ended months of speculation on Tuesday with his announcement that he will run for county executive this fall.

Ken Holt, a Republican former state delegate, ended months of speculation with his announcement this week that he will run for Baltimore County executive this fall.

Holt said he will focus on fiscal responsibility and budget issues.

"There's a $150 million [county] budget shortfall in our immediate future," Holt said, adding that he believes continued state budget problems will "float down to the county.

"The relationship can't be ignored," Holt said. "Our county is going to have to address issues it didn't think it would have to address."

Holt said the county could "probably weather a tough economic recession on its own, if it weren't for the state's continued fiscal issues."

Holt served in the House of Delegates from 1995 to 1999 before losing a bid for the state Senate to Democrat Michael Collins.

Since then, the Bradshaw resident has mostly been out of local politics, choosing to focus on a family farm and working in the private sector as a financial adviser. He is currently senior vice president of wealth management in the Holt Group at Smith Barney in Baltimore.

Holt's announcement was not unexpected. In recent weeks, he has increased his public visibility, attending community meetings and other events.

In the past week, Holt, even before announcing his campaign Tuesday, participated in two candidates' forums with County Council members Joseph Bartenfelder and Kevin Kamenetz, both Democrats who are expected to mount their own county executive campaigns.

Holt said he plans a more formal campaign launch in May and will soon begin a direct-mail fundraising campaign.

Kamenetz and Bartenfelder have $1.1 million and $640,000 in cash on hand, respectively, for their anticipated campaigns.

Holt said he is not expecting a primary challenge and believes he will need only to raise $500,000 for the two-month period between the primary and general elections.

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