Holt announces run for Baltimore County executive

A Republican former state delegate has entered the race for Baltimore County executive, and a Democratic County Council member is expected to announce early next week.

Republican Kenneth C. Holt, a Kingsville farmer and financial adviser who served one term in the House of Delegates, said Wednesday that he has created a campaign committee and a Web site and is seeking campaign contributions. The 58-year-old has taken a leave from Smith Barney in Baltimore for a campaign that he said is motivated by a lifelong sense of volunteerism and the current state of the economy.

"At this stage, I feel a strong desire to put myself in the role of decision-maker and make positive changes for the people of Baltimore County," said Holt, 58.

Democratic Councilman Kevin Kamenetz is expected to announce his candidacy for the job now held by County Executive James T. Smith Jr. at a news conference scheduled for April 20. Smith will step down in December, at the end of his second term.

Kamenetz would not confirm a run Tuesday.

"I have traveled the county hearing the concerns from many communities," the fourth-term councilman said. "I will announce the results of my listening tour [next] Tuesday."

Holt and Kamenetz have participated in candidate forums with Joseph Bartenfelder, another fourth-term Democrat. Bartenfelder has yet to announce his candidacy for county executive but is expected to face Kamenetz in the Democratic primary in September.

Holt said he does not expect any competition in the Republican primary.

"I expect Republicans will benefit from the strong anti-incumbent sentiment that is building," he said. "The public anxiety about enormous debt levels opens the door for outside people who have a strong business background."

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