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Republican Primary Turns Nasty For Anne Arundel County Executive Seat

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- A Republican primary turns nasty as Anne Arundel County executive candidates take shots at each other.

Pat Warren has more on what this means for the minority party in the state.

Anne Arundel County is a rare Republican stronghold. With the majority of voters registered as Democrats, the GOP has managed to hang on to the county executive seat. But the primary battle between County Executive Laura Neuman and Delegate Steve Schuh is seen by some voters as a turnoff.

"I don't like that. In general, I don't like it. So it kind of turns me off. But I still don't know. I won't know who I'm voting for until I get in there," said early voter Ursula Johnson.

The office went through upheaval when John Leopold was forced to resign and was convicted of misuse of office. Laura Neuman, appointed to replace him, is now running to keep the office and finding her first-time campaign a hard road.

"I've had whether or not I was raped come into question--my rape case--which has been quite visible because I've been an outspoken advocate for rape victims," Neuman said. "It's come into question whether or not I have a master's degree. In fact, I do."

Delegate Steve Schuh says he has been unfairly characterized in a Neuman campaign ad regarding his voting record during the O'Malley Administration.

"According to my opponent, I'm Barack Obama, Martin O'Malley and Al Capone all rolled into one. And I don't think, I don't think, voters are buying it," said Schuh.

WJZ asked a few as they cast ballots.

"I think issue and their intention of where they're going. I think that's more important right now," said Barbara Hollis.

"I think they should tell me what they're going to do, not what the other guy's doing," said another early voter.

Both candidates tell WJZ they would like to get to the issues.

"I think it's important that we talk about what's best for the citizens of Anne Arundel County. In the end, I believe the party will come together. We will come together as one party in the general election," said Neuman.

"The number one priority for every Republican in this country is to make sure Anne Arundel County stays the largest Republican jurisdiction in the state of Maryland," said Schuh. "And we're going to pull together as a team and make sure that happens."

Six of the county's eight county executives have been Republicans.

The Republican primary winner will face Democrat George Johnson, who is uncontested in the Democratic primary.

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