Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman said she's taken steps toward running in 2014 for a full term.
While the Republican hasn't declared her candidacy officially, Neuman said in an interview Thursday she's filed the paperwork to form a campaign committee. The only office she's considering is county executive.
"I've had a tremendous amount of support from the community," she said. "I wanted to at least explore the idea."
The County Council selected Neuman as county executive on Feb. 21 after the resignation of John R. Leopold, who was found guilty of misconduct in office.
Neuman is serving the balance of Leopold's term, which ends in December 2014.
From the start, Neuman has been asked both publicly and privately whether she'd run for a full term as executive, and has said she hasn't thought that far ahead. But a few weeks ago, Neuman said, she decided to form the committee. She said she filed the paperwork Thursday.
"Every day, 100 times a day, people ask me if I'm going to run," Neuman said.
If she runs, Neuman will have company in the Republican primary: County Councilman John Grasso of Glen Burnie has announced his intention to run, and Del. Steve Schuh of Gibson Island launched his campaign Thursday night.
Even before Schuh's official announcement, it was clear he was running. When the County Council sought applicants to replace Leopold, Schuh was among 16 people who sought the job. At the time, he said he planned to run in 2014.
Schuh said he thinks he can do more to help the county as county executive than as just one of 188 state lawmakers and a member of the minority party at the State House.
"I see county executive as an opportunity to have hands-on impact on a day-to-day basis to make our community better," Schuh said. He said his priorities include not raising taxes, reducing fees, spurring economic development, working collaboratively with the school system and being a good steward of the environment.
Schuh said he's raised $1 million from nearly 1,000 contributors and has lined up 200 volunteers. He lined up Rep. Andy Harris — the state's only Republican congressman — to join him at his campaign announcement at the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company in Annapolis.
Grasso said he welcomes Neuman and Schuh into the race.
"I intend to win, but if I lose to either Steve or her, I'm not going to have a problem," he said.
He praised Neuman and Schuh as effective leaders and "good people" but said: "I think I can do a better job — it's that simple."
Grasso said he'd be better at handling county construction projects and wants to see more construction work done by county employees rather than by contractors. Grasso said he hasn't done much fundraising — about $40,000 so far — but has started sign-waving to get his name out.
The only Democrat to publicly express interest in the race so far is Joanna Conti, who lost to Leopold in 2010.
"I fully intend to launch another campaign as we get closer to the election," Conti said.
With the primaries set for June 2014, Conti said it's too early to make an official announcement.