Anne Arundel County Council member Nathan E. Volke (R) is mulling a county executive bid, and announced the formation of an exploratory committee Tuesday.
Volke said in announcing his bid that Anne Arundel County is at a “pivotal crossroads,” and highlighted his opposition to Democratic County Executive Steuart Pittman’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“So many people have voiced their concerns over the current direction of our county,” Volke said. “We need a leader that will fight to reduce the tax burden while providing quality and efficient county services and making our communities safer. That’s why I am considering running for County Executive.”
Pittman has passed tax increases through the county council — where Democrats hold a 4-3 majority — since he took office in 2018, including raising the local income tax from 2.5% to 2.81% and raising property taxes from 90.2 cents to 93.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. Pittman has also pushed for statewide tax reform, and lobbied for legislative proposal to give local governments more flexibility over how to impose income taxes earlier this year.
Volke has long been a vocal critic of those tax increases: He gathered signatures in a bid to put a measure on the 2020 ballot that would cap the county’s income tax at 2.5%, although no such question appeared on the final ballot.
Volke’s exploratory committee will be chaired by Faith Loudon, a former state legislative and congressional candidate.
“Councilman Volke has been the most effective and most conservative leader on the County Council during his tenure,” Loudon said. “He’s not a career politician and he’s proven he gets things done without compromising on his principles. He will always put Anne Arundel County first.”
Volke joins an increasingly crowded field of Anne Arundel County Republican eyeing a county executive bid: County Councilmember Jessica Haire, business consultant and political newcomer Chris Jahn and former Del. Herbert H. McMillan are also eyeing the GOP nomination. Del. Sid A. Saab (R) is also considering a bid.
Pittman is gearing up for his own reelection bid, and announced last week that Fred Curtis will manage his campaign. Pittman described Curtis, who has worked on political campaigns across the country, as a “seasoned campaign manager with the skill set to reconvene the coalition we built in 2018.”
Anne Arundel County is a historically purple county. Recent voter registration statistics show that of 407,328 registered voters in the county, 175,379 are registered as Democrats, 132,706 are registered as Republicans and 93,393 are unaffiliated.