Ex-judge to run for executive in Baltimore County

September 11, 2001|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

Less than a week after stepping down as a Circuit Court judge, James T. Smith Jr. said yesterday he will seek election as Baltimore County executive on a platform advocating greater community input in government.

Smith, 59, of Reisterstown is the first Democrat to enter the race to succeed C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits. Douglas B. Riley, a Towson Republican, announced in February.

Smith served notice a month ago that he would retire from the bench and said he would try to gauge how much financial support he could expect in a run for executive. Yesterday, he said the response exceeded his expectations, and he believes he'll be able to raise the $1 million he thinks he'll need to win the office.

"People know I'm serious," he said. "They know I am committed to the race and I really want to be county executive."

If elected, Smith said, he would work harder than the Ruppersberger administration has to involve residents and neighborhood groups in government, while following up on efforts to improve the county's infrastructure.

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