But that remains to be seen.

"I don't think anyone has four votes yet," said Derek Fink, a Pasadena Republican.

Whether Fink will vote is also uncertain. He is a business partner with Schuh and has asked the county's ethics commission for an advisory opinion on whether that poses a conflict of interest.

Absent from the applicant pool were the two council members who had consideed seeking the appointment.

The county law office sought the legal opinion of a former state solicitor general on the eligibility of sitting council members for the job. Andrew H. Baida, now in private practice in Baltimore, concluded that the county charter prohibited such an appointment.

Council Vice Chairman John Grasso, a Glen Burnie Republican, said Thursday that he'd decided before Baida issued his opinion this week that he would not seek the executive position.

Council Chairman Jerry Walker, a Gambrills Republican, said the opinion could be challenged, but he decided against applying because he "didn't want additional ethical questions to continue on past the previous administration."

Grasso, who has announced his candidacy for 2014, had praise for the acting executive.

"Hammond's got more knowledge of this county than all of them put together. He knows all the ins and outs," he said.

John G. Gary, who was county executive from 1994 to 1998, is another candidate with no 2014 ambitions.

"If you put someone in there who wants to run in 2014, you'll have contention between everyone who wants to run in 2014," Gary said. "It's a Catch-22 for those council members."

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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Candidates for county executive

Tom Angelis

Phil Bissett

David Cordle

Ingrid Dean

Kendel Ehrlich

Ron Elfenbein