Robin Ficker hands a petition to a voter during his 2015 drive to try to get a term-limit measure on the ballot. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Robin Ficker, who spearheaded a petition drive for the term limits ballot question that Montgomery County voters approved overwhelmingly last year, is a candidate for county executive.

Ficker, 73, says he will compete for the Republican nomination in the June 2018 primary. He filed paperwork Tuesday with the county Board of Elections, according to Montgomery Community Media, which first reported the story.

Ficker, an outspoken critic of county spending, says he intends to use the public financing option created by the County Council. In an interview, Ficker said it was the only way to ensure a level playing field for his campaign.

“Why shouldn’t I be able to play the cards dealt to everybody else?” he asked, referring to the two other announced candidates, Council members Marc Elrich (D-At Large) and George L. Leventhal (D-At Large). Both said they will also adopt the new public financing system, in which $150 contributions can be leveraged with public matching funds. It bars donations from corporations, unions or political action committees.

Ficker has run for local, state or federal office more than a dozen times since 1972. He won a single term in the House of Delegates in 1978.