UPDATED: Ervin to Run for Governor

Update, 7:30 p.m.: Former Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin entered the governor’s race Thursday, taking the place of her deceased running mate, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Kamenetz died of a heart attack last week.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz | File photo

With Ervin running for governor, her lieutenant governor would be former Baltimore County school board member, Marisol Johnson, the first Latina elected to the county’s school board, Ervin said.

A website — http://www.valerieformaryland.com/ — has become active.

Ervin said Thursday evening that the national donor community had become interested in the campaign.

“The Twitter universe went crazy today,” she said. That’s exciting for us, because we know this race matters.”

Stacey Abrams, the Georgia gubernatorial candidate, is the only other African-American woman seeking statewide office this election season.

“There are people who care about women running for executive positions,” Ervin said.

Checked at 7 p.m., “Valerie Ervin” was ranked the fifth trending topic.

Although she was Kamenetz’ running mate, Ervin doesn’t necessarily get to use the money the Baltimore County executive had raised in his yearlong gubernatorial bid.

Ervin said she hadn’t been paying attention to the campaign accounts.

“I will probably have to get legal counsel on how to access those funds,” she said.

She said the campaign had three accounts. One contained the money Kamenetz raised in the year he was running for governor, one was a joint account for the Kamenetz-Ervin campaign and the third was Ervin’s account.

“I had a separate account for money raised so when a donor maxed out on Kevin’s account, they could write to my account,” Ervin said.

Ervin said she and Johnson would run on the foundation that she and Kamenetz had already built. She said some of the people Kamenetz had would join her team, but she added a caveat: “I’m already building a team of my own.”

Ervin and Kamenetz had already worked on policies together and were in complete agreement. But with an African-American and a Latina, the campaign is a “strong team.”

“Now we have a ticket of what Maryland looks like for the future,” she said.

Ervin served on the Montgomery County Council for more than seven years. And like Johnson, she also was a school board member, serving in Montgomery County for two years.

Ervin was elected to the County Council in 2006, the first African-American woman to serve on the council. She represented District 5 until she resigned Jan. 3, 2014, when she left the council to take over New York-based Center for Working Families.

Ervin would be the second woman from Montgomery County in the June 26 Democratic primary. Krishanti Vignarajah, a former adviser to first lady Michelle Obama, lives in Gaithersburg. State Sen. Richard Madaleno of Kensington is also running.

Two other Montgomery County women are running as lieutenant governor: Susan Turnbull of Bethesda, running mate of Ben Jealous; and Julie Verratti, running mate of Alec Ross.

Maryland hasn’t elected a Montgomery County resident to governor in decades. Martin O’Malley was born and raised in the county, but he was elected as a Baltimore resident.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker issued a statement, which said in part:

“As we look forward, we recognize that Kevin Kamenetz, like all the candidates for Maryland Governor, made an important decision when he chose his running mate. The most important part of that deliberation is choosing someone to continue on in your absence. With that in mind, and with respect for the tough decisions for all involved, we welcome Valerie Ervin’s voice to the discussion on how to move Maryland forward as a gubernatorial candidate. We look forward to a positive and productive exchange.”

Original post: Former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin announced her plans to run for governor over a series of tweets Thursday afternoon.

The Baltimore Sun had earlier reported she would take the place of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who died last week.

The paper also said Ervin selected a former Baltimore County school board member, Marisol Johnson, as a running mate.

A website — http://www.valerieformaryland.com/ — has become active.

Ervin was served on the Montgomery County Council for more than seven years. And like Johnson, she also was a school board member, serving in Montgomery County for two years.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

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