Defense attorney Russell Neverdon

Defense attorney Russell Neverdon, 46, is running for Baltimore state's attorney. (Amy Davis / / Baltimore Sun / September 4, 2013)

Defense attorney Russell A. Neverdon Sr. announced Monday that he will run as an independent as he seeks the job of Baltimore State's Attorney.

Neverdon, who had previously said he intended to run as a Democrat, now plans to bypass this June's primary. He filed papers to switch his affiliation last week, according to the State Board of Elections website.

In a statement, Neverdon said he was making the switch so that a greater number of people would have a chance to participate in the election.

“We cannot afford for the political process to maintain status quo of only a segment of the city being able to vote,” Neverdon said in the statement posted to his website. “This election is about providing the citizens of Baltimore a real choice with real solutions for our very real public safety and crime and justice issues.”

Neverdon's move comes after campaign finance reports showed he lagged far behind incumbent Gregg L. Bernstein and another challenger, former prosecutor Marilyn Mosby.

As of mid-January Bernstein had more than $340,000 cash on hand in his bid for a second term, while Mosby had raised more than $100,000 in six months. Neverdon had raised just $17,000, of which only $2,000 remained at the time of the disclosures.

In an inteview after the campaign finance statements were released, Neverdon said he had hoped to raise more money but that he remained "jovial" about the campaign.

"I'm dealing with a two-headed beast," he said of facing two well-funded opponents. But Neverdon's campaign manager Syieda Penn said Monday that the decision to run as an independent had "very little to do" with the fundraising numbers.