Valerie Ervin faces Thursday deadline on decision to run for Maryland governor after death of running mate Kamenetz

Valerie Ervin is facing a deadline of 5 p.m. Thursday to decide whether she wants to run for governor in place of her deceased running mate, Kevin Kamenetz.

Ervin had been running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kamenetz, who died suddenly on May 10.

Under Maryland law, Ervin has the option to run for governor herself and name a lieutenant governor running mate, or remain as a candidate for lieutenant governor with a new partner running for governor.

State law allows her until the fifth business day after Kamenetz's death — which is Thursday — to file paperwork to change the ticket.

Ervin has not granted interviews or spoken pubicly about her decision. But she’s been getting encouragement to run, including from longtime friend Donna F. Edwards, a former congresswoman now running for Prince George’s County executive.

Ervin, who lives in Silver Spring, is a former member of Montgomery County’s Board of Education and County Council. She’s spent most of her career working for unions and left a job with the Working Families Party, which advocates for progressive issues, when she joined the Kamenetz campaign.

When Kamenetz announced Ervin as his running mate in February, he said Ervin would be capable of running state government, which he said was a top priority for him.

“I know that she can govern from day one,” Kamenetz said at the time.

If Ervin stays in the race, she will be in a crowded Democratic field that also includes Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, former NAACP leader Ben Jealous, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., author former State Department employee Alec Ross, Baltimore lawyer Jim Shea and Krish Vignarajah, who was a policy director for Michelle Obama.

The winner of the June primary election will face incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November’s general election.

Kamenetz died of sudden cardiac arrest early in the morning on May 10. He was serving as Baltimore County executive at the time, and the County Council has not named a replacement. County Administrative Officer Fred Homan is serving as acting county executive.

pwood@baltsun.com

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