Ervin Announces She’ll Run for Governor

Ervin Announces She’ll Run for Governor

Former Montgomery County Council member to replace deceased running mate Kevin Kamenetz at the top of the ticket

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Valerie Ervin

Valerie Ervin is now running for governor.

The former Montgomery County Council member announced Thursday she will continue the campaign of Kevin Kamenetz, who died suddenly of cardiac arrest May 10.

Ervin, 61, filed paperwork Thursday at the Maryland Board of Elections office in Annapolis to run for governor. She selected former Baltimore County school board member Marisol Johnson as her running mate.

After Kamenetz’s death, Ervin was permitted by state law to decide whether to run for governor herself, appoint someone to run in Kamenetz’s place or discontinue the campaign.

“I’m announcing a run for Governor of Maryland because I truly believe in the vision of Kevin and I’s [sic] campaign, and I want to take it forward,” Ervin said in a statement released to press Thursday afternoon. “This campaign is about the future of Maryland. I believe in a Maryland where working families come before corporate profits, where we help every kid achieve their full potential, and we all can thrive regardless of where we were born, the color of our skin, or the size of our bank account.”

Political observers have been questioning whether Ervin can legally access the more than $2 million Kamenetz raised for his campaign before she joined his ticket in February. Ervin told The Washington Post on Thursday, “I’m getting legal advice about my options regarding the two accounts we shared and my own account. I entered his campaign apparatus, and so I would like legal counsel to guide me through the questions that need to be asked.”

As of mid-April, Ervin had about $50,000 in her own campaign account and the slate committee that she and Kamentez formed had about $1,000.

However, Jared DeMarinis, director of the state Board of Election’s campaign finance division, told Bethesda Beat last week that Kamenetz's campaign funds couldn't be transferred directly to another candidate. That money, which becomes “surplus funds,” could be donated to charity, or a local or state Democratic central committee, according to DeMarinis.

In 2015, Ervin dropped out of the race for the 8th Congressional District seat, saying at the time she wasn’t able to raise enough money “to compete on a level playing field” with the other candidates in the race, which was ultimately won by Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park.

Prior to joining Kamenetz’s campaign, Ervin was executive director at the New York-based Center for Working Families.

Ervin served one and three quarters terms as a council member representing Silver Spring-based District 5 before she resigned in 2013 to take the position with the Center for Working Families. She also served on the Montgomery County Board of Education from 2004 to 2006.

Ervin joins a crowded field vying to win the Democratic nomination. Other candidates are state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Kensington), Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, former Michelle Obama adviser Krishanti Vignarajah, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, tech entrepreneur Alec Ross and Baltimore attorney James Shea.

Editor's note: The initial version of this story said Ervin previously ran for the 6th Congressional District. It was in fact the 8th Congressional District in Maryland. The line has been corrected.

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