Former Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin confirmed Thursday she will join the race for Maryland governor after the death of candidate Kevin Kamenetz.
Kamenetz, who served as Baltimore County executive, died last week following a cardiac arrest. He was 60 years old.
Ervin had been his running mate.
“I’m announcing a run for governor of Maryland because I truly believe in the vision of Kevin and I’s campaign and I want to take it forward," she said in a statement. "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.”
Ervin's running mate will be small business owner Marisol Johnson of Baltimore County. She is an immigrant from El Salvador, mother of four and former school board member.
Kamenetz entered entered the gubernatorial race last September. He served as county executive of Maryland's third-largest jurisdiction since December 2010.
Following his death, the Maryland Board of Elections said Ervin had the right to either nominate a successor to Kamenetz or nominate herself as the candidate and designate a new running mate, as long as neither had already filed as a candidate. Thursday was the deadline to file.
Ervin becomes one of seven candidates on the ballot for the Democratic nomination. The Democratic primary field also includes former NAACP President Ben Jealous, state Sen. Richard Madaleno, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, entrepreneur Alec Ross, former aide to Michelle Obama Krish Vignarajah and lawyer Jim Shea.
The first absentee ballots will be sent out Saturday. The elections board will send out a supplement to the original ballot, explaining the change.
The elections board said they are researching whether funds raised by the Kamenetz campaign can be donated to another candidate.
A source close to Baker's campaign said he would welcome Ervin to the race.
The primary election is June 26.