Valerie Ervin Dropping Out of Md. Governor's, Endorsing Rushern Baker

The Maryland gubernatorial candidate who decided to run for the Democratic nomination after her running mate suddenly died is pulling out of the race and endorsing Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker.

Valerie Ervin, a former president of the Montgomery County Council, had been Kevin Kamenetz's running mate before he died in May following cardiac arrest.

When she decided to run, she chose Marisol Johnson as her running mate.

Ervin said the decision stop her campaign was clear after she was not allowed to use money raised by her former running mate and lost her battle to have ballots reprinted with her new ticket on them.

“It was going to be very difficult for people to find us,” she said.

State elections officials said their names couldn't be added to the ballot because there wasn't time to reprint ballots or put stickers on them with time for proper testing. Instead, they said they would put notices in voting booths about Kamenetz's death, and a vote for Kamenetz and Ervin would count for Ervin and Johnson.

A judge sided with the elections officials' decision.

Ervin and Johnson announced their support of Baker Wednesday at an event in Langley Park.

“Kevin passed the baton to me to make sure that our plans for Maryland would succeed, and today I pass that baton on to Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker,” Ervin said.

Ervin and Johnson were a progressive ticket, but chose not to endorse former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who is also progressive. Ervin claims his influence cost her her job with the Working Families Party, an organization that endorses Jealous.

“The character that he is showing voters in Maryland is not the character of the next governor that I would want to support,” Ervin said.

Jealous' campaign released a statement that says in part, “Ben Jealous remains focused on the big issues facing our state, like the economy, education and healthcare. Nothing about today will change that."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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