Luwanda Jenkins (left) and state Sen. Richard Madaleno. Image via press handout.

Montgomery County state Sen. Richard Madaleno has joined the running-mate announcement sweepstakes, declaring Baltimore-native businesswoman and former O’Malley administration aide Luwanda Jenkins as his lieutenant governor pick.

Jenkins, 55, most recently served as CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s LEADERship program. Before that, she worked for the Cordish Companies as vice president of community relations and diversity, and as chief of staff to the president at Coppin State University.

Her state government experience includes five years serving as former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s special secretary of minority affairs.

“She’s spent years improving lives and creating a better Maryland for all of us,” Madaleno wrote in a message to supporters on Sunday afternoon. “That’s why she’s the perfect choice to join our team to do the same as Maryland’s next governor and lieutenant governor. Together, we’ll bring progressive leadership that delivers results back to Maryland.”

He made the announcement official this morning at a presser at Western High School, where Jenkins attended.

“My entire career has been about leveraging opportunity to make a better quality of life for Marylanders. I’m excited to travel across the state and share our ticket’s plan for action and engage Marylanders in how to make our state better,” Jenkins said in a statement.

A state budgeting expert and the first openly gay lawmaker ever elected to the Maryland State Senate, Madaleno represents Montgomery County’s 18th District, which includes pieces of Bethesda, Kensington, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase and Wheaton.

He announced his candidacy for governor last May. For a chance to beat incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan in November, he’s facing off against Baltimore tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, former NAACP president Ben Jealous, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, local defense attorney Jim Shea, former first lady Michelle Obama’s policy director Krish Vignarajah and perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe.

Jenkins is one of four announced lieutenant governor candidates in the primary. Jealous tapped former Democratic National Committee vice chair Susan Turnbull months ago, Shea last week picked Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott for his ticket, and Ross, as of this morning, has chosen Silver Spring craft brewer and small business policy specialist Julie Verratti.

Kamenetz, Baker, Vignarajah and Jaffe have until Feb. 27 to announce their running mates, if they wish to remain eligible for the June 26 primary.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...