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One week after the sudden and tragic death of Democratic gubernatorial contender Kevin Kamenetz, his running mate, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, says she plans to run in his place.

Ervin shared the news on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. Her campaign has already set up a website.

She also made it official with a statement announcing her candidacy (via WAMU-FM): “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. 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.”

For her running mate, Ervin has chosen Marisol Johnson, a former Baltimore County school board member. Johnson had initially filed to run for an open Baltimore County Council seat, but withdrew in late February, according to state election board records.

Ervin had until the end of the day to decide whether to file for the governor’s race. She was the lieutenant governor pick of Kamenetz, the two-term Baltimore County executive who passed away suddenly last Thursday morning after going into cardiac arrest. He was 60 years old. Several polls had him in second place behind Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

More than 1,000 people reportedly paid their respects at Kamenetz’s funeral on May 11. He is survived by his wife, Jill, and two sons, Karson and Dylan.

Ervin joins a field of nine Democratic gubernatorial candidates. A couple of them welcomed her into the fold on Thursday afternoon.

I would like to welcome Valerie to the gubernatorial race. I know that we all share a dedication to making progress in our state, and I look forward to seeing Valerie on the campaign trail.

— Jim Shea (@SheaforMD) May 17, 2018

With that in mind, and with respect for the tough decisions for all involved, we welcome Valerie Ervin’s voice to the discussion on how to move Maryland forward as a gubernatorial candidate. We look forward to a positive and productive exchange.

— Rushern Baker (@RushernBaker) May 17, 2018

Ervin tweeted a list of her top three priorities in her platform:

She has roughly six weeks to make her case to Democratic voters. The primary election to pick the party’s nominee is June 26.

As for the more than $2 million in campaign donations that Kamenetz had collected (as of January), Ervin told The Washington Post today that she’s “getting legal advice” about her options to potentially access his war chest. However, a state elections board official told Bethesda Magazine last week that she won’t be able to dip into that pile of funds.

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Ethan McLeod

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...