Former Maryland gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin formally announced Wednesday she is dropping out the race and will now support Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III in this month’s primary election.
The winner of the June 26 Democratic primary will face Rep. Gov. Larry Hogan, who’s running unopposed in the primary.
“This is the to ticket with experience to lead on day one,” Ervin said outside the Takoma Langley Transit Center in Montgomery County. “This is the ticket to beat Larry Hogan in November.”
Ervin spoke during a press conference alongside former running mate Marisol Johnson, Baker and his running mate, Elizabeth Embry, and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett.
Ervin, of Montgomery County, said Baker’s experience to manage a county with nearly one million people helps on being able to oversee the state.
Among her recommendations to improve the state were restructuring the Maryland Board of Election laws, enhancing public schools and creating 21st century jobs.
Ervin, initially the running mate of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, took up his gubernatorial bid after his sudden death last month. But her campaign was hamstrung when a judge rejected her request to reprint ballots and place stickers on them before the primary election.
Baker said when Ervin and Johnson decided to formally seek the Democratic nomination for governor and lieutenant governor, “it made the debates more interesting … because they put out front the issues that affect Marylanders every day.”
Baker said the progressive agenda from Ervin and Johnson, who both served on school boards, remain different from one of his opponents he didn’t name. But it was a shot at former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who remains close with Baker in recent polls.
“The difference between their progressive agenda and our opponent’s is that they’ve actually done the work. They haven’t just talked about it,” Baker said.
In a Gonzales Research and Media Services poll released Tuesday, Jealous leads among Democratic primary voters in the Baltimore region.
Baker said Johnson could help bring those supporters in Baltimore County to his ticket. About 22 percent of Democratic voters remain undecided in the primary, according to the Gonzales poll.
“This is a signal where Kevin [Kamanetz] would want the campaign to go,” Baker said. “I think this is going to help us with voters in Baltimore County … and especially Montgomery County, so we feel good about this.”
Early voting in the primary election begins Thursday and ends June 21.
The other six candidates in the gubernatorial race include state Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr. of Montgomery County; tech entrepreneur Alec Ross; Baltimore attorney Jim Shea; Krish Vignarajah, onetime policy director for former first lady Michelle Obama; James Hugh Jones II of Baltimore City; and Ralph Jaffe of Baltimore County.