Ervin as­sails Jeal­ous, backs Baker

End­ing cam­paign, she calls for­mer NAACP head dis­hon­est, a ‘car­pet­bag­ger’

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Michael Dresser mdresser@balt­sun.com

Va­lerie Ervin of­fi­cially ended her gu­ber­na­to­rial cam­paign at a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day in Lan­g­ley Park where she an­nounced her sup­port for Rush­ern L. Baker III and crit­i­cized the char­ac­ter of his lead­ing ri­val, Ben Jeal­ous.

Ervin said she de­cided to end her last-minute cam­paign a day be­fore early vot­ing be­gins across Mary­land af­ter she could not get her ticket with run­ning mate Marisol Johnson listed on state bal­lots.

Ervin had been the run­ning mate of Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Kamenetz, a lead­ing Demo­cratic can­di­date for gov­er­nor who died May 10. The for­mer Mont­gomery County coun­cil­woman said she lacked the time and money to ef­fec­tively cam­paign to win the June 26 Demo­cratic pri­mary elec­tion.

Her de­ci­sion to sup­port Baker, the Prince Ge­orge’s County ex­ec­u­tive, comes at a time when polls show him sta­tis­ti­cally tied as a front-run­ner with Jeal­ous, a for­mer na­tional NAACP pres­i­dent.

Ac­cord­ing to a new poll of reg­is­tered likely vot­ers for The Bal­ti­more Sun and the Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more, both Baker and Jeal­ous would re­ceive about 16 per­cent of Prince Ge­orge’s County Ex­ec­u­tive Rush­ern L. Baker III, cen­ter, speaks Wed­nes­day in Lan­g­ley Park af­ter re­ceiv­ing the en­dorse­ment of Va­lerie Ervin, sec­ond from left. the vote in the Demo­cratic con­test.

In ad­di­tion to her en­dorse­ment, Ervin’s back­ing could come with ad­di­tional money for Baker. Ervin re­ported hav­ing $164,000 of cash in her cam­paign ac­count.

She has the op­tion of trans­fer­ring up to $12,000 to Baker’s cam­paign — $6,000 to Baker’s ac­count and $6,000 to the sep­a­rate cam­paign com­mit­tee of his run­ning mate, Eliz­a­beth Em­bry. She also could leave the money in the bank for a fu­ture po­lit­i­cal race, do­nate it to char­ity, re­turn it to donors, award schol­ar­ships or trans­fer it to the fund that pro­vides pub­lic fi­nanc­ing for gu­ber­na­to­rial cam­paigns.

At the news con­fer­ence, Ervin did not ad­dress the fu­ture of her cam­paign funds.

In­stead, she ex­pressed dis­dain for Jeal­ous, whom she blames for get­ting her fired from a job with a pro­gres­sive ad­vo­cacy group when she joined the Kamenetz ticket.

Her feel­ings are an about-face from last year, when she tweeted that Jeal­ous was a pro­gres­sive cham­pion of work­ing peo­ple.

Asked what has changed, Ervin said: “Ev­ery­thing’s changed.”

She re­fused to say whether she would join in a dis­play of Demo­cratic unity if Jeal­ous wins the pri­mary and goes on to chal­lenge Repub­li­can Gov. Larry Ho­gan.

Ervin ac­cused Jeal­ous of run­ning a dis­hon­est cam­paign.

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

Ervin con­trasted the Cal­i­for­nia-born Jeal­ous, whom she called a “car­pet­bag­ger,” with Baker, whom she called a “stal­wart son of Mary­land.”

Jeal­ous cam­paign man­ager Kevin Harris shot back with a dig at Ervin’s ori­gins.

“It’s ironic some­one from New Mex­ico would al­lege an­other can­di­date is a car­pet­bag­ger, but what else would you ex­pect from a per­son who lies about how and why they lost their job?” Harris said. “Rush­ern Baker must be pretty des­per­ate to want that kind of sup­port."

Baker in­di­cated that if he wins in Novem­ber, there would be places for Ervin and Johnson, a for­mer Bal­ti­more County school board mem­ber, in his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The county ex­ec­u­tive praised the two women for their ex­pe­ri­ence with pub­lic bud­gets and, with­out nam­ing him, took a swipe at Jeal­ous’ spend­ing pro­pos­als.

“How do you pay for that?” Baker said. “What are you will­ing to cut?”

The cam­paign stopped in Bal­ti­more as well to rally cam­paign work­ers at their new North Howard Street of­fice. Baker and his run­ning mate, Eliz­a­beth Em­bry, ap­peared with many Bal­ti­more-area elected of­fi­cials and Demo­cratic lu­mi­nar­ies, in­clud­ing for­mer Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley.

BRIAN WITTE/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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