By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, jwright@afro.com

As Valerie Ervin is being encouraged by Prince George’s County leaders to run for governor, others are wondering who she is.

Ervin, a former Montgomery County Council member, was running with Kevin Kamenetz as his lieutenant governor’s pick for the June 26 Democratic Party primary.

Valerie Ervin is facing the decision of whether to run for governor following the death of her running mate, Kevin Kamenetz. (Courtesy Photo)

Kamenetz died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest on May 10. He was 60.

As a result of Kamenetz’s death, some believe that Ervin should run for governor with the Kamenetz organization behind her.

If Ervin were to run, and win, she would be the first Black, female governor in the history of the United States, and with her experience and the potential of a history making election, many Prince George’s County leaders are urging her to run.

“Kevin Kamenetz chose Valerie because she has the intelligence, heart and integrity to lead this state-he knew that she could step up to be governor should the need occur. There’s no one better to carry on Kevin’s legacy, Former U.S. Representative Donna Edwards, who is a candidate for Prince George’s County Executive, said in a statement.

“It’s her time to lead Maryland and I am all in, if she is all in.”

Nicole Williams is a candidate for the Maryland House Delegates in District 22. Williams told the AFRO that Ervin should run for governor.

“Maryland is considered a progressive state and yet there are no women who are in elected statewide offices and there are no women in the congressional delegation,” Williams said. “Ervin is well-known and is from Montgomery County. We need more women to run for statewide office and put a crack in that ceiling.”

Former District 24 Delegate Tiffany Alston, who is running for the Maryland Senate, tweeted “Let’s elect Valerie Ervin the first Black woman Governor ever in U.S. history”. However, some Prince Georgians aren’t so sure Ervin should run.

David Grogan is a candidate for Prince George’s county sheriff. Grogan told the AFRO that he’s not familiar with Ervin.

“Most people I know have never heard of her,” Grogan said. “She needs a lot more time to develop name recognition and name recognition is half of the battle in a campaign.”

A spokesman for the Kamenetz-Ervin campaign told the AFRO that no decision has been made on what Ervin will do at press time.