By Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFRO

In the wake of the death of Maryland gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kamenetz, his running mate, Valerie Ervin, is being urged to take his place on the ballot and according to state law she only has until May 17 to make a decision.

Former Rep.  Donna Edwards (D-Md.) wants Ervin to enter Maryland’s June 26 Democratic primary that already has six contenders- that include former NAACP President Ben Jealous, and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. Edwards is among three Democratic candidates running for Baker’s job.

A photo featured on Valerie Ervin’s Twitter featuring she and former Congresswoman Donna Edwards. (Twitter Photo)

“Last week, our state’s leadership suffered a terrible blow in the losing Kevin Kamenetz. His decades of faithful public service has had an indelible impact on the State of Maryland, and thousands of Baltimore County residents have benefitted from his great acts of service, “ Edwards said in a statement. “Now, the time has come for a decision, and I couldn’t be more proud to urge my childhood friend and political sister, Valerie Ervin, to pick up where he left off and run for the Maryland governorship.”

Both of their fathers served together in the Air Force.

“From her time as an active parent in the community to her leadership on the Board of Education in Montgomery County to her leadership as President of the Montgomery County Council, Valerie is ready to lead our state. She’s fought tooth and nail for working families in the labor movement, and as a national leader building coalitions.”

While Edwards said there is “no one better to carry on Kevin’s legacy,” Baker also issued a statement highlighting his commonality with Kamenetz and praising the Baltimore County Executive on May 10, the morning after all the candidates appeared on a gubernatorial forum at Bowie State University.

“I had just watched hours earlier Kevin passionately and eloquently share his goals, vision, and ideas for the State of Maryland,” Baker said. “Over the past seven years, we worked together on critical pieces of legislation and shared goals for improving the education of Maryland children, achieving quality health care for all the state’s residents, and creating jobs and opportunity for our constituents.”