Gansler names Del. Jolene Ivey as running mate

BELTSVILLE — Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler on Monday named Del. Jolene Ivey his running mate in his bid for the Democratic nomination in the governor’s race.

Del. Jolene Ivey, D-Prince George’s, speaks at a news conference after being named Doug Gansler’s running mate.

Ivey, 52, is a two-term delegate who represents Prince George’s County.

“I am proud to be the first African-American woman to run for lieutenant governor in our state,” Ivey said. “When we win, history will be made when I become the first Democratic African-American woman lieutenant governor in this entire nation’s history.”

Gansler was dogged with questions from reporters at the announcement in Beltsville about a report in The Washington Post that cited documents indicating Gansler ordered Maryland State Police troopers to drive him around with lights and sirens on, and to speed and run red lights on the way to appointments.

“It’s a great day for Maryland,” Gansler said, as he squeezed through a crowd of journalists who asked him about the report on his way into a waiting SUV after the news conference. “It’s a great day for Jolene Ivey, a great day for the women of Maryland and Prince George’s County.”

Gansler issued a statement on Sunday, saying the accusations were part of a political attack. He said a few of the 18 troopers who provided him protection “felt my backseat driving made them uncomfortable — for that I apologize.”

During Ivey’s speech at High Point High School, her alma mater in Prince George’s County, she highlighted some common goals she shares with Gansler. She also expressed support for raising the state’s minimum wage, preferably in the upcoming legislative session in January.

“We both understand the need to be a voice for the voiceless, from expanding pre-K for kids to helping Maryland families keep their homes, which is a real issue in Prince George’s County,” Ivey said. “We’re both committed to doing something about the inequalities in our public schools.”

Race has had a prominent role in the Democratic primary campaign. Gansler made headlines in August when The Washington Post reported he told campaign volunteers that his rival, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, was relying too heavily on race in his bid to become Maryland’s first African-American governor.

On Monday, Ivey said it would be Gansler’s campaign that would make history, but with a focus on making the state a better place.

“Our ticket won’t just make history,” Ivey said. “We’ll make a difference in the lives of people. That’s what Doug is about. That’s what I’m about. That’s what this campaign is about. You, the people of Maryland.”

Ivey has served in Maryland’s House of Delegates since 2007. She has been a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Her selection gives Gansler’s campaign strong representation from the heavily populated suburbs of the nation’s capital. Gansler is from neighboring Montgomery County. Gansler had indicated he would choose someone from either Prince George’s County or Baltimore, Maryland’s other vote-rich jurisdiction that candidates from the Washington suburbs often consider when looking for a running mate to help balance their ticket. Both jurisdictions have large African-American populations.

Ivey, of Cheverly, is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, the Women’s Caucus and the Democratic Caucus. Last year, she sponsored a constitutional amendment that requires politicians found guilty of a felony or specified misdemeanors to be removed from office at conviction rather than sentencing. Voters approved the constitutional amendment last year.

Brown has chosen Howard County Executive Ken Ulman to be his running mate. Del. Heather Mizeur, of Montgomery County, also is seeking the nomination. She has not yet announced a running mate.

Maryland’s primary is scheduled for June 24.

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