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Board: Primary ballot will have ‘Kamenetz’ as gubernatorial candidate, not ‘Ervin’

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz at Sparrows Point in 2014. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Then-Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz at Sparrows Point in 2014. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Death will not take Kevin Kamenetz’s name off the Democratic primary ballot for Maryland governor — nor does time permit his former running mate, Valerie Ervin, to have her name added to the list of candidates for chief executive, the State Board of Elections said Friday.

In papers filed with Maryland’s top court, the board wrote “there is not sufficient time to reprint ballots in advance of the primary election” June 26.

The board “will work instead with local boards of election to implement appropriate measures to notify voters of the change in candidacy, the procedure to be used by voters to vote for the successor candidates, and the procedure to be used by local boards to conduct the canvass,” Assistant Maryland Attorney General Julia Doyle Bernhardt wrote on the board’s behalf.

But Ervin, in a statement Friday, said “after speaking with the Maryland attorney general” that reports on whose name will appear on the ballot are “unfounded.”

“We have asked for, and are awaiting, a final decision on this matter,” she said. “I have filed to be the next governor of Maryland, and we will spend the next six weeks fighting to earn the vote of every Marylander who believes in our vision for the state’s future.”

Ervin, a former Montgomery County Council member, has chosen former Baltimore County School Board member Marisol A. Johnson as her running mate.

“Voters in Maryland will decide this race, plain and simple,” Ervin said.

Kamenetz, the Baltimore County executive, died from cardiac arrest at age 60 on May 10. Ervin announced Thursday she would seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

The election board’s filing with the Court of Appeals was in response to a request from Baltimore voters that the high court reconsider – in light of Kamenetz’s death and possible removal from the ballot — its May 2 order leaving former state senator Nathaniel T. Oaks’ name on the primary election ballot despite his effort to withdraw his name after pleading guilty to fraud in March.

The voters, from Oaks’ 41st legislative district, said the order should be reconsidered “if the ballots for the Democratic primary are altered as a result of Mr. Kamenetz’s death.”

The Court of Appeals denied without comment Friday the voters’ reconsideration request, again leaving Oaks’ name on the ballot. Judge Shirley M. Watts was the sole dissenter.

The seven-judge high court had issued its order after hearing the board’s argument that strict statutory deadlines for removal from the ballot had passed before receiving Oaks’ withdrawal request. Watts and Judge Michele D. Hotten dissented.

Attorney H. Mark Stichel represented the voters seeking the removal of Oaks’ name from the ballot. Stichel is with Astrachan Gunst Thomas PC in Baltimore.

Oaks resigned from the Senate on March 28, one day before pleading guilty in federal court to wire fraud and honest services wire fraud in connection with a phony development scheme he participated in during his time in the House of Delegates. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

On April 30, Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Jill P. Carter, a Democrat, to replace Oaks’ in the Senate.

The Court of Appeals issued its order – and denied the motion for reconsideration – in Linda H. Lamone v. Nancy Lewin et al., No. 85 September Term 2017.

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