Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s tragic and untimely death has shocked Maryland politics and has upended the gubernatorial race – a race that Kamenetz was polling as one of the leading Democratic contenders to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in the November general election.
Maryland’s Constitution leaves no ambiguity about gubernatorial vacancies: If there is a gubernatorial vacancy after the filing deadline when one or more governor or lieutenant governor unit files for nomination, the ticket’s lieutenant governor is left with a few choices.
According to § 5-904 of the Maryland Election Law code:
- If a candidate for Governor dies, withdraws the candidacy, or becomes disqualified for any reason after the deadline for filing a certificate of candidacy for a primary election under § 5-303 of this title, the remaining candidate for Lieutenant Governor of that unit may:
- (i) designate the Lieutenant Governor candidate as the successor candidate for Governor and appoint a successor candidate for Lieutenant Governor; or
Consequently, Kamenetz’s running mate, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, can succeed Kamenetz on the ticket, or she can designate a gubernatorial successor and remain on the ticket as lieutenant governor.
No information has been released on Ervin’s plans.
While politics remain a distant afterthought for many in the midst of Kamenetz’s death, questions inevitably will be asked about the process moving forward; and the Maryland Constitution provides a clear-cut contingency plan.
Please offer a prayer for Kevin Kamenetz’s family, friends and professional staff.