Valerie Ervin, right, announces her bid to run for governor on Thursday at the Maryland State Board of Elections in Annapolis. Ervin was the running mate of Kevin Kamenetz, who died suddenly last week. She chose Marisol A. Johnson, left, as her running mate. (Brian Witte/AP)

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin on Thursday tapped former Baltimore County school board member Marisol A. Johnson as her running mate, forming the second gubernatorial ticket in the crowded Democratic primary that features two women of color.

Johnson, 37, is the first Latino to hold public office in Baltimore County. Then-Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) appointed her to the local school board in 2013. She served four years — the last two as vice chair — and resigned last year to prepare a run for County Council.

She withdrew from that race in February.

Johnson, who attended Towson University, owns and operates an insurance company in Baltimore County. She was born in El Salvador and adopted by a couple that raised her in Baltimore County. During her time on the school board, Johnson advocated for a policy designed to provide equity in education for all students.

Ervin had been running for lieutenant governor on a ticket headed by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. His unexpected death last week from cardiac arrest left Ervin with the option to seek the gubernatorial nomination instead and choose her own running mate.

“Marisol and I understand that the journey is not going to be easy,” Ervin said in an interview Thursday. “But we’re up for the challenge.”

Johnson was a strong supporter of the Kamenetz-Ervin ticket. The night before Kamenetz died, Johnson hosted a meet-and-greet for Ervin in Baltimore County.

“I am thrilled to join Val in this campaign for Maryland’s future,” Johnson said in a statement. “As a small-business owner, I believe strong public schools, universal healthcare and pre-K and good mass transit are essential to attracting the best businesses to our state.”