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Gansler to announce Jolene Ivey as running mate in Maryland’s race for governor

Prince George’s County Del. Jolene Ivey during a county delegation meeting Jan. 13, 2012, in Annapolis, Md. (Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) is expected to name Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s) as his gubernatorial running mate, according to two people familiar with her selection.

Bob Wheelock, a spokesman for Gansler, would not confirm the pick but said Gansler plans to announce his choice of a 2014 lieutenant governor candidate by early next week. Ivey did not return a phone call Friday afternoon.

The people familiar with Gansler’s selection requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for the campaign.

The selection of Ivey, 52, could help make Gansler more competitive in Prince George’s County, the home base of his chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D).

Ivey is chairman of the Prince George’s delegation in the House of Delegates and the wife of Glenn F. Ivey, the former state’s attorney from Prince George’s. And the Iveys are close friends with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who has not endorsed a candidate in the governor’s race.

But Gansler’s pick defies traditional geographic considerations in Maryland politics. Gubernatorial candidates anchored in the Washington region typically choose running mates from the Baltimore region, and vice versa. Gansler lives in Montgomery County, where he previously served as the state’s attorney.

“It’s clearly an attempt by Gansler to nullify Anthony Brown’s advantage in Prince George’s,” said Donald F. Norris, chairman of the public policy department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “But it makes it more difficult to appeal to the Baltimore region with an all-Washington ticket.”

Prince George’s is home to more Democratic voters — 447,896 as of last month — than any other jurisdiction in Maryland. Montgomery County is second, with 350,283, followed by Baltimore City and Baltimore County, both with just fewer than 300,000.

Gansler’s advisers said a month ago that he had narrowed his search for a running mate to a handful of names and was likely to announce a selection by the end of October.

Ivey was among several elected officials from Baltimore and Prince George’s who were believed to be under consideration at the time, along with Baltimore Comptroller Joan M. Pratt (D) and Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. (D-Baltimore).

Gansler had also told associates that he was looking at Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman and national NAACP leader, as well as someone with no political experience: Wes Moore, a young African American author, businessman and Army veteran from Baltimore.

Ivey, who was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2006, has focused on issues related to children and families during her tenure in the General Assembly. In recent years, she was supportive of efforts to legalize same-sex marriage and authorize a casino in Prince George’s.

Earlier this year, Ivey was a proponent of Baker’s effort to take control of the Prince George’s school system. Baker had helped her become chairman of the county’s delegation in Annapolis the year before.

Outside the legislature, Ivey, the mother of five boys, is a regular contributor to the NPR talk show “Tell Me More” on parenting issues, and she is co-founder of Mocha Moms Inc., a national support group for at-home mothers of color.

She was born in the District and has lived in Cheverly since 1994. She is a member of the Cheverly United Methodist Church. Ivey holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Towson University and a master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland. Earlier in her career, she worked as a television producer at WMAR-TV in Baltimore and as press secretary to then-Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.).

Ivey will be required to give up her seat in the legislature next year to run with Gansler.

Gansler faces a highly competitive primary in June against Brown and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery).

Brown named his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D), in June. Mizeur has yet to fill out her ticket.

Among Republican hopefuls, only Harford County Executive David R. Craig has named his running mate. In July, Craig selected Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (R-Talbot).

The GOP race also includes Del. Ronald A. George (Anne Arundel) and Charles County businessman Charles Lollar.

Miranda S. Spivack and Ovetta Wiggins contributed to this report.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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