Former Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin exited the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District on Thursday after less than three months, citing an inability to raise money.
On her campaign’s Facebook page, Ervin told supporters Thursday morning that fundraising is a sign of a campaign’s viability. “Not your ideas about how to serve your constituents, not your track record of service, not even the groundswell of grassroots support — but your ability to raise money. And unfortunately, I just haven’t been able to raise enough,” Ervin said.
To campaign, Ervin left her job as executive director of the Center for Working Families, a nonprofit agency that promotes economic and social justice issues, and she indicated that she couldn’t afford an extended period away from paid employment to pursue the race.
“I’ve been able to work hard and achieve the middle-class dream. I’ve been able to buy a home, take care of my needs, and to put away a little for a rainy day and retirement. But like many of you, I need to work to keep up,” she said. “Unfortunately, our current political system doesn’t make much room for everyday Americans like me — especially women, people of color, and the non-wealthy — to compete on a level playing field.”
Ervin’s announcement was first reported by Bethesda Beat.
Political insiders estimate that it will take from $1 million to $3 million to run a competitive race. Ervin’s departure comes two months after two other contenders, state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) and former Marriott executive and news anchor Kathleen Matthews each reported raising more than a half-million dollars in the race to succeed Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is running for the U.S. Senate.
Ervin was not required to file a second-quarter report. The third-quarter deadline for filing a financial report is Sept. 30.
Ervin served two years on Montgomery’s Board of Education before becoming the first African American woman elected to the County Council, in 2006. She represented District 5, which includes Kensington, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Wheaton.
She looked seriously at a 2013 candidacy for county executive but backed away when it became clear that incumbent Isiah Leggett (D) and former executive Doug Duncan (D) would command the lion’s share of available cash. She subsequently resigned from the council to take the post with Center for Working Families.
Other Democratic candidates are Dels. Kumar P. Barve (Montgomery) and Ana Sol Gutierrez (Montgomery), former Obama White House aide Will Jawando, and David Anderson, a Johns Hopkins adjunct professor and nonprofit executive.