- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2018

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a Democratic candidate running to be Maryland’s next governor, died early Thursday morning of cardiac arrest, county officials confirmed. He was 60 years old.

Mr. Kamenetz, who served two terms as county executive, awoke at 2 a.m. not feeling well and was transported by ambulance to University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.

Kamenetz was at his home in Owings Mills, asleep, when he awoke at about 2 a.m. and complained of feeling ill,” police said in a statement. “He was transported by the Garrison Fire Station’s Medic 19 to St. Joseph, where doctors pronounced him deceased at 3:22 a.m.”

Survivors include his wife, Jill, and their two sons, Dylan and Karson.

“I received a text from someone who works in the county and to be totally honest I thought, is this a joke?” Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said to reporters in a press conference Thursday morning. “Because no one thought anything like this could happen, I mean, Kevin is a very healthy and energetic person.”

Mr. Kamenetz was one of seven candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose Republican Gov. Larry Hogan this fall, The Associated Press reported.

“I can’t even believe this happened,” his running mate, Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, told The Baltimore Sun early Thursday.

Mr. Hogan, Mr. Kamenetz’s Republican rival, said in a statement that he and the first lady were “shocked and grieved,” adding that “our prayers go out to his family and many loved ones this morning.”

The Democratic primary is set for June 26.

“All of us at the Maryland Democratic Party are shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Kevin Kamenetz, and today our condolences go out to his wife Jill, their two sons, his running mate Valerie Ervin, and his staff as they mourn the loss of a husband, father and mentor,” Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews said in a statement.

“He put every ounce of energy and discipline he had into serving his constituents in Baltimore County, and he would have been a great governor. Maryland families lost one of their best champions this morning,” she said.

Maryland Republican Party Chairman Dirk Haire also issued a statement: “We are saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz this morning. We thank him for his service to all of the residents of Baltimore County over the past 24 years as a County Councilman and County Executive.

“We extend our condolences to his wife Jill, sons Dylan and Karson, and all of his friends and family at this tragic time,” he said.

One of Mr. Kamenetz’s Democratic rivals for governor, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, said he will suspend all campaign activity out of respect for his colleague’s grieving family.

“Today is a tragic day in Maryland. Citizens around the State of Maryland awoke to terrible shocking and sad news that Baltimore County Executive and Democratic candidate for Governor Kevin Kamenetz passed away earlier this morning,” Mr. Baker said Thursday morning in a statement. “I was with Kevin yesterday evening at a Democrat gubernatorial forum at Bowie State University. This morning, I am stunned by this news as I had just watched hours earlier Kevin passionately and eloquently share his goals, vision, and ideas for the State of Maryland.

“Over the past seven years, we worked together on critical pieces of legislation and shared goals for improving the education of Maryland children, achieving quality health care for all the state’s residents, and creating jobs and opportunity for our constituents. As much as Kevin was advocating for what was best for Baltimore County, he was also always looking out for all Marylanders,” Mr. Baker said.

As for Baltimore County, administrative officer Fred Homan will serve as acting county executive until the council votes on a replacement to serve the remainder of his term, the AP reported.

Mr. Hogan ordered state flags to be lowered to half-staff immediately and returned to full-staff at sunset on the day of Mr. Kamenetz’s internment.

Mr. Kamenetz’s funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation with burial at the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery, according to the Sol Levinson and Brothers Inc. funeral home’s website. Donations can be made to the American Cancer Society or the Baltimore Humane Society.

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