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Madaleno names former O’Malley administration official as running mate

State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County), right, has tapped Luwanda Jenkins as his running mate in his campaign for governor of Maryland. (Photo courtesy of Janet Bass/Madaleno for Maryland)

Maryland state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) on Monday announced he has chosen a member of former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration as his running mate in his gubernatorial campaign.

Luwanda Jenkins, who was the special secretary for the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs from 2007-2012, joined Madaleno outside Baltimore’s Western High School where he formally announced her as his running mate.

Jenkins’ most recent position was COO of LEADERship, a Baltimore-based program that promotes leadership development. Jenkins was vice president of community relations and diversity at the Cordish Companies from 2016-2017. She was also at Coppin State University from 2012-2015.

Jenkins is an alum of Towson State University and the Johns Hopkins University.

“I’m thrilled to join Rich,” she said. “My entire career has been about leveraging opportunity to make a better quality of life for Marylanders. I’m excited to travel across the state and share our ticket’s plan for action and engage Marylanders in how to make our state better.”

Madaleno in a press release his campaign sent to the Washington Blade described Jenkins and he as “a winning team.”

“Our vision focuses on improving the quality of life for all Marylanders and making sure that people and communities with the most needs actually get the help they need to succeed,” said Madaleno. “We will work to strengthen communities — from urban centers like Baltimore to rural areas on the Eastern Shore and in western Maryland — and make wise budgetary decisions that will make positive change but won’t break the state treasury.”

Madaleno will face off against former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous; Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker; Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz; former State Department official Alec Ross; lawyer Jim Shea and Krishanti Vignarajah, who was former first lady Michelle Obama’s policy director, in the June Democratic primary. The winner will run against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election.

Ross on Monday announced Julie Verratti, who co-founded Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring with her wife, as his running mate.

Verratti would be Maryland’s first out governor if she and Ross are elected in November. Madaleno could become the first openly gay man elected governor in the U.S. if he and Jenkins were to win.

Madaleno, who is accepting public financing, last month reported his campaign has thus far raised $439,862.