Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D) died early Thursday morning at a local hospital after suffering a heart attack overnight.
Kamenetz, serving his second term as county executive, was one of the leading Democratic candidates for governor. Polls showed him running close to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D), another of the leading contenders.
In a statement, Baltimore County police said the 60-year-old was transported to the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center after complaining of feeling ill. Doctors pronounced him dead at 3:22 a.m.
Kamenetz had participated in a forum at Bowie State on Wednesday, hours before he suffered the heart attack. The Democratic gubernatorial primary is June 26.
In a statement, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered Maryland state flags to be lowered to half-staff in Kamenetz’s memory.
Hogan called Kamenetz “a dedicated public servant in Baltimore County for more than two decades.” In a tweet, Baker called Kamenetz’s death “sad, shocking news.”
Kamenetz was the youngest of five children, a Johns Hopkins graduate who went on to study law at University of Baltimore School of Law. He served as a prosecutor in Baltimore City before winning a seat on the county council in 1994. As county executive, he oversaw a multibillion-dollar annual budget.
His position in Baltimore gave him a political base to counter Baker, whose base is in the vote-rich Washington suburbs. Kamenetz had won recent endorsements from a prominent service employees union, Rep. Dutch RuppersbergerCharles (Dutch) Albert RuppersbergerHouse lawmakers roll out bill to invest 0 million in state and local cybersecurity House approves cyber funds in relief package as officials press for more Maryland lawmakers ask Biden to honor Capital Gazette shooting victims with Presidential Medal of Freedom MORE (D) and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke at the 2016 Democratic convention.
He is survived by his wife Jill and their two teenage sons, according to his biography on his campaign website.