DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activist and social media personality, filed to run in the Baltimore mayoral race just before tonight’s (Feb. 3) 9pm deadline for the primary race, the Baltimore Sun reports.
“I have come to realize that the traditional pathway to politics, and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths, will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs,” Mckesson, a native of Baltimore, wrote in a Medium post announcing his decision to run, published late tonight.
Mckesson, 30, enters a crowded race—a total of 28 candidates are running, including 13 Democrats. The Sun notes that in Baltimore, a die-hard blue city, the candidate who wins the Democratic primary has often become the general election winner. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is not seeking reelection.
A former public school administrator in Baltimore and Minnesota, Mckesson became a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter protest movement after teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a St. Louis police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. In an extended interview with New York Magazine’s Rembert Browne, Mckesson described his unprecedented rise to social media fame, and the ways he uses it to connect with young community organizers around the country. He sports nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter, including pop star Beyonce.
According to his campaign announcement, Mckesson plans to release a platform in the coming weeks. The primary election for the 2016 Baltimore mayor election is April 26.