DeRay Mckesson Files to Run in Baltimore Mayoral Race

Luke Broadwater, Baltimore Sun, February 3, 2016

In a surprise move, civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson jumped into the already crowded contest for Baltimore mayor Wednesday night, shaking up the Democratic field minutes before the deadline to file.

“Baltimore is a city of promise and possibility,” the Black Lives Matter member told The Baltimore Sun. “We can’t rely on traditional pathways to politics and the traditional politicians who walk those paths if we want transformational change.”

He said he planned to release a platform within a week. He said it would include a call for internal school system audits to be made public.

Mckesson was the 13th and final candidate to jump into the primary race. {snip}

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has declined to run for re-election. {snip}

Mckesson, 30, a Baltimore native and former public school administrator here and in Minnesota, is part of a team called Campaign Zero, which seeks to end police killings in America. The group wants to end “broken windows” policing, increase community oversight of police and limit use of force, among other goals.

Mckesson has gained widespread attention in the protest movement that began in Ferguson, Mo., and came to Baltimore last year to demonstrate against police brutality after the death of Freddie Gray. He has nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter.

He has met with top White House officials and presidential candidates in recent months to discuss civil rights. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called him a “social media emperor.”

{snip}

The crowded Democratic field means a candidate could win the April 26 primary with a small fraction of the vote.

{snip}

Johnetta Elzie, another well-known activist with the Black Lives Matter movement, said she was moving to Baltimore to work on Mckesson’s campaign.

{snip}

“He talks about poverty and race and how those are intertwined,” Elzie said. “DeRay’s path is to be a truth-teller while improving the city he grew up in.”

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