Activist DeRay McKesson Wants to Be Baltimore’s Next Mayor

By Kenrya Rankin Feb 04, 2016

Things just got a bit more interesting in the massive race for Baltimore mayor. Last night (February 3), activist and Campaign Zero co-founder DeRay McKesson officially threw his puffer vest in the ring to run for the office just minutes before the 9 p.m. deadline to apply.

The Baltimore Sun reports that there are 28 people seeking to fill the office, which is currently held by mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose handling of the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s police-involved death led many to question her ability to lead the embattled city (and earned her the title of “Worst Mayor in America” in a poll last summer). Rawlings-Blake has announced that she will not seek reelection.

McKesson, 30, announced his mayoral run via an essay on In it, he talks about growing up in Baltimore, why he is running and how his lack of prior political experience sets him apart:


At its core, being the Mayor is about having a vision for the city that is both aspirational and grounded in reality. It is about demonstrating the ability to turn intentions into reality and maintaining the fortitude to see our ambitions met with strong implementation.


I am running to be the 50th Mayor of Baltimore in order to usher our city into an era where the government is accountable to its people and is aggressively innovative in how it identifies and solves its problems. We can build a Baltimore where more and more people want to live and work, and where everyone can thrive.


It is true that I am a non-traditional candidate — I am not a former Mayor, City Councilman, state legislator, philanthropist or the son of a well-connected family. I am an activist, organizer, former teacher, and district administrator that intimately understands how interwoven our challenges and our solutions are.


I am a son of Baltimore.

McKesson was the 13th, and final, candidate to file an application to qualify for the democratic primary, in a city that largely skews blue. Other candidates include city councilman Carl Stokes, councilman Nick Mosby (husband of state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby) and former mayor Sheila Dixon. The primary will be held on April 26, with early voting from April 14 though April 21.