@DeRay Joins Baltimore Mayoral Race, Can He Win It?

Courtesy of The New York Times

DeRay Mckesson, a civil rights activist who became nationally known after protesting in Ferguson, is officially running for Mayor of Baltimore, according to NPR.

Seemingly overnight hundreds donated to his campaign through Crowdpac, a crowd-sourcing platform. As of now the donations have gone over the $60,000 mark, only after six days of Mckesson being in the mayoral race.

Mckesson’s approach to raising money is different than the other candidates running for Mayor of Baltimore. For many of the candidates, power brokers are financing their campaigns, according to the Baltimore Sun. But for Mckesson, it is all donations from the public.

McKesson’s rise to fame began during the protests in Ferguson and he later received even more recognition after becoming one of the leaders of the Baltimore protests, which occurred after the death of Freddie Gray. He is also a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and is a social media activist, with over 300 thousand followers on Twitter. He recently appeared on various talk shows, including Late Night with Stephen Colbert and is also one of the 10 people Beyoncé follows on Twitter.

Since current mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced that she would not be seeking re-election, many prominent figures decided to run for the position.

Former Mayor Sheila Dixon, State Senator Catherine E. Pugh, City Councilmen Carl Stokes and Nick Mosby are among the candidates with the most political experience. Mckesson, in comparison, has little political experience.

He hasn’t been involved in politics except for when he worked on State Senator Bill Ferguson’s 2010 campaign, which was successful, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Mckesson wrote a blog post after he officially entered the race that partly addressed this exact issue.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

However, the fact that he doesn’t have political experience is how outsiders such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson have gained the attention of voters for the upcoming presidential election. This could be an advantage to Mckesson, similar to his social media presence.

Just as Mckesson rose to fame partly through social media, so has his candidacy. On Mckesson’s Crowdpac page, there are multiple comments of people showing their support for him.

Courtesy of Crowdpac
Courtesy of Crowdpac
Courtesy of Crowdpac
Courtesy of Crowdpac

In total, there are 13 Democratic and 5 Republican candidates in the mayoral race as of now. Since Baltimore is mainly a Democratic city, the winner of the party’s primary on April 26, is expected to be elected as the new mayor in the general election in November.

Can Mckesson rise to the occasion yet again? Only time will tell.

Listen in to a podcast featuring Pulsefeedz’s Jessie Karangu and The Left Bench’s Kofie Yeboah as they weigh in on DeRay’s candidacy.