Former NAACP head Ben Jealous, backed by former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, is expected to announce Wednesday that he’s throwing his hat into the ring to become governor of Maryland.
Jealous, 44, who was the youngest person to run the civil rights organization, is expected to announce his candidacy in front of Baltimore Blossoms, “a flower store opened by his cousin Rachelle after the unrest in Baltimore following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody,” the Associated Press reports.
“I want to protect the Obama legacy, bring Bernie’s dreams to reality, and build a future for Maryland that harnesses our shared hopes and dreams,” Jealous said in a statement.
Jealous will be running in a crowded Democratic field of candidates hoping to take on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan next year. Jealous was elected to the NAACP in 2008, when was just 35.
Under his leadership, “the nation’s largest civil rights group worked to abolish death penalty laws, opposed ‘stop-and-frisk’ police tactics and ‘stand-your-ground’ self-defense laws, and embraced gay rights in a historic 2012 vote to support same-sex marriage rights,”ABC News reports.