Black candidates are vying for top jobs in Atlanta and Maryland

Exclusive: Among the recognizable names poised to compete for the top of state government include Wes Moore, Rep. Anthony Brown and Michael Steele

Black candidates are vying for mayors’ and governors’ offices across the country. Among the recognizable names poised to compete for top jobs in state government include Wes Moore, Rep. Anthony Brown and Michael Steele who are considering a run for governor in Maryland.

Meanwhile, former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed is positioning himself to succeed Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms‘ post in Atlanta. 

Wes Moore and Kasim Reed,
Wes Moore, who is running for governor in Maryland and Kasim Reed, who is running for another term for Atlanta mayor. (Photo: Twitter/Getty Images)

As Black candidates emerge for the top of the ticket in races for state and local governments, the Black-concentrated city Atlanta has become ground zero for elections to watch in the South. theGrio has learned that Kasim Reed is expected to make a big announcement at his birthday celebration on June 10. We anticipate this will be the official launch of his campaign to reclaim his old seat as mayor of Atlanta. 

An invitation to the event secured by theGrio requests attendees to donate funds that are aligned with local contribution guidelines for small donors. Another obvious but key clue is in small faint print at the bottom of the invite reads “Paid for by Kasim Reed for Atlanta, Inc.”

An invitation to Kasim Reed’s birthday event secured by theGrio requests attendees to donate funds that are aligned with local contribution guidelines for small donors.

On the national stage, author, retired military, and motivational speaker, Wes Moore, who is also the former CEO of Robinhood Foundation, one of the largest anti-poverty organizations, is announcing his run for Maryland’s top seat on Monday. Currently, the post is held by Republican Larry Hogan. Although Hogan is not considered a “never Trumper,” his position comes close as Hogan has bucked President Trump several times in the past.

Moore, 43, resides in Baltimore City in the Guilford neighborhood of Baltimore, a very affluent community where as a kid he was cautioned about the area’s racism. 

Wes Moore
(Photo: Twitter/Wes Moore)

While rising above the low expectations placed on him, Moore gained national recognition for his books and motivational speeches and for his appearances on shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey

One of his first positions in government includes his role as a State Department fellow under then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Now, Moore is running to represent the Democratic ticket in the gubernatorial race. Furthermore, he is not new to the campaign trail as he worked with Ben Jealous who ran for the Maryland governorship in 2018.  

Jealous, the former national head of the NAACP, ran at the same time that Stacey Abrams sought the top seat in Georgia and Andrew Gillum vied for the seat in Florida. All three lost their attempts at becoming the first Black governor of their respective states.

In April, Moore filed with the state elections board to form a campaign finance account that allows him to raise money as he weighs his options. Moore told theGrio that his poll numbers are looking really good at the moment and signal a pathway that could result in him becoming the first Black governor of the state. 

Michael Steele is seriously considering a run on the Republican ticket. He will make his decision by the end of summer. Beyond being a former head of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Steele served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.  

Michael Steele
(Credit: Getty Images)

At the moment, Marylanders have a Republican governor and one of the questions voters may have to face is whether they want a third term of Republican state leadership.

Recognizable Black candidates and potential contenders appear to be in abundance in the race to lead Maryland. Another name that has been floated around is that of Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown. It’s unlikely Brown will run due to his focus on trying to get Democrats elected this midterm season. Brown, like Steele, once held the post of Lt. Governor. Brown served under Democrat Martin O’Malley

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