As the GOP and Democratic presidential candidates vie to grab the primary prize in Maryland next week, many eyes are on another race.
Soon, Baltimore will need a new mayor and activist DeRay McKesson wants the job of picking up the pieces of a fractured city that has been on fire since the death of Freddie Gray. The Baltimore native, who announced his campaign early February, insists he is not a politician. Instead, the black lives matter protester who pushed for change from the outside, is now aiming to be in position to push from the inside.
Above: McKesson speaks with voter Karen Olson as he canvasses in Charles Village in Baltimore, on March 26, 2016.
As he nears the end of his 30 days for 30,000 campaign, McKesson and campaign staffer Maria Griffin make one more push to the polls in Charles Village of Baltimore. According to the NY Times, Griffin met McKesson at an education meeting, but even before that she said McKesson was a household name to her because of his massive social media footprint.
Above: McKesson and campaign staffer Maria Griffin canvass in Charles Village, Baltimore on March 26.
McKesson greets a peloton of voters as he canvasses in Charles Village on March 26. The recent polling doesn't look too favorable for the activist, but McKesson is not giving up without a fight.
DeRay McKesson is doing more canvassing in Charles Village. He is trying to distinguish himself in a crowded field even as he plays catchup after announcing on the final day to submit his candidacy on March 26.
Before canvassing in Charles Village, McKesson broadcasts a quick message to followers via Periscope on March 26. From right are volunteers, Maritza Perez, Anne Allen, and campaign staffer, Maria Griffin. McKesson's impressive 300,000 plus Twitter following base, which includes Beyonce, is one campaign tool he has used to reach out to voters.
Exactly one month before the Maryland Primary, McKesson meets with voters in the home of Gary Williams and his wife, Christina Drushel-Williams. His campaign hopes these on the ground, interpersonal strategies will help McKesson's message translate better while giving him an edge in the race.
On a short lunch break at home, McKesson has a conference call with staffers regarding budgeting. According to The Baltimore Sun, McKesson has spent around $218,000 with more than $85,000 cash on hand.
On a quick trip to the grocery store to grab some lunch, McKesson stops to talk with Karen Jenkins, an undecided voter. She says, "I felt he was sincere. His answers were well thought out and didn't seem rehearsed."
A graduate of Catonsville High School, DeRay speaks to students at the Gilman school, an elite private school. Much of McKesson's mayoral platform is centered around education reform which includes increasing and ensuring vital academic support for all children in Baltimore City Schools. His plan invites contentious debate as nearly 20 public schools are expected to close in the city.
Before a candidates forum at Union Baptist Church, McKesson and his staffer, Maria Griffin, have a few friendly words with the pastor, Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr.
McKesson's campaign fate will be decided after Baltimore's Primary Election Day on April 26.