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Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler taps former Hyattsville mayor as running mate

Former Hyattsville mayor Candace Bacchus Hollingsworth has joined Democratic gubernatorial candidate Douglas F. Gansler's ticket as his running mate. (Gansler campaign)
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Former Maryland attorney general Douglas F. Gansler has named former Hyattsville mayor Candace Bacchus Hollingsworth as his running mate in his bid for Maryland governor.

Hollingsworth was elected in 2015 as the youngest and first Black mayor of Hyattsville, where she served before stepping down in December 2020 to develop Our Black Party, a national organization she co-founded to build the relationship between the Black community and the political system.

“I’m just really excited and happy that Doug has not only embraced me, and who I am, and my experience, but he has also embraced the issues that I also care about,” Hollingsworth said. “And to have that reflected in this partnership, to where we can truly bring our best and our most authentic selves to this campaign and the work that’s ahead of us, really makes me excited. And I hope it excites Marylanders as well.”

The campaign for governor is Gansler’s fourth statewide race. A lawyer who has spent 23 years in government, Gansler was elected as the state’s top law enforcement officer in 2006 and reelected in 2010, when he was unopposed in both the primary and the general election. He also ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2014.

This year, Gansler has said his campaign will focus on rebuilding Maryland’s economy and bridging gaps in public health, housing, criminal justice and jobs that were amplified during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I enthusiastically welcome Candace as my full-fledged partner on this team,” Gansler said in a statement. “What she has done to revitalize Hyattsville is a success story that we will strive to replicate all across Maryland. We have so much rebuilding to do after this pandemic — from reducing crime to improving policing to closing the COVID learning gap and getting our children, especially those who have been disproportionately impacted by learning loss, on track for success.”

Hollingsworth defined her time as Hyattsville mayor as having been a champion for marginalized communities. As mayor, she helped establish tax incentives for affordable housing and distributed a $1 million coronavirus relief fund to residents and small businesses. She also helped build a program that put returning citizens on a pathway to employment, and created young adult development programs.

“This is an opportunity to take the things that I know helped make Hyattsville a wonderful community, take those skills that I learned there, and bring it to more Marylanders,” Hollingworth said.

Gansler is running in a crowded race of Democrats vying for the nomination. According to state campaign finance records, Gansler has raised just over a half-million dollars and ended the filing period in mid-January with just under $400,000 on hand. His selection of Hollingsworth matches a trend among other candidates who’ve selected women of color as running mates, bringing diverse experiences to their tickets.

“I think we have a winning combination of competence, credibility and compassion,” Hollingsworth said in a video announcing her candidacy. “It’s important that we have an administration that doesn’t just hear and listen, but one that responds, and one that feels the accountability from the communities that we represent.”

Before she was mayor, Hollingsworth served as a Hyattsville City Council member. Originally from Memphis, she graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and earned a bachelor of arts degree in African American studies from Emory University and a master’s in public policy from Georgetown University.

Hollingsworth is also is a board member for the Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center, a Sisters on the Planet ambassador for Oxfam America, a member of the Junior League of Washington and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Gansler and Hollingsworth are among several tickets running in the Democratic primary. Former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez tapped former Baltimore City Council member Shannon Sneed to join his ticket; former U.S. education secretary John B. King Jr. selected Michelle Siri, an attorney and women’s rights advocate; author and former nonprofit executive Wes Moore named former state delegate Aruna Miller; Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) named Monique Anderson-Walker, who recently resigned from the Prince George’s County Council; former Prince George’s county executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) chose longtime Montgomery County Council member Nancy Navarro; and former Montgomery County Council candidate Ashwani Jain named longtime Maryland resident LaTrece Hawkins Lytes.

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Del. Daniel L. Cox of Frederick, a Republican candidate, tapped Gordana Schifanelli, an attorney from Queen Anne’s County, as his running mate.

Candidates must select their running mates before the Feb. 22 filing deadline.