The high-school-student-organized March for Our Lives this weekend has put politicians in an unusual spot: the back seat.
Although students are the driving force behind the D.C. march and sister marches around the country, elected officials and candidates from the District, Maryland and Virginia are finding ways to participate — chartering bus loads of constituents, speaking at pre-march rallies and simply planing to be in the crowd.
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is leading a contingent of D.C. students, joined by most members of the D.C. Council and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). They will meet at Folger Park on Capitol Hill before heading to the rally site on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring, all of whom are Democrats, will also be at the D.C. event, while Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) will go to a March for Our Lives event in Richmond. On Friday, Kaine was headed to George Mason University in Arlington to meet with groups working to combat gun violence.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will be at the previously scheduled Annapolis Maritime Museum’s annual Oyster Roast and Sock Burning.
“The governor applauds these students’ passion and dedication to ensuring their voices are heard by their leaders,” Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said. “The nation is rightly paying attention to what the next generation has to say on this extremely important issue.”
Here’s a roundup of where other politicians will be.
Many Democrats from Maryland, including several members of the Montgomery County Council, will gather at a pre-march rally Saturday morning in Silver Spring, where speakers will include Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.). Raskin, whose district includes Silver Spring, has chartered buses to carry several hundred people into Washington for the march. Other Montgomery County politicians will attend a parallel rally at Leisure World titled Protect Grandchildren, Not Guns.
Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) will lead a bike ride to the Washington march, starting from Little Falls Park in Bethesda around 10:30 a.m.
Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) also plan to attend the march, as does Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.), who will meet in the morning with Prince George’s County Public School students from his district who are traveling to the march together from the New Carrollton Metro station. They and other Maryland lawmakers say Tuesday’s fatal school shooting in St. Mary’s County underlines the need to thank first responders and place further limits on gun purchases.
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) will also be there. First he will stop at several bus launches in Baltimore. Then he’ll join the Baltimore March before he heads to the District.
Before the march, Van Hollen and Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence will host a conversation about gun legislation at Stewart Mott House on Capitol Hill. Cardin and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III (D), who is running for governor, will attend, organizers said Friday.
“No student should go to class fearing that they will be killed and no parent should live in fear that their children will never return from school,” Van Hollen said on Facebook. “No one should be afraid that they will die from gunfire in our neighborhoods.”
Several other Democrats running for governor in Maryland’s June 26 primary also will head to the Washington event, including tech entrepreneur Alec Ross and state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (Montgomery).
Krishanti Vignarajah, who is also running, said she will attend a rally and march in Annapolis beforehand. Gubernatorial candidates Ben Jealous, Kevin Kamenetz and James Shea are also planning to attend rallies in Maryland.
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), whose district includes St. Mary’s, will be in New Jersey for preplanned campaign events with other Democratic candidates, said his spokeswoman Annaliese Davis.
Hoyer’s staff will greet students driving to Washington from his southern Maryland district, and Hoyer will attend a sister rally in Hackensack, N.J., with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and a march in Morristown.
Congressional candidate David Trone, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed outgoing Rep. John Delaney (D) in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, will provide buses in Montgomery and Frederick counties to take residents to the D.C. march.
Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe (D) will lead a group of Northern Virginians across the Memorial Bridge Saturday morning to the D.C. march, which Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), whose district includes parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties, also will attend.
Rep. Barbara Comstock, the only Republican representing Northern Virginia in Congress, will be in her district for prescheduled events and will not attend the D.C. march, according to her spokesman, Jeffrey Marschner. Several Democrats vying to challenge her will attend a sister march in Winchester, a liberal enclave in the western part of the district.
Comstock “is working with her colleagues on passing legislation to protect our students and schools,” Marschner said in a statement. He noted that the House passed a bill that would provide federal funds to strengthen school security.
Del. Chris Hurst (D-Montgomery), a former Roanoke news anchor who ran for office after his girlfriend and another co-worker were fatally shot during a live broadcast in 2015, will participate in a march in Blacksburg.
Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg (D) will attend the D.C. march, as will council member John T. Chapman (D), Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol (D) and Vice Chair Christian Dorsey (D).
Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey (D) said she will walk in the march “with my daughter and some of my grandchildren, who are Arlington Public School students. As you know, not only am I a mother, grandmother and former school Board member, but also a Quaker. Sensible gun control is, and always has been, very important to me.”
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chair Sharon Bulova (D-At Large) is not going, but supervisors Daniel G. Storck (D-Mount Vernon) and Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee) plan to attend.
Jennifer Barrios, Rachel Chason, Antonio Olivo, Patricia Sullivan, Laura Vozzella and Ovetta Wiggins contributed to this report.