District native and comedian Rodney “Red” Grant declared his candidacy for the mayoral contest in 2022 on May 15 in the historic Anacostia neighborhood’s Old Market House Square in Ward 8.
Grant told a crowd of 30 people the late abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass served as an inspiration to run for mayor.
“I am making this announcement in the shadow of the Frederick Douglass house,” Grant said. “He was a person who fought for freedom and saw a vision that people could not see. He never wavered from that vision. My candidacy for mayor of Washington, D.C., is because this is the greatest city in the world. This is a great time for inclusion and not exclusion.”
Grant made his announcement while D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser hasn’t publicly indicated whether she will run for reelection in 2022. However, 52 percent of respondents in a Washington Post poll said Bowser should seek a third term. In March, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said he won’t challenge Bowser but will seek a third term.
Grant joins independent Barbara Summers, who has filed paperwork with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, in running for mayor. Nick Jacobs, spokesperson for the D.C. Board of Elections, said the date of the 2022 mayoral primary hasn’t been set but the general election will occur on Nov. 8.
During his speech, Grant spoke of his birth at Tyler House Associates in Northwest before moving with his family to Southeast. He talked about attending Sousa Middle School in Southeast before “going across the bridge” to Dunbar High School in Northwest as a student-athlete. Later on, he became an entertainer with roles in such shows as “Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jam” and Comedy Central’s “Reality Bites Back” and played in movies such as “American Hustle” and “First Sunday,” according to his website Redgrant.com.
Grant said his platform focuses on the need to build more affordable housing, closing inequality gaps in marginalized communities, reevaluating the education system so children throughout the city can learn on an equitable basis and opening up recreation centers for young people. He stressed strengthening arts programs in the schools and training police officers to be more sensitive to the residents they protect.
In the latter part of his speech, Grant expressed the seriousness of his run. Matt Gilliard believed him.
“I am a friend of Red’s,” Gillard said. “I think he has a good message for the city. I will support him.”
However, Renee Lewis said she will watch to see how the Grant campaign evolves.
“I came here to hear what he wants to do for the community,” Lewis said. “I will make my decision on the candidate I will support later.”