Maryland gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler on Tuesday announced his selection of former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth as his running mate for lieutenant governor.
Hollingsworth, who in 2015 was elected as the city’s first Black mayor and the youngest at age 33, stepped down in December 2020 to become national co-chair for Our Black Party.
With her focus now on the gubernatorial campaign, she’ll step down from the Our Black Party, which has a membership of 20,000 and 11 state directors and is designed to “support people and policies that improve the quality of life for Black people across the country. Really simple, but it’s a really big task.”
In one of Hollingsworth’s biggest accomplishments as mayor, she helped leverage $1 million for the city in the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 to provide grants for small businesses, child care providers and financial assistance for residents laid off from their jobs.
Also during her tenure as mayor, the city became the second municipality in Maryland and first in Prince George’s County to designate itself as a “sanctuary city,” which prevents its local police from enforcing federal immigration laws against immigrant residents.
Those are some of the reasons why Hollingsworth, who works as director for AmeriCorps programs based in northwest D.C., chose to join Gansler on the campaign trail.
“When getting to know Doug over the past few months, intentionally … it is really great to work with someone who cares about the things that I care about,” she said in an interview. “And also has the experience and leadership to really executive on those ideas. More importantly, [Gansler is] someone I see myself hanging out with over the next few months because we are going to spend a lot of time together.”
A video shows Hollingsworth chatting with Gansler about Hyattsville having “the best coffee in the state of Maryland,” her mother working three jobs and Hollingsworth even being behind on her mortgage.
Gansler, 59, the state’s former attorney general, called Hollingsworth “a star.”
“If you look at the field of Democratic candidates, there’s few that have any executive experience and were the only people on the ticket with executive experience,” he said. “That’s important when you come out of a crisis like COVID…People want to see somebody that has led before and can lead now. We have the experience to win.”
Gansler became the fourth Democratic gubernatorial candidate to select a Black woman as a running mate. Comptroller Peter Franchot was the first, choosing former Prince George’s County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker.
Ashwani Jain, a former Obama administration official, chose LaTrese Hawkins Lytes of Prince George’s as his running mate, whom his campaign described as a mother of four and longtime Marylander.
On Thursday, former Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez named former Baltimore City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed as his choice for lieutenant governor.
Three other Democratic candidates also chose woman of color as running mates:
• Author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore selected engineer and former state Del. Aruna Miller of Montgomery County. • Former Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III selected Montgomery County Council member Nancy Navaro. • Former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr. chose women's rights advocate Michelle Siri.
Two other gubernatorial candidates running the primary election chose women to run as running mates.
Republican candidate Del. Daniel Cox, who represents portions of Carroll and Frederick counties, selected Gordana Schifanelli, an attorney from Queen Anne’s County.
Another Republican, Joe Werner of Baltimore County, chose Minh Thanh Luong.
Six other candidates are seeking the governor’s seat held by Republican Larry Hogan, whose second four-year term expires in January.
The three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are former nonprofit executive Jon Baron; Jerome Segal, who founded the former Bread and Roses Party and has a running mate name Justinian M. Dispenza of Kent County; and former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, who formally announced her candidacy last month and already raised nearly $11,000.
The two Republicans are former Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and perennial candidate Robin Ficker of Montgomery County, a former state delegate.
Candidates have until Feb. 22 to officially file their intent to run in the June 28 primary election.
Libertarian candidate David Lashar of Annapolis chose Christiana Logansmith, a Navy veteran who owns a commercial cleaning company in Anne Arundel County. They will run in the general election.