Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta (PA-D) announced yesterday that he is running for one of the state’s two senate seats. If elected to office, Kenyatta would be the first openly gay Black U.S. senator.
Kenyatta made the announcement when he appeared as a guest on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut.” After being asked by host Joy Reid what his thoughts were on his state’s Republican party, Kenyatta took a moment to lay out his vision for his candidacy.
“America succeeds because every generation steps up to protect and expand the promise of America, a promise that has excluded, for too long, so many working families whose lives were tough prior to Covid, and this deadly pandemic has made those cracks even worse,” he said. “And so I know we have an opportunity right now to expand that promise, to make sure we have a country that doesn’t just talk about justice and fairness for all but that actually makes it real.
“And it’s with faith in that mission, and joy in my heart, that I’m announcing here tonight that I’ll be a candidate for the United States Senate to represent the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
The 30-year-old representative from Philadelphia will run for the seat that is being vacated by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), who is not seeking re-election. He will face off against Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, who has already announced his candidacy, in a race that the Philadelphia Inquirer is calling “one of the most competitive in the country.”
Although state representatives don’t normally receive much attention on the national stage, the Philadelphia Inquirer also reports that Kenyatta’s frequent appearances on cable news shows, as well as his position as a Biden surrogate, have given him a wider platform than most state lawmakers. The publication also reports that Kenyatta has the backing of the American Federation of Teachers, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and the Working Families Party.
Kenyatta also announced his candidacy with a video posted yesterday to Twitter. He is being supported by the Victory Fund, which in a tweet yesterday called Kenyatta “an outspoken champion for the most vulnerable communities in Pennsylvania” and said “his voice in the U.S. Senate would be transformational.”