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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Updated: Gansler Taps Former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth as Running Mate

Former Hyattsville Mayor Candace B. Hollingsworth (D) joins former Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler’s 2022 gubernatorial campaign. Photo provided by the Gansler campaign.

Former Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) announced Tuesday that former Hyattsville Mayor Candace B. Hollingsworth will join his 2022 gubernatorial campaign as the candidate for lieutenant governor.

“I enthusiastically welcome Candace as my full-fledged partner on this team,” Gansler said in a statement Tuesday. “What she has done to revitalize Hyattsville is a success story that we will strive to replicate all across Maryland.”

In an interview Monday, Hollingsworth said she’s excited to join Gansler’s campaign, noting that their combined skill is needed to address the problems thousands of Marylanders are facing. Hollingsworth said it’s “easy to become complacent” because Maryland presents itself as a deep blue state.

“But that’s not the reality,” she said. “There’s so many issues that affect everyday folks, and to be able to work on those issues in a very real way with someone who has not just the experience to lead but also what I have observed to be a real core commitment to addressing those very issues is, in itself, exciting” she said.

Hollingsworth became the youngest mayor in Hyattsville history, elected in 2015 at the age of 33 after serving four years on the city council. She was also the city’s first Black mayor.

Hollingsworth cited several accomplishments from her tenure as mayor.

She’s most proud of helping to restore the “expectations of what government can do” for city residents.

“No one had any faith or trust that the city council or the mayor would really get anything done because all they’d seen was dysfunction,” she said. “…we showed residents that, yeah, we can do hard things, we can do hard things well, and you can trust the government to step in when necessary.”

In the summer of 2020, the Hyattsville City Council unanimously passed a resolution in defense of Black lives in a commitment to undoing the effects of centuries of systemic racism.

That same summer, Hollingsworth published a blog post with a 35-point agenda for the city of Hyattsville.

“I’ve been spending the last few days combing through what has been — until now — a nondisclosed agenda. By sharing, I am inviting you to join me as we work unapologetically to secure Black futures,” she wrote in 2020. “The risk is that you will piss some people off but know that your legacy — whichever you choose — will be protected by those who love you.”

Among the policy points were calls to implement participatory budgeting to give residents a say in where their money goes; to relax permit requirements for public spaces, like parks; and to require all new hires on the Hyattsville Police Department to live within a five-mile radius of the city.

Hollingsworth said she published them to create a starting point for the next generation of city leadership, adding that members of the community felt invested in them.

“We really have to roll up our sleeves as elected officials and get to work on creating solutions and be comfortable with proposing solutions that will then be reshaped and revised in some ways to make them stronger,” she said. “And that’s what I look forward to doing [as lieutenant governor.].”

Hollingsworth left city hall in December 2020 to co-chair Our Black Party, a national organization that seeks to prioritize political issues based on the needs of Black communities, including:

  • Reallocating money from police departments to other community-based services;
  • Ending cash bail;
  • Investing in school curriculum and instruction;
  • Implementing a health care for all policy; and
  • Building intergenerational wealth in Black families through homeownership.

Hollingsworth said that the impetus to help grow an organization like Our Black Party came after a conversation with her son. They were on a walk to commemorate Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered by three white men in 2020 while running through a neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga.

“I asked him, I said, ‘Do you feel safe?’ and he was like ‘Yeah, I feel safe in Hyattsville but not really anywhere else,’” Hollingsworth said Monday. “And for me, that was a moment where I said … it’s not enough to create this enclave of safety just here. It’s important to do that everywhere else.”

Hollingsworth said that she and Gansler align because they “share a common commitment” to address the challenges of the day: racial and social justice, “including economic empowerment, including building intergenerational wealth and creating safe and just communities.”

She said that being on a ticket with a “commitment to make sure that we do the best by all Marylanders — and especially black Marylanders” — is a continuation of the work she’s done in Hyattsville and with Our Black Party.

“Our combined executive experience at the state and local levels is unparalleled in this race,” Gansler said. “Together, we will make Maryland the safest state with the best schools in the country – and that means in every city and county no matter what the zip code.”

Hollingsworth, who grew up in Memphis, Tenn., earned a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies and a Master Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University.

She serves as a board member for the Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center, belongs to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Junior League of Washington, and is a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for OxFam America.

Between 2012 and 2016,  Hollingsworth had several tax liens totaling over $10,000 and more than $4,000 in contract violations claims filed against her.

According to the Maryland Judiciary Case Search, all of the cases have been satisfied.

The Baltimore Sun first reported the legal cases on Tuesday morning. The campaign did not immediately respond to questions about the legal cases from Maryland Matters on Tuesday.

With his selection of Hollingsworth to be his running mate, Gansler becomes the seventh of the 10 Democratic candidates for governor to pick a candidate for lieutenant governor. The three remaining gubernatorial candidates — former Clinton administration official Jon Baron, former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman and retired college lecturer Jerome Segal — have until the Feb. 22 candidate filing deadline to choose a running mate.

This is the second time Gansler, who comes from Montgomery County, has looked to Prince George’s County for a running mate. In 2014, when he was the runner-up in the Democratic primary for governor, his ticket mate was Jolene Ivey, who was then serving in the House of Delegates.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include information about liens and contract disputes filed against Candace Hollingsworth in Maryland courts.