Here’s why Pastor Jamal Bryant is backing out of the political race in Baltimore

Jamal Bryant march in support of Trayvon Martin on March 26, 2012 in Sanford Florida. Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman on February 26 2012, he was 17. (Photo Credit: Ira Bostic /
(Photo Credit: Ira Bostic /

There was a huge political battle getting ready to take place in Baltimore as Pastor Jamal Bryant was set to challenge powerful Congressman Elijah Cummings for his House seat. Pastor Bryant’s population has grown as he and his church Empowerment Temple in Northwest Baltimore were active during the unrest over the death of Freddie Gray.

Cummings has held the 7tth Congressional District seat for 11 terms and was equally involved in bringing calm and focus to the city. Cummings is considered a political powerhouse in national Black politics.

However, eight days after making his announcement to run against Cummings, Bryant has ended his campaign. The announcement caused shockwaves as Bryant stated that “his Church is his first priority.” Apparently, many members of his congregation were opposed to his candidacy. Bryant released a statement saying, “After we announced our campaign last week it quickly became clear that I had not heard from all the voices I needed to listen to — particularly the members of my church. While many of my congregation have been encouraging and supportive, others have expressed an ardent desire that I concentrate full time on the spiritual leadership of Empowerment Temple. Having reflected on these concerns and prayed, I believe the continued stewardship of my church is my highest calling.”

Bryant is a father of five and a graduate of Morehouse College holding a degree in political science and international relations. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Duke University and a doctorate in ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation. His congregation numbers at least 12,000.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

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