Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta has announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. The 2020 Out100 honoree made the announcement Thursday to Joy Reid on The ReidOut on MSNBC.
“There nothing’s written on a tablet somewhere that says America has to succeed,” he explained Reid. “You know, America succeeds because every generation steps up to protect and expand the promise of America.”
Kenyatta told Reid the promise of American opportunity has been too long denied to working families and others struggling to make ends meet. He views his candidacy as an opportunity “expand on that promise, to make sure we that we have a country that doesn’t just talk about justice and fairness for all but that actually makes it real.” He announced his candidacy “with faith in that mission and joy in my heart.”
The two-term state representative is running to fill the senate seat currently held by Republican Pat Toomey, who announced he won’t seek reelection when his term expires in 2022. Kenyatta will be running against John Fetterman, who is currently the state's lieutenant governor and John McGuigan, both Democrats. Earlier this week, Representative Brian Sims announced he would be running for Fetterman's seat.
Kenyatta is considered a rising star in the Democrat party. He was one of the history-making queer party members asked to speak at the virtual DNC last year, and he didn’t come alone. While he took that opportunity to honor the “doctors nurses and home health care aides in Philadelphia” on the front lines fighting the global pandemic, he also famously brought along his fiancé, University of Pennsylvania professor Matthew Miller.
“When I wanted to marry the man I loved, Joe Biden was the first national figure to support me and my family,” he revealed during his speech to the DNC. Kenyatta has similarly brought along Miller, who he proposed to in a now-viral moment last July, for his announcement for his Senate run.
"Government hasn't worked for working families like mine," he said at the start of the video which shows him leaving his home and Miller kissing him as he walks out the front door. "I know what it's like to see an eviction notice, to work a minimum wage job." He went on to talk about how his family struggled but was resilient, leading him to start working at 12-years-old.
"Pennsylvania and America are at a cross roads," he said in the ad. "After four years of division, and just over a month after a failed coup at the United States Capitol, we face a question of who we want to be as a country. But we also face a recognition; what's been broken has been broken for more than four years."
"We have to answer the question at the heart of every campaign," he continued. "Who should government work for?"
If Kenyatta's run were to be successful he would make history in a variety of ways. He would be the first out gay male in the U.S. Senate. He would also be the first Black out LGBTQ+ member of that governing body. The current out U.S. Senators are Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, who are lesbian and bisexual respectively.
Pennsylvania Work Families Party has already endorsed Kenyatta in his run.