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Rev. Jamal H. Bryant, pastor of Baltimore, Md.’s Empowerment Temple, has emerged in recent times as an active voice in a variety concerns important to African-American’s in his city and nationwide. The religious leader and activist is now eyeing a run for a seat in Congress should rumors that current House of Representatives incumbent Elijah E. Cummings will campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

The Baltimore Sun delved into Rev. Bryant’s congressional aims, speaking with the pastor shortly after he spoke with several supporters about his aims earlier on Monday. Bryant has been vocal about the situation unfolding in Baltimore, with the city facing high crimes, rising poverty rates and a community ravaged by the perceived misconduct by police. Although Rep. Cummings has not officially announced he’s vacating his 7th District congressional seat, he did respond to Bryant’s announcement on Monday.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Bryant’s decision to seek the Democratic nomination is important partly as a signal for the district’s incumbent, Cummings, who has been flirting with a run for retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s seat for months. Asked repeatedly if Bryant would run for the House if Cummings decided to seek reelection, the pastor said only that he would have a conversation with Cummings.

“All my indicators say he is running,” Bryant said, adding that he has not spoken personally with Cummings about his decision. “I represent a new generation that’s coming forward — this whole movement of activists that are emerging nationwide.”

Bryant said he had not spoken personally with Cummings about his decision.

Cummings said Monday it is too early for anyone to assume his plans.

“I am honored and deeply humbled by the outpouring of support and good will for my work on behalf of our community, and I appreciate all of the interest in my future plans,” Cummings said in a statement. “At this time, however, I am focused on my work in Congress, not on campaigning.

Bryant, 44, has been seen as a polarizing figure in Baltimore and has endured criticism from some who say he’s used his pulpit to push political agendas.

Further, as noted in the Sun piece, Bryant does not live in the district he aims to oversee in Congress unlike Cummings who is a resident of the West Baltimore region he represents. By law, it is not necessary for a congressperson to live in the district they represent, but that could spell doom in a tight election where earning the trust of voters is critical.

SOURCE: Baltimore Sun | PHOTO CREDIT: NewsOne

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