Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is set to retire after serving five terms in office over the course of 30 years, leaving her Senate seat up for grabs in 2016.
Republican candidate Chrysovalantis Kefalas is currently vying for her seat and could possibly be the first openly gay Republican to hold a seat in the U.S. Senate.
As of March – just four months ago – the Baltimore Sun listed several potential Republicans who could contend for Mikulski’s seat. The Sun noted Dr. Ben Carson – now an official GOP presidential candidate – as well as Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., Rep. Andy Harris, Former First Lady Kendel Ehrlich were all possible candidates.
Kefalas, a member of the Greek Orthodox church, was former Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech writer and the youngest attorney in Maryland’s history to be counsel to the Governor Bob Ehrlich. Now his career is taking a turn away from law and towards politics.
“Ah, it’s way too soon,” refuted state Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D) to WJLA of young Republican Kefalas’ campaign. “Maryland’s a Democratic state.”
However, Maryland – a historically blue state – did elect Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in 2014.
“Governor Hogan’s (R-Md.) election showed us Marylanders aren’t just looking for a particular party to lead them,” Kefalas suggested to WJLA. “The Democrats have had 30 years of failure. We need someone who’s going to be the standard bearer for the business community, for job creators in Maryland, and that’s going to be me.”
WJLA reported Kefalas is a Republican attempting to stick out in a “Democratic field that’ll include powerhouses Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards—both already sitting members of Congress.”
Both Democrats, Van Hollen and Edwards, have been serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Van Hollen has served in the House since 2003, while Edwards has served for seven years since 2008.
“I can’t sit on the sidelines when too many children in Baltimore City can’t see the American Dream because they’re stuck in a nightmare,” Kefalas told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview.
He said the state of Maryland and America could be at a better place than it is today.
“Democratic leadership has failed the people of Baltimore and our state. I have the experience to lead us on a different path, in the U.S. Senate, for a promising and prosperous future for all Maryland families,” he said.
When asked if social issues or economic issues are more important to the people of Maryland, Kefalas said he believes the people in his state want a leader to promote economic growth and create jobs.
“The average manufacturing job in Maryland pays $80,000 a year, while a kid on a street corner may make $7,000 to $9,000 a year and be dead or locked up for years by 26 years of age. That distills the choice in this election: finding a way to increase job opportunities and fix a broken criminal justice system, to improve those lives, or preserve a status quo that leads to terrible consequences and decimated communities,” he explained.
Kefalas started to get heavily involved in politics when he decided – as a Republican – to push for marriage equality.
“I think I would the first openly gay Republican elected to the U.S. Senate, and the only Greek-American serving in the United States Senate,” Kefalas told Breitbart News. “I’m proud of who I am, but this race isn’t about who I am but what I have done, what I can do and what I believe, such as in fiscal conservatism, personal responsibility and freedom, and equal opportunity.”
He said he is a different type of Republican candidate that he believes could win in a blue state.
“I’m not a career politician. I had my start in small business, so I know how to try to meet payrolls with unfair taxes and regulations. I’ve worked to improve criminal justice as Deputy Legal Counsel for Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich,” he said. “I saw how broken families and the lack of jobs and failed government programs from elementary school through post-prision can wreck communities and lives–and I’ve worked to change that. I extended that work in the United States Department of Justice.”
He said he believes career politicians are not making the lives of Maryland residents better.
“I can pull the pieces together, with a focus on more jobs, economic growth and opportunity for everyone, to not only win an election but make sure that America’s best day remains tomorrow,” he promised.