Michelle Obama’s former policy director weighs run for Maryland governor

Krishanti Vignarajah

Krishanti Vignarajah, a onetime policy director for former first lady Michelle Obama, said Monday that she is “seriously considering” joining a crowded field of Democratic candidates running for Maryland governor.

Vignarajah, 37, of Catonsville, is the second woman in the past week to say she is looking closely at the race. Her interest in running was first reported by the political blog A Miner Detail.

“A number of folks have encouraged me to run, and I’m seriously considering it,” Vignarajah said in a text message. She declined to comment further.


Five Democrats have already launched their campaigns for the Democratic nomination to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (R) next fall: former NAACP president Ben Jealous, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., tech entrepreneur Alec Ross and attorney Jim Shea.

Four others – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Rep. John Delaney, former attorney general Doug Gansler and Maya Rockeymoore, a policy expert and wife of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings – are said to be weighing bids.

The primary is next June.

Vignarajah, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, worked for Obama for a little over two years, according to her LinkedIn page. The Yale graduate is the founder and chief operating officer of Generation Impact, a firm that specializes in developing strategies for companies and nonprofits.

Steve Rabin, a friend of Vignarajah’s who was chief speechwriter for former governor Martin O’Malley (D), said many Democrats took notice of Vignarajah after she gave the keynote speech at a summit of Democrats in Western Maryland this spring.

With the retirement in January of longtime Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D), Rabin said, “we don’t have a single woman in Maryland who holds a statewide elected position. . . . There is not only an opening and a need for a woman, but there is an opening and need for a young, energetic and innovative policymaker who has dedicated their life to serve.”



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