Prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson ’07 finished sixth in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Baltimore mayor, garnering two percent of the vote. Mckesson profusely thanked his supporters on his Twitter page, saying, “Thank you to all of the supporters, voters & donors who contributed to my campaign. In 83 days, we changed the landscape of the race.” Even though Mckesson was the last to enter the race, announcing his bid for candidacy on February 3, his tweets on Tuesday reminded his followers that he was the first to release a comprehensive platform and that “the ideas & platform our campaign introduced will influence the next administration.” 

With over 343,000 Twitter followers, Mckesson’s social media presence both benefited and impaired his campaign. In an interview with Yahoo News, Mckesson acknowledged the press’s focus on his low poll numbers and activism background as well as the pressure to document his campaigning efforts online.  

“[The social media presence] does a lot to amplify the message in a way that is powerful,” Mckesson said. “The hard part is that if I don’t put it on Twitter, people literally act like it doesn’t exist...No other candidate has to prove every single thing they do.”

Even though Mckesson lost, his candidacy highlighted the constructive power of digital campaigning. He tweeted on Wednesday, “We raised more money quicker than any local campaign in the country, and almost all of it digitally. The old money gatekeepers are no more.”