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FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2013 file photo, NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous speaks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The former NAACP head announced Tuesday, May 30, 2017, that he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland, and the candidate will formally make the announcement at a news conference in Baltimore on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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Former NAACP head to run for governor of Maryland

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2013 file photo, NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous speaks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The former NAACP head announced Tuesday, May 30, 2017, that he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland, and the candidate will formally make the announcement at a news conference in Baltimore on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Former NAACP head Ben Jealous is running for governor of Maryland, his campaign announced Tuesday.

The Democratic candidate will formally announce at a news conference in Baltimore on Wednesday morning, campaign officials said in a statement.

Jealous backed former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last year and has been a strong supporter of former President Barack Obama.

“I want to protect the Obama legacy, bring Bernie’s dreams to reality, and build a future for Maryland that harnesses our shared hopes and dreams,” Jealous said in the statement.

Jealous, 44, could be running in a crowded Democratic primary to take on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan next year. Maryland is a blue state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

Jealous was elected president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 2008, when he was 35. He was the youngest person ever elected to the position.

Under Jealous, the nation’s largest civil rights group worked to abolish death penalty laws, opposed “stop-and-frisk” police tactics and “stand-your-ground” self-defense laws, and embraced gay rights in a historic 2012 vote to support same-sex marriage rights.

Jealous also was credited with boosting the organization’s finances and helping to stabilize it.

Jealous will be announcing his candidacy Wednesday at Baltimore Blossoms, a flower store opened by his cousin Rachelle after the unrest in Baltimore prompted by the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

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