Rev. Jamal Bryant

In a surprise move, the Rev. Jamal Bryant announced on Sept. 22 that he was dropping out of the race for Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings’ seventh district seat.

Bryant, who is the pastor of the Empowerment Temple AME Church in West Baltimore, announced his intentions to run for Congress only eight days ago. At the time he said he was hoping Cummings would run for Barbara Mikulski’s soon to be open seat. Mikulski announced earlier this year that she was retiring.  The Bryant announcement was quickly followed, however,  by a Cummings announcement of his intention to run for re-election.

Bryant made his announcement before congregants at Empowerment Temple early Tuesday evening.  A video of him speaking was posted to his Twitter feed and labeled as “Campaign Conclusion.” “Over the last couple of days I’ve had the opportunity to talk to our beloved and much revered Congressman and I have discovered he is not going to offer himself to the U.S. Senate but is in fact going to remain in the seventh congressional district,” Bryant said. “I want us to stand as two Black men who can make a difference.”

While Bryant spoke his audience clapped and cheered at his words. “It does not take away my passion for calling for police reform. My voice is not politician, but my voice is prophet. And wherever God leads, it is my responsibility to speak. The blessing of being a prophet is I don’t have to be elected, I just have to be called,” he said. “I’m glad President Obama is the president. I’m glad that Elijah Cummings is going to be in Congress.”

Bryant end his brief speech by re-affirming his desire to be a pastor. “This is not a resignation because God always gets the victory and in Him, there is no failure. I may not be your Congressman, but I’m proud to be your pastor,” he said.