Chrysovalantis Kefalas broke the news during an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
“I’m running for the U.S. Senate because Marylanders have asked for a real choice and a different direction,” said Kefalas in a statement his campaign released. “The same politicians who’ve created the messes we’re in can’t possibly make our state and country safer and stronger.”
Kefalas, 36, is the vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers in D.C. The son of Greek immigrants last month announced that he and Tommy McFly, a radio host on WIAD in D.C., recently became engaged.
“Throughout my career I’ve served my neighbors and fought for opportunity for everyone,” said Kefalas in his statement. “I will work every day to fight to give small businesses and the middle class a seat at the table. And I will lead a campaign everyone in Maryland can be proud of.”
Kefalas in 2011 publicly discussed his sexual orientation for the first time when he testified in support of a same-sex marriage bill that was before a Maryland Senate subcommittee.
The gay Republican told the Washington Blade earlier this year that he would “champion” LGBT-specific issues if elected to the U.S. Senate. Kefalas also noted that Gov. Larry Hogan was “one of the first people to support him” when he came out.
Kefalas — who would be the first openly gay Republican elected to either house of Congress if he were to win the general election — in October received an endorsement from the Log Cabin Republicans.
“He’s the right Republican candidate at the right time to appeal to Maryland voters of all political stripes,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo told the Blade on Wednesday.
Mikulski in March announced she will retire from the U.S. Senate once her term ends in 2016.
Kefalas joins state Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties), Anthony Seda and Richard Douglas who are seeking the Republican nomination to succeed Mikulski. U.S. Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards are also running for the Democrat’s seat.