State representative Malcolm Kenyatta, a Black man, wears a gray suit and tie, and holds his right hand over his heart as he sings the National Anthem. Malcolm Kenyatta
State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) sings the National Anthem on Jan. 1, 2019 in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

Kenyatta, the grandson of the late civil rights activist Muhammad I. Kenyatta, is the latest candidate to join what is likely to be a crowded race.

PHILADELPHIA — State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, a Democrat, said Thursday that he is running for Pennsylvania’s open US Senate seat in next year’s election.

Kenyatta, 30, is in his second term in the state House of Representatives. Last year, he campaigned around the country for President Joe Biden and was one of 17 people to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

He also in his short time in office has become one of the most visible speakers in debates in the Republican-controlled House.

The grandson of the late civil rights activist Muhammad I. Kenyatta, he became the first openly gay person of color to serve in the state House after he was elected in 2018.

The race could become the nation’s most competitive Senate contest next year. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey announced in October that he would not run for a third term.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, from the Pittsburgh-area town of Braddock, also has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

On the Republican side, Jeff Bartos, the GOP’s unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in 2018, has filed paperwork to run, as have more than a half-dozen of unknown or first-time candidates from both parties.