Former State Sen. Frank Kelly appears in an ad for Catherine Pugh talking about racism

Mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson took to Twitter Thursday to question an online ad run by the campaign of State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh in which a supporter criticizes the amount of talk about racism in Baltimore.

In the ad, Pugh supporter and campaign contributor Francis X. Kelly, a former state senator from Baltimore County, argues that Pugh is the best candidate to become the next mayor of Baltimore -- in part because she can unify the races.

"There's too much talk of racism going on now," Kelly says. "I think what we need now is people of all races, religious and colors of skin to work together. The word 'racism' has got to be erased from our vocabulary."

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Mckesson, a prominent activist who has 325,000 followers on Twitter, sent a message on the social media site to Pugh that said: "Our city has systemic racial disparities. Are you afraid to talk about racism? Why/how this ad?"

The Pugh campaign, which was leading the last mayoral poll, did not immediately respond to Mckesson or to a request for comment.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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