Kimberly Klacik, a nonprofit founder and Baltimore County Republican Central committee member who lives in Middle River, won the Republican nomination in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District special primary on Feb. 4.
She faced off against former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume in the April 28 special general election to fill the late Rep. Elijah Cummings’ seat in Congress. Mfume prevailed in a mostly vote-by-mail contest to reclaim a Baltimore-area congressional seat he held for 10 years before he left to head the NAACP.
Klacik and Mfume will meet again in the Nov. 3 general election, after each of them won their party’s primary June 2.
Her national profile has risen in the past month thanks to a viral campaign ad that shows her marching through streets of vacant houses in Baltimore and blaming Democratic leadership for the city’s problems. She is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention on Monday.
A Republican has never represented the state’s 7th District, which includes much of Baltimore City and parts of Baltimore and Howard counties.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you should know about Klacik.
A Middle River resident who runs a nonprofit and is a member of a county Republican Central Committee, Klacik had the best name recognition of any of the GOP candidates in the race.
Her tweets and Fox News appearance about trash and blight in West Baltimore in July got the attention of President Donald Trump, who attacked Cummings and the district on Twitter, calling the district “disgusting” and “rat and rodent infested.”
Klacik, who gained tens of thousands of Twitter followers in the process, said afterward that she hadn’t wanted it “to become a political mess," but instead wanted city officials to address the area’s poor condition.
Klacik’s ad broke through to a national audience when President Donald Trump shared it with his millions of followers on Twitter. It has been viewed more than 10 million times.
In the video, she lambastes Democratic politicians in Baltimore and across the country. The final words of her 2½-minute campaign video are, “Black people don’t have to vote Democrat.”
Klacik’s nonprofit, Potential Me, focuses on workforce development for disadvantaged women. Her platform includes women’s issues, such as a goal to make oral contraceptives available over the counter at pharmacies to increase access to the medication, which resonates with voters, she said.
Her other top issues include supporting Trump’s economic revitalization agenda, encouraging homeownership and improving oversight of federal dollars.
Trump alleged last summer that “billions of dollars” sent to Baltimore have been “stolen or wasted”; he has offered no evidence.
Klacik does not live in the 7th District, but she has pledged to move there if elected.
The law only requires a congressional candidate to live in the state; candidates do not need to live in the district they seek to represent.
A Republican win in the special general election would be a massive upset. The GOP has never held the congressional seat in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.
The district’s voters are 68% Democratic, with just 16% Republican voters and the rest unaffiliated or belonging to third parties, making it difficult for any candidate who is not a Democrat to win the seat.
Maryland Policy & Politics
Home: Middle River
Family: Married to husband, Jeff; the couple has a 3-year-old daughter, Olivia
Education: Attended Bowie State University, but said she dropped out after being bullied over a medical condition called alopecia that caused her hair to fall out
Experience: Head of a nonprofit, Potential Me, focused on workforce development for disadvantaged women; member of a Baltimore County Republican Central Committee
Baltimore Sun reporter Talia Richman contributed to this article.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Klacik’s age and relationship status. The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Klacik’s age and relationship status. The Sun regrets the errors.