After months of remaining largely silent about Republican Kimberly Klacik, Democratic U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume took to Twitter to say his challenger doesn’t know Baltimore, doesn’t live in the city — and that she misspelled Baltimore as “Balitimore” in a widely viewed campaign ad.
Klacik, who has been endorsed by Republican President Donald Trump and has nearly 437,000 Twitter followers, had been taunting Mfume for not agreeing to debate before the Nov. 3 election.
“MFUME SCARED OF A GIRL? WHY WON’T HE DEBATE KIM?” read a campaign message she tweeted Tuesday, along with a headshot of Mfume appearing to glance toward the text. Klacik said Mfume turned down six debate requests.
Mfume, whose Twitter feed had barely mentioned Klacik, responded same day and said he hadn’t received those requests.
“You DON’T live here. You DON’T know us. Debate you?.... really?” Mfume tweeted. “Before you come for me …or my beloved #Baltimore...you should first learn how to SPELL it.”
Mfume’s tweet then looped a scene of a Klacik campaign video with “BALTIMORE LIVES MATTER” in black lettering on the top and “THE REAL BALITIMORE” on the bottom.
The video was posted on Klacik’s Twitter and Facebook feeds and retweeted by Eric Trump, the president’s son, who has 4 million Twitter followers.
Klacik lives in Middle River, which is outside the heavily Democratic 7th Congressional District. Members of Congress are not required to live in the districts they represent. Klacik has said she knows Baltimore from working there and would move to the district if elected. The district includes parts of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.
Klacik did not return phone messages Thursday seeking comment. Mfume’s campaign decline to comment.
Klacik is a commentator and founder of a nonprofit organization. She spoke last month in a video that aired during the Republican National Convention.
She was invited to appear after drawing the president’s eye with a viral video in which she walked through a blighted neighborhood and told viewers, “Black people don’t have to vote Democrat.”
“Kimberly Klacik is really working hard to help the people of Baltimore,” Trump tweeted Aug. 31. “She is running for Congress as a Republican, & if she wins she will be an inspiration to all.”
Mfume defeated Klacik in a special election in April for the seat held by the late Elijah Cummings. The Nov. 3 election will determine who holds the seat in the term that begins in January.