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Maryland’s Klacik raised whopping $6.4 million after Trump shared viral ad; Mfume warns seat is ‘not for sale’

Kimberly Klacik, the Baltimore-area congressional candidate who has been promoted on social media by President Donald Trump and his supporters, reported raising $6.4 million in three months. The Republican, left, is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, right.
Kimberly Klacik, the Baltimore-area congressional candidate who has been promoted on social media by President Donald Trump and his supporters, reported raising $6.4 million in three months. The Republican, left, is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, right.

Kimberly Klacik, the Baltimore-area congressional candidate who has been promoted on social media by President Donald Trump and his supporters, reported raising $6.4 million in three months — a huge haul for a Republican in a Democratic-dominated district.

Klacik, who appeared during the Republican National Convention in August following the release of a widely viewed campaign ad, raised $6,445,451 from July 1 through Sept. 30, according to her report filed Thursday night with the Federal Election Commission.

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She has raised more in the two-year congressional campaign cycle than all but about a dozen current U.S. House members, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.

Most of her contributions came from outside Maryland.

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“I think we’ve been fortunate with that viral campaign ad that started the whole thing,” Klacik said Friday in a phone interview from Arizona where she is taking part in rallies with conservative candidates and supporters, including Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son.

Her contributors during the three-month period included Maryland Republican Party Chair Dirk Haire ($2,800); Dana F. White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship ($2,800); and attorney John Dowd, who has represented President Trump and led a gambling investigation of former baseball icon Pete Rose ($1,000).

So much money came in, Klacik said, “I’m pretty sure we’ll end with money in the bank. We definitely wouldn’t be spending it all on this run.”

Committees can save extra money after elections for future campaigns or give it to political parties, other candidates or charities.

Klacik’s 7th Congressional District opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, reported raising $184,349 during the same fundraising quarter.

He said in a statement Friday that Klacik is trying to buy the election.

“This congressional seat belongs to the people of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County,” Mfume said. “Donald Trump and Kim Klacik cannot buy it. They should take their money and greed somewhere else, because we are not for sale. Not now, not ever.”

Klacik reported having $3.6 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Mfume’s report said he had $269,342. The deadline for the reports was midnight Thursday.

More than two-thirds of Mfume’s campaign contributions came from political action committees, including the American Postal Workers Union Committee ($1,500), the AFLAC PAC ($1,000), and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC ($5,000). His campaign also received $2,000 from the election committee of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the Democrat from Southern Maryland.

Klacik received contributions from the Lincoln County Republican Party in Tennessee ($999) and the HuckPAC ($5,000), which was founded by former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Klacik’s overall fundraising total amounts to “a lot for a cycle, especially for a Republican in such a blue district,” said Brendan Quinn, the Center for Responsive Politics' outreach manager.

The candidates raising the most money nationally are "typically members of leadership, or people with really high public profiles, or people who are running against people with high public profiles,” Quinn said.

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The center’s top fundraisers’ list for the period from January 2019 through last September is headed by Republican Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the minority whip ($25.8 million); Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California ($16.6 million); former Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who is also a California Republican ($16.3 million); and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California ($14.2 million).

Klacik documented $2.9 million in spending during the period covered by the report. Her biggest expenditures were for online advertising and mailers, and she spent $25,000 on an internal poll at the end of September, her report said.

Her election committee also reported transferring $5,600 on Sept. 3 to the congressional campaign of Republican state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling. He is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger in the 2nd Congressional District in the Nov. 3 election.

The 7th Congressional District — which includes portions of Baltimore City and the counties of Baltimore and Howard — is one of the state’s most Democratic congressional districts, with Democrats holding a 4-1 voter registration advantage.

Klacik lives in Middle River, which is not in the 7th District, but has pledged to move to the district if elected.

She has touted her experience working for her nonprofit organization, which helps disadvantaged women.

In her Aug. 24 Republican convention video, Klacik urged Republicans not to give up on running in cities that are Democratic strongholds.

Her appearance came after a campaign video in which she walked along Baltimore streets full of vacant homes and asserted that Democratic politicians have done nothing good for Baltimore and other cities. The ad resonated with Trump, who shared it with his tens of millions of Twitter followers.

Mfume, 71, overwhelmingly defeated Klacik, 38, in an April election to fill the remainder of the term of his late friend, Elijah Cummings. The November election is for a new, two-year term beginning in January.

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