Klacik, a GOP county official, conservative commentator and Donald Trump supporter who sparked the president’s Twitter tirade against Cummings’ and his Baltimore district earlier this year, had been critical of the revered Democrat’s leadership. Cummings died in October at age 68 after battling “longstanding health challenges,” his office said. Later reports revealed Cummings had cancer.
Now, Klacik is vying for his vacant seat.
“I’m throwing my hat in the race for the 7th Congressional District,” she told the Sun in a recent interview. “I have seen firsthand what a lot of people are going through — our violent crime is up 52 percent in Baltimore County and it’s rising in Baltimore City, too. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”
In July, the conservative activist posted a series of videos to Twitter showing vermin, trash and blighted homes in West Baltimore. The images caught the attention of Trump, 73, who re-shared them as part of a blistering three-day attack on Cummings.
More trash. More concerned residents. People live in the home with the silver van. This is @RepCummings district. This has nothing to do with race. Let us all pray the city removes the trash & install cameras to catch the individuals dumping on the property. #WestBaltimore pic.twitter.com/CCaRH5c0aO— Kimberly Klacik (@kimKBaltimore) July 27, 2019
“Elijah Cummings has failed badly!,” the president tweeted July 28, later smearing the congressman’s predominately Black district as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
“If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place,” Trump added.
The POTUS’ remarks drew swift backlash. However, Klacik rushed to his defense and argued Trump was only “repeating what everybody has been saying for years.”
Klacik, who is Black, now joins a crowded field of 11 Democrats and at least four Republicans looking to fill the late congressman’s seat. Among them is Cummings’ widow and Maryland Democratic Party chairwoman Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who on Monday announced the launch of her campaign to replace her husband in representing Maryland’s 7th Congressional District.
“He wanted me to continue this fight, so I’m going to continue this fight and run the race and prayerfully win,” Rockeymoore Cummings told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow this week.
The public policy consultant said she was “prepared and ready to roll up her sleeves and address what Baltimore needs,” adding that her platform would focus on addressing the opioid crisis, education and health policy.
“I believe that a better future is possible for Baltimore,” she said. “And so I’m looking forward to bringing everything that I’ve got to make sure that we have a better future for the city and the region,
Other candidates vying for Cummings’ vacant seat include former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, state Del. Talmadge Branch and Republican Liz Matory, who ran unsuccessfully for Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District seat in 2018, according to the Sun.
The final deadline for candidates to file to run is Nov. 20. A primary special election will be held Feb. 20, followed by a special general election on April 28. That election will fall on the same day as the 2020 primary.
The winner of the Baltimore seat will serve the remainder of Cummings term, which ends in January 2021.
Watch more in the video below.