Running as a Republican in Maryland's Seventh Congressional District is a duty that has historically been assigned to a candidate without national support, without any visibility, and with zero chance of success. Success by the GOP in the district which includes western portions of Baltimore City as well as parts of Howard and Baltimore Counties is a notion without precedent. In fact, no Republican has ever won the seat; Democrats have held control since 1953 when the most recent version of the district was established.
Republican opponents to the Democrat candidate have always played their part, gathering their tiny fraction of votes from suburban outliers, competing in a district that was drawn in 1973 for the long-term benefit of Democrats, assuring that the majority of the district was populated by African Americans. The fight has been a futile one, with Republican nominees frequently losing by more than 50 points.
But this year, Kimberly Klacik has a radical new message for the residents of Maryland-07: you don't have to vote the way people expect and you should vote your conscience, even if that means voting for the Republican. This idea may not seem so far off the edge or even fringe but for the people in that district, voting Democrat has been the only choice for decades. To even consider supporting a Republican would be tantamount to treason.
Klacik started out her political life in a very different way, almost an unprecedented one: actually going into the district she wanted to represent and getting her hands dirty. She set off in 2019 with eyes on putting her own boots (or stilettos) on the ground in West Baltimore, showing the reality of almost 70 years on one-party control.
Those videos, showing rat infestations, piles of used needles, and jaw-dropping urban decay made the jump to President Trump's field of vision and became a viral sensation.
In the months before his death, Rep. Elijah Cummings, who controlled Maryland-07 for 23 years, publicly feuded with Trump over Klacik's videos, castigating the president for daring to speak ill of Baltimore. Following Cummings' death in October 2019, Kweisi Mfume carried on his predecessor's message that everything in Baltimore is great and anyone deriding the conditions is just a racist.
But Klacik wasn't done. Though she was defeated by Mfume (who has a history of sexual assault and shady cover-ups you can read about here) in a special election to replace Cummings, Klacik was only getting started on her message to the people of her district. She knew she had to tell them that they had the choice to leave the Democrat swamp for a reality full of opportunity and economic growth.
"Many people told us that they have never met a Republican," Klacik said in August about her door-to-door campaign to get the message of choice and empowerment out. But in Klacik, they met a Republican who broke the mold of the racist monster they had been told to believe in. Klacik is not even a silver spoon, out of touch bureaucrat. She's a young wife and mother and the founder of a nonprofit that aims to empower Black women to launch their own entrepreneurial dreams.
And she's not afraid to knock on your door and tell you exactly who she is and what she'll do to help you have a better life. With the national spotlight still pointed in her direction, Klacik seized the opportunity to get out her message of giving power back to the people and demanding Democrats explain what has happened to the billions of dollars meant to help underprivileged communities.
With a viral ad, Klacik marched into the streets of Baltimore and painted out exactly how badly Democrats had failed the people that live there. That ad, shocking and emotional, was viewed more than 10 million times in the first few weeks of its release. It secured her a speaking spot at the RNC and turned heads across the country.
She continued to get more support from conservative voices and even more praise from President Trump, who shared her showstopping ad. In the past three months, Klacik's campaign has raised $6.4 million. Mfume, who had never even bothered to establish a footprint on social media, has yet to raise $200,000.
Klacik reported on Monday morning that internal and external polling has shown her draw within striking distance of Mfume, with as few as 12 points separating them – an unheard-of feat for a conservative in Baltimore.
We need more “rookies” on Capitol Hill. Vote out the establishment busy prioritizing special interest groups.— Kimberly Klacik (@kimKBaltimore) October 19, 2020
Maryland’s District 7 deserve more, they deserve better. With @realDonaldTrump, I will make Baltimore great again ????https://t.co/sDJbWLtWbr pic.twitter.com/RoMExPSZtJ
Even with the campaign success, the incredible ads, and the national spotlight, Klacik faces an uphill battle and overwhelming odds against her in the last days of this election cycle. But even if she doesn't win, Klacik has made history as a conservative woman and an outsider in a city that has been suffocated by bad Democrat policies for most of the last century. She has given hope to many people in a district who have thought for years that they had no choice in who represented them in Congress. And if Klacik doesn't end up on Capitol Hill in 2021, she's not going anywhere; the people of Maryland's Seventh District – and hopeful Americans across the country – can count on that.