A Republican congressional candidate looking to fill a vacant seat left by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings criticized Democrats over squalid conditions in Baltimore in a recent political ad.
Kimberly Klacik posted a video Monday to her Twitter account featuring her walking through neighborhoods lined with blighted buildings while highlighting the city’s poverty and crime rate.
“Do you care about Black lives? The people that run Baltimore don’t,” she says in the beginning of the nearly three-minute video. “I can prove it. Walk with me.”
“Look at this,” she says as the video features rows of abandoned homes. “How are children supposed to live and play here.”
She noted that the Maryland city is one of the most dangerous in the country due to a surge in gun violence and alcohol deaths, she said. She also acknowledged the city’s climbing poverty rate and “crumbling infrastructure.”
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“Baltimore’s been run by the Democratic Party for 53 years. What is the result of their decades of leadership?” Klacik asks.
She accused the Democratic Party of betraying Black people while criticizing the movement to defund police departments in the wake of a nationwide reckoning over law enforcement practices and racism. The video features several people stating their opposition to such efforts.
“I had three sons killed in Baltimore city and I think if we defund the police officers it’s going to be worse than that,” one man says. “So no, I’m opposed to that.”
“How do you defend your city, your community,” another person asks if police budgets are slashed.
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Klacik mentioned a frequent GOP talking point about the state of cities controlled under Democratic leadership and the failed efforts to improve the lives of residents, particularly minorities.
“It’s 2020. Name a blue city where Black people’s lives have gotten better. I’ll wait,” she said. “Democrats think Black people are stupid. They think that they can control us forever. That we won’t demand better and that we will keep voting for them forever.”
Republicans have cited Baltimore and other cities as examples of Democratic policies that have failed to combat crime and poverty. Before his death last year, Cummings, a powerful House Democrat who represented Baltimore for more than two decades, traded barbs with President Trump over his remarks about the city.
Trump excoriated Cummings and Baltimore’s Democratic leadership, calling the city a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” He also said the city is “considered the worst run and the most dangerous anywhere in the United States” and that no “human being would want to live there.”
The remarks seemed to be in retaliation to investigations against him launched by the House Oversight Committee, which Cummings chaired.
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Klacik will face former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who won a Democratic primary for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District to fill the rest of Cummings’ term. He held the seat prior to Cummings. Messages to Mfume’s campaign were not immediately returned.
The district has voted Democrat since 1953.