Kimberly Klacik, Black Baltimore Republican, loses bid for House seat in Maryland


ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Rep. Kweisi Mfume defeated Republican Kimberly Klacik, who raised millions to run against him with the support of President Donald Trump, as all eight of Maryland’s U.S. House incumbents were reelected Tuesday.

Mfume won a full term for the seat in a district that includes a substantial portion of Baltimore and its suburbs. The former NAACP leader won the seat in a special election in April to fill the vacancy created by the death of Elijah Cummings last year. Mfume held the seat before Cummings.

“In the middle of the worst pandemic we have seen in 100 years, we need proven leadership,” Mfume said after winning.

The district drew Trump’s attention last year as Cummings led investigations into the president. The president described the district then as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”

Also on Tuesday, Rep. Steny Hoyer defeated Republican Chris Palombi. As the House majority leader, Hoyer is the No. 2 House Democrat. In that position, he works to mobilize the party’s votes and acts as a liaison between Democrats and the party’s leadership to coordinate strategy.

Hoyer represents a Maryland district that includes a large portion of rural and suburban areas southeast of the nation’s capital.

In the presidential race, Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump to win Maryland’s 10 electoral votes in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.

In 2016, Trump received 34% of the vote in the state. A Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won Maryland in 32 years. George H.W. Bush was the last to do so in 1988.

Jessica Charles said she voted for Biden for president in Annapolis after spending less than 10 minutes in line at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center.

“I just think Donald Trump is a male chauvinist, and he has no respect for women, so for that alone I had to,” Charles said.

Carol Whittington said she was voting for Trump. She cited his economic policies and support for the military as reasons for her support.

“I think he’s the best man for the job,” said Whittington, who added that she changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican after Trump was elected president in 2016.

As state elections officials encouraged voting early or by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 2.3 million people had voted before Tuesday in a state with about 4.1 million eligible voters. The state elections board said more than 475,000 voted Tuesday.

There were fewer locations to vote on Election Day than in a normal, nonpandemic year, and there were some lines lasting for more than an hour in several voting centers in Baltimore. Lines kept a voting center open past the scheduled 8 p.m. close in Calvert County.

It was the first time Maryland had same-day voter registration on the day of the general election, since a constitutional amendment was approved in 2018.

In Baltimore, Democrat Brandon Scott won the mayor’s race on Tuesday.

Democrats went into the election holding seven of Maryland’s eight U.S. House seats, but couldn’t unseat the lone Republican in the state’s congressional delegation.

Republican Rep. Andy Harris won reelection against Democrat Mia Mason in a district that includes all of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. And Democratic Rep. David Trone won a second term in his defeat of Republican Neil Parrott, a state legislator, in the district that stretches from Montgomery County through western Maryland. Incumbents also won in the state’s other four congressional districts.

Meanwhile, voters have approved legalized sports betting. Details such as where it will be allowed will be decided by state lawmakers later.

Voters also approved a constitutional amendment to grant stronger budget powers to the state legislature. The General Assembly will be able to increase, decrease or add items to the budget, as long as the changes don’t exceed the total proposed by the governor.

For more than 100 years, when the governor has submitted the state budget to the General Assembly each January, lawmakers have only been able to cut from the proposal. Maryland is the only state that endows its governor with such authority over the state budget. It dates to a 1916 constitutional amendment that voters approved after the state racked up big deficits.

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