November Hopefuls’ Campaign Ads Slam Baltimore Democrats

Baltimore City businessman Bob Wallace announced he's running in the 2020 mayoral race as an independent candidate. Photo courtesy of Nevins & Associates

Baltimore independent mayoral candidate Robert Wallace debuted his first campaign TV ad Wednesday evening, slamming the city’s history of Democratic leadership during coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

According to a news release, the ad, produced by CYM Media, will cost his campaign six figures to air.

“While the major parties hold their conventions and make their cases to America for why they’re best suited to address our nation’s issues, I will be making my case for why Baltimore needs to take a new direction in City Hall,” Wallace said in a statement. “This six-figure ad buy will span several weeks and begin making the case for why I am best suited to address the issues facing our city as a successful businessman and Independent candidate.”

Wallace, a former Republican, entered the city’s mayoral race as an independent two weeks before the June primary election. He will face off against Republican Shannon Wright, David Harding of the Working Class Party and current City Council President Brandon M. Scott, who narrowly beat former mayor Sheila Dixon in the Democratic primary.

Scott represented Maryland during the 2020 Democratic National Convention’s state roll call, broadcast Tuesday evening.

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections website, Independent candidate and real estate developer Kahan Singh Dhillon Jr., who had also planned to appear on the ballot, failed to submit the required number of signatures.

Wallace’s campaign announced last week that he had secured 8,000 signatures, well exceeding the reduced requirement.

He has been endorsed by former Democratic mayoral candidate T.J. Smith, who announced last week that he had joined his campaign team.

Wallace’s 30-second campaign advertisement, which will air on cable and broadcast TV networks, gives viewers a quick glance at the mayoral hopeful’s bootstraps story, beginning in front of his childhood home in South Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood.

“We came up poor,” Wallace narrates, “and while the skyline was just across the bridge it seemed so far away.”

Wallace was born to parents who he said had financial struggles. Through hard work and discipline, he attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, studied mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and received a master’s degree at Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business.

Before starting his own tech and energy companies, Wallace worked for IBM, DuPont and Proctor & Gamble.

In his ad, Wallace slams former Democratic administrations, saying he’s watched Baltimore “slide backwards over the last 10 years due to poor decisions and even worse leadership.”

“This upcoming election promises to be a historic one for Baltimore,” he said in a statement. “We need to make a change now from the status quo of our past failed city leaders before it is too late for our communities, our families, our young people and our entire city.”

He isn’t the only November hopeful to disparage the city’s Democratic leadership.

District 7 congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik (R) released a controversial online campaign ad Tuesday titled, “Black Lives Don’t Matter to Democrats,” which has attracted national attention.

“Do you care about Black lives?” Klacik asks. “The people that run Baltimore don’t. I can prove it.”

The nearly three-minute-long video portrays Klacik walking through a desolate Baltimore neighborhood in red high heels, showing viewers “crumbling infrastructure,” “abandoned homes,” “poverty” and “crime” — what she calls “the real Baltimore.”

Klacik, a member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee and nonprofit founder, ran in the special election to fill the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings’ seat. The seat, won by Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D), is up for grabs again in November.

“Democrats think Black people are stupid,” Klacik narrates. “They think they can control us forever — that we won’t demand better and we’ll keep voting for them forever despite what they’ve done to our families and our communities.”

“Are they right?” she asks.

In a statement released early Thursday morning, Mfume struck back.

“My opponent refuses to live anywhere in the 7th Congressional District of Maryland but she wants voters to trust her and to vote for her. Really!”

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Hannah Gaskill
Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.