BALTIMORE — The Baltimore County Republican official whose social media posts about trash in West Baltimore prompted President Trump to verbally attack Rep. Elijah E. Cummings says she’s running for the late Democratic congressman’s seat.

Kimberly Klacik, 37, who runs a nonprofit organization and is a member of a county Republican Central Committee, said she will file for the special election in the 7th Congressional District, a seat Cummings held for more than two decades.

Cummings died Oct. 17.

“I am throwing my hat in the race for the 7th Congressional District,” Klacik said in an interview. “I’ve 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.”

Klacik lives in Middle River, which is not in the 7th District, but she said she’ll move to West Baltimore if elected. The law only requires a congressional candidate to live in the state; they do not need to live in the district they seek to represent.

She is planning a campaign launch event from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ryleigh’s Oyster in Hunt Valley. State Del. Richard W. Metzgar (R-Baltimore County), state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-Baltimore County) and WBAL radio host Yuripzy Morgan are expected to speak.

Klacik gained attention in July when she posted videos to social media of blight and trash in West Baltimore. Her postings caught the eye of Fox News, which showed them, and then of Trump, who launched a blistering attack against Cummings. That kicked off a week-long war of words between the Republican president and boosters of deep blue Baltimore.

She has participated in several cleanup events in the district since then.

“Talking to residents about rats and infrastructure and vacant homes, there’s so much that can be done,” Klacik said.

Three Republican candidates have already filed for the special election to fill the seat, including Liz Matory, who in 2018 sought the 2nd Congressional District seat held by C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D). Republican Chris Anderson said he would announce the start of his campaign Monday in Baltimore.

Sixty-eight percent of the district’s voters are Democrats, 16 percent are Republicans and the rest are unaffiliated or belong to third parties, making it difficult for any candidate who is not a Democrat to win the seat.

On the Democratic side, former congressman and NAACP president Kweisi Mfume and state Del. Talmadge Branch (Baltimore City) have announced campaigns for the office. State Sen. Jill P. Carter (Baltimore City) has formed an exploratory committee and is holding fundraising events. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Cummings’s widow and chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, and former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are among others who have said they are considering running.

Eight other Democrats have formally filed to run.

There’s a deadline of Nov. 20 to file to run in a special primary Feb. 4 in the district, which includes parts of the city of Baltimore and the counties of Baltimore and Howard. After the special primary, a special general election will be held April 28. The winner of that election will fill the remainder of Cummings’s term, which ends in January 2021.

April 28 also is the date of Maryland’s regular primary election for candidates for Congress from all eight districts in the state; winners will go on to compete in November for two-year terms that begin in January 2021.

— Baltimore Sun