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Challenger for Bevins emerges in 6th Council District

 Caitlin Klimm-Kellner. Courtesy: Caitlin Klimm-Kellner
Caitlin Klimm-Kellner. Credit: Caitlin Klimm-Kellner

Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, who has run into political trouble for moving out of her council district, is going to be challenged in the June Democratic primary.

Caitlin Klimm-Kellner, a lifelong county resident and a community activist in the Overlea-Fullerton area, has filed to run for the seat.

“We need change in this area,” Klimm-Kellner said. “We need equity that District 6 is missing.”

Bevins’ residency issue may weaken her reelection chances. But Klimm-Kellner said that is not why she’s running.

“I’ve had this in my head for a long time,” Klimm-Kellner said. “Where Councilwoman Bevins lives to me, while it is important, it did not affect my running decision.”

Bevins is in her 12th year on the council.

Bevins admits she moved out of the 6th. Once she realized that violated the county’s charter, she moved back. The charter states a council member who moves out of their district has to step down. The county attorney is examining whether Bevins violated the charter and if so, how that is enforced.

Bevins did not return requests for comment but has said recently she plans to run for a fourth term.

“I haven't abandoned my district,” Bevins said in a November interview with WYPR. “I haven’t stopped working for the constituents of the 6th district.”

Klimm-Kellner is 32 and is married. She is a freelance graphic designer and photographer. She said she also works in the family business, Crystals, Candles and Cauldrons in Hampden, which sells spiritual supplies.

Robbie Leonard, who is running for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County State’s Attorney, said he’s known Klimm-Kellner for several years. He said she’s been a leader in her community.

“Community members have been really appreciative of her leadership in fighting for her neighborhood,” Leonard said. “I’m excited to see what she can do.”

According to her campaign finance report filed last month, Bevins has nearly $84,000 to spend. Klimm-Kellner is just beginning to fundraise.

“She is going to need money and county Democrats’ support,” said John Dedie, a political science professor at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Klimm-Kellner said, “I fully expect this to be a grassroots campaign. I want to get out there with door knocking and actually reaching the residents.

“I’ve never left the 6th district. I grew up right at the heart of the 6th district and then bought a house with my husband literally across the street from where I grew up.”

So far one Republican, Towson University political science adjunct professor Tony Campbell, has filed to run in the 6th.

The deadline to file to run for political office in Maryland is February 22.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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