As Dea Thomas knocked on doors in South Baltimore, her growing belly took center stage.
She’d tell voters she wanted to make the city a better place for the son she was expecting this spring. Although Thomas had launched her candidacy before the baby was on the way, her pregnancy quickly became integral to her campaign for the House of Delegates — a way to connect with people and a symbol of hope for the future.
This week, her miscarriage became a central part of her campaign, too.
Thomas distributed a tearful video Wednesday, saying she was rushed to the hospital last week and lost the baby at almost seven months into her pregnancy.
With her fiance, Calvin Young, at her side, Thomas said she considered suspending her candidacy for the 46th District, but decided that was not “the right thing to do.”
“Every one of us in Baltimore has experienced a hardship that we’ve had to overcome by picking ourselves up and pushing on through,” Thomas said. “I’ve decided to honor my late son by continuing this fight.”
The video, labeled by her campaign as “a commercial,” invites people to visit her website to help continue her campaign. Her campaign page has fewer than 1,000 fans, but the video was being watched more than 1,000 times an hour, her campaign said.
Thomas said in an interview that since she posted the video Wednesday morning, she’s been overwhelmed by the number of close friends who have revealed to her that they also had pregnancies end in miscarriages.
She said many friends told her they had been too ashamed to talk about their losses, but were encouraged by her.
Thomas said she didn’t feel like she had much choice but to be open about it.
“We shared our story and how excited we were to have this baby boy,” she said. “Everyone knew. Everyone was so excited.”
Thomas said the baby’s heartbeat had stopped, but that doctors could not tell her why the otherwise healthy pregnancy ended.
“We don’t know what happened,” she said.
Thomas, a Democrat, is running for one of three seats in a Baltimore district that includes Federal Hill and the Otterbein neighborhood where she grew up.
She faces a slate of three Democratic incumbents who are campaigning together as Team 46 — Dels. Luke Clippinger, Brooke Lierman and Robbyn Lewis — and two other challengers, Nate Loewentheil and Scotty Christopher Womer in the June 26 primary. No Republicans have filed to run for the seat.
Thomas sought the seat in December 2016 when then-Del. Pete Hammen left the legislature to join city government. The district’s Democratic central committee appointed Lewis to the post, and Thomas received the second-most votes. A month earlier, Thomas finished second in a crowded race for the Baltimore City Council seat now held by Eric Costello.
Thomas said she hoped that her decision to openly talk about her miscarriage “can be a testimony to help other women as they go through this experience.”