Karl Gamble: The barber who wants to be a state representative

It’s just after 1 p.m. when Karl Gamble eases his brother’s beige Cadillac into the parking lot of the Awbury Recreation Center in East Germantown, the first campaign stop of the day.

Gamble, who is running for state representative in the 201st Legislative District, stayed up until 2 a.m. planting lawn signs and plastering posters onto telephone poles. The sight of the center’s brick façade, though, seems to be giving the sleep-hungry hopeful a boost.

“This is my home base,” says Gamble, a first-time candidate. “First time I voted, I voted here. I’ve been working on the polls ever since. I became a committeeperson here and been through every election that any candidate has ever ran here. Now it’s my turn.”

Ain’t no stopping him now?

Soon after casting his ballot, another one of Gamble’s pick-me-ups appears. A van with a sound-system strapped to the roof parks as McFadden and Whitehead’s “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” charges through the silence outside. Gamble’s been listening to the tune non-stop throughout the campaign.

“It puts inspiration in me,” he says before heading off for polls at Frances D. Pastorius Elementary School and Lonnie Young Recreation Center.

Asked about his plans for this evening, Gamble, a barber by trade, says he doesn’t have a victory party planned. He’ll instead watch the results from home. He’s cautiously optimistic about his chances.

“Even if we win, there’s still a lot to get done,” says Gamble. “The victory is when the community becomes united.”

Gamble is vying against Stephen Kinsey and Michael Ellis in this year’s Democratic primary. Rep. John Myers, who has held the seat for 17-years, is retiring from the post.

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