Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) on Monday fired the starting gun for the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) – but no major candidates have jumped in yet.
Ten days after Cummings’ death at the age of 68, Hogan formally declared a vacancy in the 7th Congressional District and scheduled the special election for April 28 – coinciding with the regular 2020 party primaries in the state. The special primary to fill Cummings’ seat has been scheduled for Feb. 4 – and the Democratic primary is likely to produce the district’s next representative.
It is possible that different nominees could emerge from the special primary in February, to fill the remainder of Cummings’ term, and the regular primary in April, which would produce nominees for the November 2020 general election.
In a statement, Hogan said he extended the minimum duration of the election for a short period to allow more time for the State Board of Elections to prepare and to ensure those serving overseas in the military can receive and return their ballots with enough time to spare.
The filing period for the special election will open on Wednesday, and the deadline is Nov. 20.
“It is imperative for the 7th Congressional District to have a strong voice in the House of Representatives, and today we are ensuring the process to fill this historic Maryland seat moves forward in a fair and timely manner,” Hogan said. “We have chosen the dates for this important special election to allow for a robust campaign.”
With no major candidates in the race yet, attention is focused on Cummings’ widow, Maryland Democratic Chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who is considered likely to enter the race. Rockeymoore Cummings gave a rousing eulogy to her husband at his funeral Friday, noting the hardships, physical pain and political attacks he endured while providing leadership at the local and national levels.
“It now falls on us to continue his work,” she said.
Other potential contenders include former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, state Sens. Jill P. Carter and Cory V. McCray, and state Dels. Vanessa Atterbeary, Talmadge Branch, Nick J. Mosby and Charles E. Sydnor III.