Law Prof Airs First Paid Ad of Special Election to Replace Cummings

    Michael Higginbotham, one of 32 candidates seeking to replace the late U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), is the first to begin airing a paid campaign ad ahead of the Feb. 4 special primaries.

    Higginbotham, a University of Baltimore Law School professor, is airing an 80-second biographical spot on several digital platforms and plans to use it on TV in the near future. The campaign said it has made “a six-figure buy” on digital so far.

    The ad, produced by a Washington, D.C., media firm, 76 Words, features artistically-shot footage of Baltimore — including Higginbotham jogging through several recognizable neighborhoods.

    “When Donald Trump attacked us, he didn’t know what he was coming up against,” the candidate says as the ad begins. “He doesn’t know our struggles. He doesn’t know our strength.”

    Higginbotham goes on to talk about how “so many people are going without opportunities they are due.” Then he lists them: safe streets, quality schools, well-paying jobs, good public transportation, and access to addiction recovery programs that are paid for by the drug companies.

    “My whole life has been about creating opportunities for people,” Higginbotham says — without saying what they were.

    “It’s time we get our fair share from Congress.”

    Less well-known than many of the contenders, Higginbotham is trying to gain traction in the wide-open primary by spending $500,000 of his own money on the race. Other top Democratic contenders for Cummings’ seat include the late congressman’s widow, former Maryland Democratic chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings; former Rep. Kweisi Mfume; state Sen. Jill P. Carter; and Dels. Talmadge Branch, Terri L. Hill and Hassan “Jay” Jalisi. Cummings’ adult daughters have endorsed a former aide to the congressman, Harry Spikes.

    Higginbotham was making the rounds in Annapolis Wednesday as the first day of the General Assembly session kicked off.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.