7th District Special Election | WYPR

7th District Special Election

Credit Jamyla Krempel / WYPR

The special election to replace 13-term Congressman Elijah Cummings, who died in October, has sparked an unusually large field of candidates to run to represent Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. 

The district includes parts of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County. 

Election dates

Special primary election: February 4, 2020. 

Special general election: April 28, 2020. *April 28 is also the regular presidential primary. 


Find the full list of candidates here. Over the next few months, WYPR will post bios of all of the candidates. All stories about the race will be posted here as well. 

Voter information

Register to vote here.  Find your voting district, polling place and sample ballots here


When Kweisi Mfume resigned from Congress in 1996, a four-term Maryland Delegate named Elijah Cummings won a crowded special primary and special election to complete Mfume’s term.  Cummings, who went on to become one of the most respected leaders in the Democratic Party, died in October. 

Last night, Mfume won a crowded special primary to succeed Cummings in MD’s 7th District. He will face-off in a special general election against first-time Republican candidate Kimberly Klacik, an occasional commentator on Fox News from Middle River. She has promised to move to the district if she is elected. 

Joining Tom with analysis of the election is WBAL-TV’s lead investigative reporter, Jayne Miller.

In other election news: The Open Society Institute is holding a Mayoral Forum tonight at 7pm at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.  It is sponsored by the  Open Society Institute, and 24 of the 32 candidates running for Mayor of Baltimore are set to attend.

Tom Hall will serve as moderator of that event with Lisa Snowden McCray of the Baltimore Beat and the Real News Network.  Click here for more information.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

  Kweisi Mfume pulled ahead of a crowded field of 24 Democratic candidates in the special primary election to fill the late Rep. Elijah Cummings' seat on Tuesday, paving the way for a April general special election win in the deep-blue 7th congressional district.

“Experience matters,” Mfume, 71, said during a Tuesday night victory speech in northeast Baltimore. He earned 43 percent of Democratic votes.

Jamyla Krempel

The polls opened to some light rain Tuesday morning in the special primary election to fill the late Congressman Elijah Cummings’ seat representing Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. One West Baltimore elementary school saw a slow but steady stream of voters, though not everyone had their minds made up before casting ballots.

Mary Rose Madden

Despite Tuesday's unseasonable temperatures, it's the middle of winter, a time when folks don't typically vote. 

But that's not the only unique detail about the 7th Congressional District Special Primary Election. 

Emily Sullivan

Voters in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District are heading to the polls to cast their ballots in a primary race to determine who will carry out the rest of Congressman Elijah Cumming’s term. 

WYPR reporters are at voting precincts all around the 7th District, speaking with voters about what brought them out to the polls. 

Jose Luis Magana (top image) & Julio Cortez (bottom image)/AP

 Days after the emotional funeral of congressman and civil rights icon Elijah Cummings, Governor Larry Hogan announced a Feb. 4 special primary to fill his seat – and Democratic candidates in the deep-blue 7th congressional district were off to the races. 


“The whole race has been very fast. It's been emotional,” Martha McKenna, a longtime Democratic campaign consultant and advisor to Maya Rockeymore Cummings, said. “It's been the kind of race where people talking to each other about... why they're supporting individual candidates has a lot of meaning because the whole election has come so quickly, over the holidays and into the new year.”


Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

It’s Sunday morning mass at Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore. The choir is small but the organ is mighty. The pews hold a scattering of women wearing fancy hats and a few young men in suits. But for a Sunday morning, there are a lot of empty seats in this church.

For years, the black churches in Baltimore were hubs for the city's African American community - and their collective influence on Maryland politics showed results in electing judges and politicians. 

Three election days, two early voting periods, dozens of races, more than 100 candidates...we know it can be a lot to keep track of, so we've created a calendar with voting days and registration deadlines to keep you organized and ready to vote! 


Campaign finance reports for Maryland's 7th congressional district candidates were released at midnight.  Registered Democrats are the majority in this district - and they had the highest fundraising numbers. But many were surprised to learn that the biggest fundraiser for this reporting period so far, is a political newcomer.

Courtesy of the Spikes for Congress Campaign

Harry Spikes was an aide to Rep. Elijah Cummings for 15 years, serving most recently as district director.  He is also the vice president of the board of directors of the Community Assistance Network, a non-profit organization in Baltimore County that helps individuals and families who are homeless.

In 2014, Mr. Spikes ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. He is 37 years old. He lives in Oliver, on the east side of Baltimore. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Morgan State University and a Masters of Public Administration in Public Policy from the University of Baltimore.

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page. Click here to watch.

Courtesy of the Rabb for Congress campaign

Saafir Rabb is the CEO of a company called Interculture. He also leads a local non-profit and he was an advisor on the transition team of President Barack Obama.

Mr. Rabb grew up in Baltimore City and Howard County. He graduated from Poly High School. He holds a BA in Government, Politics and African American Studies from the University of Maryland, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a Diploma in Arabic and Islamic Jurisprudence from Abu Nour in Syria.

Saafir Rabb is 43 years old. He lives in Howard Park, in Northwest Baltimore. He is married and has three children.

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page. Click here to watch.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

More than a dozen Democrats running for the late Congressman Elijah Cummings's seat pitched their platforms to a crowd at the Baltimore County Progressive Democrats Club forum on Tuesday.

Many said they were inspired by Cummings, but they pointed out they had their own agendas.

Photo courtesy of Carter for Congress 2020

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates. Tom's guest for the hour is State Senator Jill P. Carter, one of the Democratic candidates running to fill the the vacancy in the 7th Congressional District created by the death of Representative Elijah Cummings. Twenty-four Democrats and eight Republicans have filed to run in a special primary election on February 4th. 

Senator Carter represents District 41 in the Maryland Senate, a seat she’s held since April, 2018. Before moving to the Senate, she served in the MD House of Delegates for 14 years; she was only the third African-American female attorney to be elected to the Maryland General Assembly.  She also served as the Director of the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights during the Pugh Administration. 

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, consultant, wife of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings and former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party is running against dozens of candidates who wish to be Maryland's next 7th district congressperson. The special primary is February 4th.

If elected, Cummings intends to bring an “equitable development” plan to Baltimore.

By Nate Pesce / Maya for Congress

 Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is a public policy consultant who holds a doctorate in political science.  She’s the former head of the Maryland Democratic Party and she worked for several years on Capitol Hill.  For a brief period, she was a candidate in the 2018 Maryland gubernatorial race. 

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is 48 years old.  She lives in Baltimore’s Madison Park neighborhood, on the west side.

Courtesy of Dr. Terri Hill for Congress Campaign

Today on Midday we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates. Tom's guest is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.

Delegate Terri Hill is a Democrat who is running to succeed Elijah Cummings in Congress, representing Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. Del. Hill is running in a crowded field of 24 Democrats. Terri Hill is a physician who grew up in Columbia, MD. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her medical degree from Columbia University in New York. She is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has practiced medicine in the Baltimore metropolitan area for nearly 30 years.

Dr. Hill was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014. She represents parts of Baltimore and Howard Counties and serves on the Health and Government Operations Committee.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page. Click here to watch the video.


Our series of Conversations with the Candidates continues as Tom is joined in the studio by Delegate Talmadge Branch, a veteran state lawmaker who has represented Baltimore and the 45th District in the Maryland House since 1995.  He has also been the Democratic Majority Whip since 2007.

Del. Branch is a candidate, running in a crowded field of 24 Democrats (and 8 Republicans), for the 7th District U.S. Congressional seat vacated by the recent death of Representative Elijah Cummings.

In Annapolis, Mr. Branch has served on the House Ways and Means committee; he’s a member of the Legislative Policy Committee and the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus. He chairs the alcoholic beverages subcommittee, and is the former House Chair of the Joint Committee on Welfare Reform.

Courtesy of Liz Matory

Republican candidate Liz Matory joins us for another in  our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  Matory is an author and the CEO of a small publishing house called Liberty Lives Media. She holds a BA from Columbia University, a law degree from Howard University, and an MBA from the University of MD.

Ms. Matory is mounting her third campaign for Congress after unsuccessful bids in two other districts.     

We live-streamed this conversation the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch the video. 

Tom's next guest in today's Conversations with the Candidates is Dr Mark Gosnell, a Democratic candidate in the 7th District.

Dr. Gosnell is the Director of the Intensive Care Unit at Medstar Harbor Hospital and also the chief of pulmonary medicine there.  This is his first run for public office.  Healthcare is one of his chief policy concerns.  

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch the video. 

Courtesy of Kimberly Klacik

Our Conversation with the Candidates series continues with Kimberly Klacik, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress. 

Klacik is a GOP strategist and activist who lives in Baltimore County.  She is the Executive Director and Founder of “Potential Me,” a nonprofit which provides works with disadvantaged women. 

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch the video.  

Photo Courtesy / Higginbotham for Congress

Today, it’s another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates ahead of the special primary election to fill the 7th District congressional seat vacated by the death of Elijah Cummings.

In all, 32 candidates will be on the Republican and Democratic special primary election ballot in February, vying as well for the nomination in the primary elections on April 28th.   

Tom is joined today in Studio A by F. Michael Higginbotham.  He is a legal scholar and professor, who has taught at the University of Baltimore School of Law since 1988.

He holds an undergraduate degree from Brown University, and law degrees from the Yale Law School and Cambridge University.   

AP/Patrick Semansky

It’s difficult to get voters to turn out for a special election, but the task of replacing someone as visible as Elijah Cummings might motivate Marylanders to cast their ballots in a special election primary this winter.

photo courtesy Mfume for Congress

Today, we begin a new series of Conversations with the Candidates: 2020 in advance of the special primary election in February, and the local and national primary elections in April. 

The congressional vacancy in Maryland's 7th District, created by the death last month of Representative Elijah Cummings, has attracted 32 candidates to an election to succeed him, including Congressman Cummings’ widow, a former aid, four state legislators and a law professor.

In all, twenty-four Democrats and eight Republicans have filed to run in a special primary election on February 4th.  The general election for the 7th District will take place on April 28th, which is Primary day for all other races in MD, including the Presidential Primary.   

Kweisi Mfume joins Tom today in Studio A.  He is familiar to many 7th District voters.  He held the seat for five terms -- from 1987 to 1996 -- before leaving Congress to head up the NAACP.  He stepped down from that position in November 2004.

Mary Rose Madden

State Senator Jill Carter has joined an increasingly crowded Democratic field of 17 candidates running for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in October.

Carter filed to run for the seat Monday at the state Board of Elections and has planned a “special announcement” about her campaign for Tuesday afternoon. In between those events, she attended her third fundraiser Monday night in Ellicott City, the southern part of the 7th district.

AP/Julio Cortez

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings joined an ever growing field of candidates today running to represent to represent Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, a seat last occupied by her late husband, Elijah Cummings.

Rachel Baye

The first time Kweisi Mfume was elected to represent Maryland’s seventh congressional district, he was 38 years old. Now 71, he says he wants to continue the work of his one-time successor, Congressman Elijah Cummings, whose death last month left the seat vacant.