AP News Guide: Special congressional election in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland voters are deciding which candidates will be the nominees for the congressional seat that was held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. A special primary election is scheduled for Tuesday. There are 24 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination. Eight candidates are on the ballot for the GOP nomination. The district includes parts of Baltimore city, as well as portions of Baltimore and Howard counties. The primary winners will run in a special general election April 28 to serve the rest of the term. Whoever wins the special election will have to stand for reelection in November to keep the seat.

Here are the candidates and some background on the race and the district:


The Democratic primary for the seat that Cummings held for more than 20 years has drawn a crowded field. Cummings' widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, is a former head of the Maryland Democratic Party. Kweisi Mfume, who held the congressional seat before Cummings, is a former head of the NAACP. Several state legislators are seeking the nomination. They include state Sen. Jill Carter, of Baltimore, and Del. Talmadge Branch, also of Baltimore. Del. Terri Hill represents a state legislative district in portions of Baltimore and Howard counties. Del. Jay Jalisi represents a Baltimore County district. Harry Spikes is a former aide to Cummings. Other candidates are: T. Dan Baker, Alicia Brown, Anthony Carter, Matko Chullin, Jay Cohen, Nathaniel Costley, Jermyn Davidson, Darryl Gonzalez, Mark Gosnell, Leslie Grant, Dan Hiegel, F. Michael Higginbotham, Paul Konka, Adrian Petrus, Saafir Rabb, Charles Smith and Charles Stokes.


Kimberly Klacik, a Republican activist whose online videos of trash and dilapidated homes in Baltimore led to President Donald Trump's posts on Twitter describing the 7th Congressional District as a “rodent-infested mess" is running. Liz Matory, who was the GOP's nominee in 2018 in a neighboring congressional district, also is running. Other Republican candidates on the ballot are Christopher Anderson, James Arnold, Ray Bly, Brian Brown, Reba Hawkins and William Newton.


It's the first time Maryland has had an election with same-day voter registration on the day of the election, since a constitutional amendment was approved in 2018 allowing same-day voter registration.


Only three people have held the office in the past 49 years. Parren Mitchell, who was the first African American elected to Congress from Maryland, represented the district from 1971 to 1987. Mfume held the seat from 1987 to 1996. Cummings served from 1996 until his death in October.


The district's next representative will follow a popular predecessor who cruised to reelection over 12 terms. At his funeral in October, Cummings was remembered as a leader who fought for civil rights and took on the White House as a prominent figure in the impeachment inquiry of the president.


Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 4-1 in the 7th District, which is home to landmarks like Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Social Security Administration, as well as cultural touchstones like the Baltimore Museum of Art. The national headquarters of the NAACP, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, is in the district.


Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 statewide in Maryland. Both of the state's U.S. senators are Democrats. Of Maryland's eight U.S. House seats, Democrats now hold a 6-1 edge, with the vacancy.


The primary winners will run in a special general election on April 28, which is the same day as Maryland's presidential primary and primaries for Maryland's eight congressional seats. The winner of the special general election will serve the rest of the term through Jan. 3. The primary for the full term in the 7th District will also be on the April 28 ballot.

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