Rep. Elijah Cummings was one of those people who truly grew in stature and value to the country over time. His indefatigable stand against ceaseless efforts to deprave our institutions from the Benghazi witch hunt to his ringing words fighting Trump’s seemingly bottomless corruption provided badly needed moral voice and leadership. Nor did he forget problems at home even as he led on national questions.
Seventh District Vacancy
The Baltimore Sun explained the process for filling this sad vacancy:
Gov. Larry Hogan has 10 days to issue a proclamation stating a special primary election and a special general election will be held to fill the vacancy, according to the law. The seat will remain vacant until then.
The special primary election shall be held on a Tuesday that is at least 65 days after the proclamation was issued and the special general election shall be held on a Tuesday that is at least 65 days after the primary.
That’s near the end of February at the absolute earliest.
“The whole process could be five months,” said Jared DeMarinis, the state elections board’s director of candidacy and campaign finance. “And that’s moving it along.”
Hogan’s spokesman, Mike Ricci, said Thursday morning that it wasn’t clear yet when the special election would take place.
The elections board needs that window of time to get procedures in order. Ballots will need to be printed and sent out, along with other logistics.
“What we’re waiting for is when the governor issues the proclamation,” DeMarinis said. “That fills in all the gaps.”
In short, it depends how fast Gov. Hogan moves to call the election. The Third District takes in portions of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.
While I imagine many will be eyeing this rare opening, I suspect that Cummings’s widow and current Maryland Democratic Party Chair Maya Rockymore Cummings would be a lock for the seat if she seeks it. Beyond being this respected representative’s widow, she raised her own profile through her gubernatorial run and then her successful run for Democratic Party Chair in the wake of the 2018 election.
Oversight Chair Vacancy
Cummings’s passing is a also a loss for Maryland’s influence in the U.S. House. On the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings’s chairman’s gavel will be up for grabs. The committee has played a critical role in the impeachment inquiry.
Based on strict seniority, the post would go to Carolyn Maloney (NY 12), who has been named acting chair. Just behind her are Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC AL) and William Clay (MO 01). Norton, who also possesses significant legal chops, would be the first DC delegate to chair a committee.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD 08) is also a rising star on this committee. After just a couple of terms, he’s already eighth in seniority, which puts him ahead of fifteen other Democrats but still probably too junior to leapfrog into the post.