Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a special election Monday to fill the late Rep. Elijah Cummings vacant seat in Congress.
Cummings, who represented Maryland’s 7th congressional district since 1996, died Oct. 17 due to long term health complications. He was 68.
The special primary will take place Feb. 4, and the special general election will be April 28, which is the same day as Maryland’s 2020 presidential primary. The blue district includes parts of the city of Baltimore, as well as Howard and Baltimore counties. It has been a majority African-American district since 1973.
Cummings, a well-known civil rights advocate with over 40 years of public service was reelected to his seat in Congress 12 times. He served as chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the House’s primary investigative committee. Cummings had a substantial role in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Maryland law says the special primary election must be held at least 65 days after the governor’s proclamation, and a special general election must be held at least 65 days after that. Hogan gave more time in order to allow those serving in the military overseas to submit their ballots in time and to give more time for candidates to file and run campaigns.
“We have chosen the dates for this important special election to allow for a robust campaign,” Hogan said in a statement. “Free and fair elections are the very foundation of American democracy, and we encourage the citizens of the 7th District to take part and let their voices be heard.”
The special primary will take place 76 days after the Nov. 20 filing deadline, and the special general election will occur 84 days after the primary.
Hogan said by holding the special general election and the 2020 primary on the same day, the state will avoid “the cost and confusion of multiple and additional election days.”
The Constitution requires House members be at least 25 years old, have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years and live in the state they represent.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York will take over as acting chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. A permanent head will be elected at an undetermined future date.
“Elijah Cummings was a courageous leader and trailblazer for our nation, and a true friend and mentor to me. His open, gracious, fighting spirit will always be an inspiration,” Maloney wrote in a Tweet.
Cummings funeral took place last Friday at the New Psalmist Baptist Church. Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provided eulogies.
“Elijah Cummings was a man of noble and good heart,” Obama said in his eulogy. “As President, I knew I could always count on Elijah being honorable and doing the right thing.”