Mfume, Klacik To Face Off For MD 7th Congressional District Seat
Maryland's 7th District voters have decided which candidates will run in the April 28th special general election to fill out the congressional term of the late Elijah Cummings. Kweisi Mfume is the Democratic nominee after winning Tuesday's special primary. The 71-year-old held the seat from 1987 until 1996 when he left to lead the NAACP. During his victory speech, Mfume took no time in targeting his opponent without mentioning Klacik by name. “Experience matters”, said Mfume. “You know, if you had to have heart surgery next week, and you could pick your own heart surgeon, I don’t think you’d pick someone right out of medical school. You’d rather go to somebody that done it over and over again successfully. I understand the Congress of the United States.”
The Republican nominee is Kimberly Klacik. The activist gained national attention last summer when her videos of West Baltimore led to President Trump's Twitter attacks on Congressman Cummings. “People want something different, they want a change”, said Klacik. “[And] I think of Baltimore right now, they want accountability and I think I bring that to the table.”
On April 28 there will also be a regular primary to decide who will run in the November general election for a two-year term in Congress.
Maryland's 7th congressional district of the United States House of Representatives encompasses just over half of Baltimore City, some sections of Baltimore County, and the majority of Howard County. The district was created following the census of 1950, which gave Maryland one additional representative in the House. It has been drawn as a majority-African American district since 1973. The seat is currently vacant, following the death of incumbent Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings in October 2019.
The 7th District has a rich history of African-American history. The late Parren J. Mitchell was the first African-American elected to Congress from Maryland. Mitchell served as the district's House Representative from January 3, 1971 to January 3, 1987. In 2007, Mitchell was hospitalized at Greater Baltimore Medical Center for a week, but succumbed to pneumonia on May 28 of that year. He was 85. Mitchell was succeeded by then, Baltimore City Council member Kweisi Mfume. Mfume served five terms representing the district, but stepped in 1996 to take over as president of the NAACP. Elijah Cummings had served in Maryland’s House of Delegates for 14 years before succeeding Mfume.
Cummings won a crowded seven-way Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district—with 37.5% of the vote. In the special election, he defeated Republican Kenneth Kondner with over 80 percent of the vote. He defeated Kondner again in November by a similar margin to win the seat in his own right. Cummings was reelected 11 more times in the contests which followed, never dropping below 69 percent of the vote. He ran unopposed in 2006.
Cummings died at Johns Hopkins Hospital in October 2019 from a rare form of cancer. He was 68. At the time of his death, he was chairman of the powerful Committee on Oversight and Reform ---the main investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives and was instrumental in investigations and hearings on alleged misconduct of the administration and businesses of President Donald Trump.