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Who could succeed Elijah Cummings in Congress?

Cummings' widow, the Maryland Democratic Party chair, may be interested

House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings’ widow, Maryland Democratic chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, is the biggest name to watch to fill his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The death Thursday of Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will unleash a crowded Democratic primary for a yet-to-be-set special election in the Baltimore-based 7th District.

Maryland Democratic Party chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the wife of the late congressman, could clear the field if she’s interested. She briefly ran for governor last cycle and was elected state party chair in December.

The founder of consulting firm Global Policy Solutions, Rockeymoore Cummings was previously a senior resident scholar at the National Urban League. She has Hill experience too, having served as vice president of research and programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and chief of staff to former New York Rep. Charles Rangel. She also served as a staffer on the House Ways and Means Committee.

She dropped out of the 2018 gubernatorial primary when her husband was hospitalized.

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Marilyn Mosby, the State’s Attorney for Baltimore, could also take a look at the seat, as could state Sen. Antonio Hayes. Hayes is currently chief of staff for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. Former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake could also be in the mix. Other names to watch include state Rep. Courtney Watson and former NAACP president Ben Jealous, who lost last year’s gubernatorial election by 12 points.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has 10 days to issue a proclamation declaring a special election primary, which must be at least 65 days later, and a special general election, which must be at least 65 days after that, according to The Baltimore Sun

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Maryland’s 7th District is safe Democratic turf. Hillary Clinton carried the district by 53 points in 2016, and Cummings won a 12th term by 55 points last fall. It has the highest black population of any district in the state. 

There’s precedent for a crowded primary in the district. Cummings and 26 other Democrats ran in a 1996 special election to replace Kweisi Mfume, who had resigned to become president of the NAACP. Cummings won with more than 37 percent of the vote.

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