Governor Larry Hogan (MD-R) has announced that there will be a special primary taking place on February 4, 2020 to fill Maryland’s 7th district seat. The vacancy comes after Rep. Elijah Cummings died earlier this month.
Maryland’s state law require there be at least 65 days in between the primary and the date of the vacancy. This time allows for candidates and the state to prepare, while allowing absentee voters enough time to participate as well. Jared DiMarinis, director of Candidacy and Campaign Finance for the Maryland State Board of Elections said the options were limited.
“December 31st would have been the absolute earliest date, and no one wanted it the 31st. We had to make sure we had enough time to mail absentee ballots out,” he said.
The special election will take place on April 28th, the same day as the regular primary elections for the state of Maryland. DiMarinis said that the timing has created a bit of a challenge.
“Now a new election process is started sooner, it’s a seat with high visibility and there is high voter turnout expected this year.”
Many political figures are calling for time to grieve and mourn Cummings. As the primaries approach, however, insiders are speculating about a number of potential candidates, including the possibility that Cummings' wife, Dr. Maya Rockymore, will run for his seat.
The Committee on Oversight and Reform has 23 days remaining to select their new chair according to committee rules.