Gov. Larry Hogan today ordered a special election to fill the seat for Maryland’s 7th District in the House of Representatives, a position held for decades by the late Elijah Cummings.
According to state law, a primary election must be held at least 65 days after the governor’s proclamation, and a general election at least 65 days after that.
Candidates can begin filing on Wednesday, and have until Nov. 20 to do so. There’s a Nov. 22 deadline for dropping out of the race.
The special primary election for the seat will be held on Feb. 4. Voters will head to the polls on April 28–the same day as the primary elections for the 2020 cycle–to pick who will complete Cummings’ term ending on Jan. 3. Hogan said he chose to have the special election on the same day as the primary to avoid additional cost and confusion.
“It is imperative for the 7th Congressional District to have a strong voice in the House of Representatives, and today we are ensuring the process to fill this historic Maryland seat moves forward in a fair and timely manner,” he said in a statement.
The regular election for the seat will go on as planned, with voters choosing a winner in the party primaries on April 28 and then voting in the general election on Nov. 3.
Two Democrats–Mark Steven Gosnell, a Howard County doctor, and Baltimore resident Charles U. Smith–had already filed paperwork to challenge Cummings. Four Republicans–two from the city and two from Baltimore County–also filed to run for the seat.
The 7th District includes large swaths of East and West Baltimore, parts of central Baltimore County and pieces of Howard County.
Cummings, who reportedly had cancer, died at 68 while in hospice care.
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