ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) — Governor Larry Hogan has announced the dates for a primary and general election to fill the 7th Congressional District seat vacated by the death of Elijah Cummings.
Hogan made the announcement late Monday morning, right at the deadline of when a date was lawfully required.
The special primary election will occur on February 4, 2020, followed by the special general election 84-days later, on April 28, the same day as the state’s spring primary and presidential primary.
Officials say holding the special general election and spring primary on the same day will save money and avoid voter confusion over having multiple election days.
State law requires that a primary election be held at least 65 days after the governor’s proclamation is issued, and a general election be held at least 65 days after the primary.
The Governor's Office said it decided to hold the election beyond the mandated 65 days to give the State Board of Elections more time to ensure military members serving overseas can receive and return their ballots.
With the extension, candidates will also get extra time to file and campaign, while giving voters a chance to engage with the candidates.
“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,” said Governor Hogan. “We have chosen the dates for this important special election to allow for a robust campaign. 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.”
Certificates of candidacy can be filed with the State Board of Elections starting on October 30. Nomination papers have to be filed by November 20, while withdrawals will be accepted until November 22.
The State Board of Elections says it will immediately begin working with local election officials in the 7th District, which includes Baltimore City, and Baltimore and Howard Counties, to prepare for the elections.
Cummings died at age 68, on October 17 following complications from long term health challenges.
The 7th Congressional District had been held by Cummings since 1996, when he himself won a special primary and general election to replace then Congressman Kweisi Mfume, who stepped down to take over as National President of the NAACP.