Hamil R. HarrisPolitics

Kweisi Mfume Secures Win in Md.’s 7th Congressional District Primary

Former Congressman Likely to Finish Cummings' Term

Kweisi Mfume, former president of the NAACP, defeated a crowded field of candidates Tuesday in the Democratic special primary for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District to fill the seat vacated by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Mfume, 71, who held the seat before Cummings for a decade, is now a win in the special race’s general election on April 28 away from returning to the House, a near-certainty in the heavily Democratic district.

Mfume defeated Cummings’ widow Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and state Sen. Jill Carter, receiving 43% of the vote.

He will now face Kimberly Klacik, who won more than 40 percent of the votes cast in a field of eight Republican candidates. It was Klacik who sparked President Trump’s harsh criticism of Baltimore after she posted videos about how sections of the 7th District were filled with trash and blight.

The winner will finish out Cummings’ term, which ends Jan. 3, 2021.

But the race for a full term also begins on April 28, as the regularly scheduled primary will be held alongside the general for the special election, with many of the 23 Democratic candidates Mfume defeated in the special election likely to run again in the regular primary.

Rockeymoore Cummings, who sought to replace her husband and continue his legacy on Capitol Hill, told her supporters late Tuesday that her second-place finish was only a warmup, despite garnering just 17% of the vote.

“While the results on Feb. 4 are not what we wanted, we look forward to the 28th,” she said.

Early Tuesday, as she entered Eutaw Marshburn Elementary to cast her ballot, Rockeymoore Cummings invoked her late husband, who died in October.

“I feel like he is here with me and would be proud,” she told a group of reporters.

Carter, who finished fewer than a percentage point behind Rockeymoore Cummings, also promised to fight on in the upcoming primary.

In a district filled with proud families and strong labor leaders, Mfume secured the assistance of labor groups including the AFL-CIO.

University of Baltimore law professor F. Michael Higginbotham came in fourth. Other Democratic candidates included T. Dan Baker, Alicia D. Brown, Anthony Carter Sr., Matko Lee Chullin III, Jay Fred Cohen, Nathaniel Costley, Jermyn Davidson, Darryl Gonzalez, Mark Steven Gosnell, Leslie E. Grant, Dan Hiegel, Paul V. Konka, Adrian Petrus, Saafir A. Rabb, Charles U. Smith and Charles Stokes, according to the Board of Elections.

Klacik defeated a Republican field that included Christopher M. Anderson, James C. Arnold, Ray Bly, Brian L. Brown, Reba A. Hawkins, Liz Matory and William Newton.

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Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

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