We’re on top of a very different Maryland 07 special election taking place in 2020.
Voters in Maryland will submit their ballots by mail as people continue attempts at social distancing, meaning this election will be anything but ordinary. However, there will be a handful of polling locations open on election day.1
We give you the lowdown on this race, our prediction, and the results on April 28, 2020. This is the first House special election of the year; more are coming, including a hot race in California’s 25th District.
Background of the Maryland 07 Special Election
The 7th District of Maryland was represented for over 23 years by Elijah Cummings, a Democrat. Being in the US House of Representatives for that long, you gain certain seniority. Cummings rose to chairmanship of the Oversight Committee, which he led until his death in late 2019.
As the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak grew, questions rose as to how to conduct this special election, or if to conduct it at all. Ultimately, the election remained on the schedule, but unlike what we witnessed in Wisconsin for their April Supreme Court election, voters are being strongly discouraged from going to the polls.
Profile of Maryland-07
The passing of Cummings threw open a safe Democratic seat. Much of the City of Baltimore falls within this district, which includes a great deal of the Inner Harbor area, Midtown, and East Baltimore. Plenty of Baltimore County is in the 7th District as well, including some rural areas to the north of the city and also parts of Howard County. Columbia and Ellicott City are a few locales fully or partially in the 7th.
This district has a majority African-American population, with latest estimated figures showing 52.25 percent of the total count.2
In his final election, the 2018 midterm elections, Cummings was re-elected with over 76 percent of the vote.3
A familiar face is the Democratic nominee in the 7th District: Kweisi Mfume. You may remember him for heading up the NAACP, but Mfume preceded Cummings as the representative here for almost a decade. He has been out of Congress for over two decades, but looks in good shape to get back there.
The Republicans nominated Kim Klacik, the founder of a non-profit called Potential Me.4
Maryland 07 Special Election Predictions
Let’s be honest: this is no Republican seat. Nothing about this race is favorable to them and everything is favorable to Kweisi Mfume retaking his old seat. What else is there to say? Come back for the results on or after April 28.
Special Election Results
As expected, Kweisi Mfume (D) is returning to Congress for the first time since 1996. He defeated Kim Klacik, the Republican nominee, with over 72 percent of the vote in Maryland’s mostly mail-in ballot. Mfume’s win increases the Democrats to 233 seats in the House of Representatives; there are 196 Republicans, one Libertarian (Justin Amash), and there are still five vacancies. Several of those remaining vacancies will be filled in May.
The result was in no doubt as the 7th District votes Democratic in a very reliable fashion. We observed a nominal swing to Klacik of about four points, which is not significant in that this was an unusual special election and the margins are so wide that movement of a few points will not raise any red flags.
1: The State Board of Elections, “Special Congressional District 7 Election Information,” Maryland State Board of Elections, April 23, 2020, https://www.elections.maryland.gov/elections/2020/special_election_CD7.html/)
2: 116th Congress My Congressional District, “Congressional District 7 (116th Congress), Maryland,” United States Census Bureau, April 23, 2020, https://www.census.gov/mycd/?st=24&cd=07/)
3: The State Board of Elections, “Official 2018 Gubernatorial General Election results for Representative in Congress,” Maryland State Board of Elections, April 23, 2020, https://www.elections.maryland.gov/elections/2018/results/general/gen_results_2018_2_00807.html/)
4: Colin Campbell, “Who’s Kimberly Klacik? Fast facts about the Republican who won Maryland’s 7th District special primary,” The Baltimore Sun, February 5, 2020, https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bs-md-pol-whos-who-district-7-klacik-20200205-tpuj4p6ofng25e6p5i4oisxvgy-story.html/)