Baltimore Democrats have huge voter registration advantage in Feb. 4 primary to replace Rep. Elijah Cummings

More than 422,000 voters met the deadline for registering for the Feb. 4 primary election for the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ longtime seat, according to new figures that reflect the dominance of Baltimore Democrats in the district. In this 2012 photo, people vote at Dayton Oaks Elementary School in Howard County.

More than 422,000 voters are registered for a Feb. 4 special primary for the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ longtime seat, according to new figures that reflect the dominance of Baltimore Democrats in the district.

The 7th Congressional District — which includes portions of the city of Baltimore and the counties of Baltimore and Howard — is one of the state’s most Democratic congressional districts.


Democrats account for 81% of the district’s 422,430 voters, according to the latest registration figures compiled by the state elections board.

The only Maryland congressional district that approaches that sort of advantage by one party is the 4th, which includes portions of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties and is held by Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown, a former lieutenant governor. About 69% of that district’s voters were registered Democrats in the last congressional election in 2018.


The 2018 general election featured a governor’s race on the ballot to attract voters. Maryland’s 7th District had more registered voters for that election — 484,275 — than now.

The Feb. 4 election is unusual because there is no other race on the ballot and because it is being held in the winter, when weather could keep voters away.

“Not only have I not run in anything like this, but the people in Maryland have never had to vote in February,” said former Democratic U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who is seeking to reclaim his 7th District seat. Mfume held it for 10 years before Cummings succeeded him in 1996.

Tuesday was the deadline to register to vote on Feb. 4.

The latest figures showed that 58% of the district’s 343,168 Democrats are from the city, 24% are from Baltimore County and 18% are from Howard County.

The Republicans’ largest voter numbers are in Howard County (34,964 voters) and Baltimore County (33,623 voters).

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The deadline for obtaining absentee ballots by mail is Jan. 28, and by Jan. 31 for online.

The Democrat Cummings, who had cancer, held the seat from 1996 until his death Oct. 17. Mfume represented the district for five terms before that and is among 32 candidates24 Democrats and eight Republicans — who filed for the special primary.


After the special primary, a special general election will be held April 28 to fill the rest of Cummings’ two-year term.

That is also the date of the regular U.S. House primary. Candidates who want to win a full term representing the 7th District must run in that race, as well.

Maryland congressional primary elections are “closed.” That means people can only vote in a Republican or Democratic primary if they’re registered as affiliated with the corresponding political party. Unaffiliated voters cannot vote in the special primary but will be able to vote in the special general election.

Among the other Democrats running are Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a former chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party and Cummings’ widow; state House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch; longtime Cummings staff member Harry Spikes; state Sen. Jill P. Carter; University of Baltimore law professor F. Michael Higginbotham; and Del. Terri L. Hill, a physician.

The Republican candidates include Kimberly Klacik, who runs a nonprofit organization and is a member of a Baltimore County Republican Party committee; former 2nd Congressional District candidate Liz Matory, and William T. Newton, another Baltimore County Republican Party committee member.