WASHINGTON — Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the 12-term Democratic congressman who has recently been beset by health problems, filed for re-election on Thursday.
Cummings, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has represented the state’s 7th Congressional District since winning a special election in 1996 to succeed fellow Democrat Kweisi Mfume.
The decision to seek another term, which Cummings had repeatedly promised to do, comes amid a second extended hospital stay over the past year. The 67-year-old lawmaker was admitted to the hospital in late December with a knee infection that required multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation.
Cummings told The Sun in an interview this week that he did not believe the knee condition was related to a heart procedure he had last year.
Should Cummings win — and the heavily Democratic 7th District has re-elected him with wide margins for years — he stands a good chance of becoming the oversight committee’s chairman if Democrats reclaim control of the House after this year’s midterm elections.
The current Republican chairman of that committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, announced this week that he will not seek reelection.
“We are in a fight for the soul of our Democracy,” Cummings said in a statement. “And the outcome will affect every American, now and in the generations yet to be born. We who are elected to preserve and protect our Constitution and our nation must step up and live up to our constitutional duty.”
The 7th District includes a wide swath of Baltimore City as well as portions of Baltimore and Howard counties. Two other Democrats, John Moser and Anthony Carter Sr., have filed to challenge Cummings for the nomination. Five Republicans have also declared their candidacies.
The primary is June 26.