Graphics: Turnout for Maryland’s 7th District special primary was low, but not the worst in recent memory

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Democrat Kweisi Mfume, the former U.S. congressman and NAACP leader, and Republican Kimberly Klacik, a nonprofit founder and Baltimore County Republican Central committee member, emerged from Maryland’s 7th District special primary as their party’s nominees to finish the term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

The two will face off in less than three months, when they’ll also likely face at least some of those they defeated Tuesday. Both the special general election to complete Cummings’ term and the regular primary for the term beginning Jan. 3 take place on April 28.


While other races on the ballot then, including for primaries for president of the United States and Baltimore mayor, could alter the electorate, there are still some potential lessons to be learned from the special primary results. Here’s a look at how candidates performed in the district’s three jurisdictions as well as a few notes about turnout.

Democratic results by jurisdiction

Del. Terri Hill led her home jurisdiction of Howard County, where Maya Rockeymoore Cummings also posted her strongest showing. But that wasn’t enough to compete with Kweisi Mfume’s dominance in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, where over three-fourths of Democratic votes were cast.


Republican results by jurisdiction

Kimberly Klacik carried each of the district’s three jurisdictions. The Middle River resident’s margin was narrowest in Baltimore City, whose trash-strewn alleys were the subject of videos she shared on social media that helped raise her profile last summer when they were noticed and amplified by President Donald Trump.

Turnout by party compared with previous 7th District primaries

Measured as a percentage of eligible active Democratic and Republican voters, Tuesday’s 19.7% turnout, which does not yet include absentee or provisional ballots, was low. That was to be expected for a single-race election in February, when Marylanders aren’t accustomed to voting.

Turnout was, however, slightly lower in the 2012 7th District primary, when the Democratic presidential primary wasn’t competitive. And more ballots were cast Tuesday than were on Election Day in 2018′s gubernatorial primary, when, unlike the special primary, voters had the option of early voting.


*2020 vote totals are unofficial tallies based on active eligible voters as of Jan. 16

Combined Democratic and Republican turnout by jurisdiction

As they did in the gubernatorial primary two years ago, the suburbs turned out a greater percentage of eligible voters than Baltimore City.

Turnout by party and jurisdiction