Elijah E. Cummings, a Democratic congressman from Maryland who gained national attention for his principled stands on politically charged issues in the House, his calming effect on anti-police riots in Baltimore, and his forceful opposition to the presidency of Donald Trump, died Oct. 17 at a hospice center in Baltimore. He was 68.Regarding his replacement, How & When Will a Replacement for Rep. Elijah Cummings Be Chosen?
The cause was “complications concerning long-standing health challenges,” his office said in a statement. Mr. Cummings was chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a leading figure in the Trump impeachment inquiry and had been out of his office for weeks while recovering from an unspecified medical procedure.
Born to a family of Southern sharecroppers and Baptist preachers, Mr. Cummings grew up in the racially fractured Baltimore of the 1950s and 1960s. At 11, he helped integrate a local swimming pool while being attacked with bottles and rocks. “Perry Mason,” the popular TV series about a fictional defense lawyer, inspired him to enter the legal profession.
“Many young men in my neighborhood were going to reform school,” he told the East Texas Review. “Though I didn’t completely know what reform school was, I knew that Perry Mason won a lot of cases. I also thought that these young men probably needed lawyers.”
For U.S. representatives, the U.S. Constitution requires that replacements are chosen via a special election. This is different than Senators, where vacancies are often replaced right away by a governor’s appointment, depending on the laws of the state.Sadly, they can do worse, and probably will. Stacy McCain, Democrat Impeachment Leader Dies
Article I, Section 2, Clause 4 of the Constitution requires a special election, so House replacements often take longer to happen than they do for the Senate. Clause 4 reads:
If a Representative leaves office or dies, the Governor of that State sets up another election.”Because of this, state governors will not appoint a replacement right away for Cummings like was done for John McCain when he passed away in August 2018. Instead, the governor of Maryland will call for a special election to replace Cummings’ seat. There will be a nominating process by political parties, primary elections, and a general election in Cummings’ district. This could take months.
Gov. Larry Hogan will announce the dates of the special primary election and the special general election within 10 days, NBC Washington reported. This requirement is dictated by Maryland Law: Title 8, Subtitle 7, § 8-710. You can read the full law here.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who chaired the House committee leading Democrat efforts to impeach President Trump, died early this morning.
UPDATE: “De mortuis nihil nisi bonum,” is generally good advice, but many people disliked Elijah Cummings, and they are not silent.