By Special to the Afro

Democrat Kweisi Mfume decisively won a mostly mail-in election to finish the term of Elijah Cummings who died last October, retaking a Maryland congressional seat he held from 1987-1996 before leaving to lead the NAACP.

Democrats outnumber Republicans 4 to 1 in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District therefore most media outlets called the race for Mfume over Republican Kimberly Klacik shortly after the polls closed. Unofficial results have Mfume winning 73 percent to 27 percent for Klacik. The race was a first for Maryland voters by being a mostly mail-in ballot campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic. Taking off his face mask before he made his remarks, Mfume acknowledged that the virus has impacted many in his congressional district.

Kweisi Mfume decisively won a mostly mail-in election to finish the term of Elijah Cummings who died last October, retaking a Maryland congressional seat he held from 1987-1996. (Photo by James Sippio)

“To the families of so many who have lost lives prematurely to this disease, I want all of you to know that from day one, all of my attention, all of my energy and all of my focus in the United States Congress will be on using science, data and common sense to help get our nation through this dark hour in our history,’ Mfume said.

Mfume was flanked by his wife, Dr. Tiffany Mfume, his son Christopher Mfume and his campaign’s senior advisor Professor Larry Gibson. 

The race featured three in-person polling stations located throughout the district with Maryland mailing 482,728 ballots to eligible voters weeks in advance to encourage mail voting to reduce public health risks. Mfume won a majority of votes cast in all three jurisdictions in the district.

The congressional district is made up of parts of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County and has the distinction of having the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state. In addition to focusing on the coronavirus pandemic, Mfume pledged to work with leaders in all three jurisdictions to address crime, education, food deserts, transportation issues, to support seniors and to protect the environment. 

‘I will give every ounce of strength I have to make change happen,” Mfume said. “I do not take this responsibility lightly.”

Mfume is slated to serve out Cummings’ term which ends in January and will run as the incumbent in Maryland’s June primary to be the nominee for a full term in November. He is expected to take the oath of office within the next few weeks. 

Klacik responded to her loss by tweeting: “That one time when hard work didn’t pay off. Perhaps one day District 7 will want a change. Proud of my team & the work we put in.”