Kweisi Mfume To Be Sworn in Tuesday as Maryland’s Newest Congressman

May 5, 2020by Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
Kweisi Mfume celebrates his win in the primary for the Democratic nomination for the 7th Congressional District in a special election to replace Elijah E. Cummings, who died in October 2019. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/TNS)

BALTIMORE — Twenty-four years after leaving the U.S. House, Baltimore Democrat Kweisi Mfume returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to be sworn in as Maryland’s newest congressman, succeeding his friend, the late Elijah Cummings.

The swearing-in will occur on the floor of the U.S. House, with a ceremonial session occurring afterward in the speaker’s lounge.

Mfume was expected to be sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was born in Baltimore as the daughter of Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro Jr.

Pelosi’s participation could not immediately be confirmed. The House floor has been mostly empty as lawmakers take precautions during the coronavirus pandemic and conduct strategy sessions from afar.

On April 28, Mfume won a mostly vote-by-mail special general election to reclaim the 7th Congressional District seat he held for 10 years before he left to head the NAACP. He defeated Republican commentator and nonprofit founder Kimberly Klacik.

The scheduling of Mfume’s swearing-in needed to wait until the U.S. House received a certification notice from the Maryland State Board of Elections.

“Welcome to the halls of Congress,” Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said Monday morning during a conference call about the coronavirus response with Mfume, county leaders and members of the state’s congressional delegation.

Mfume will fill the remainder of Cummings term. It ends Jan. 3. Mfume may be able to take over Cummings’ former office in the Rayburn House Office Building.

“It’s going to be surreal the first day I walk back into the congressional office that I walked out of,” Mfume told The Baltimore Sun after winning a February primary in the district, in which Democrats hold a 4-1 voter registration advantage.

Mfume is also on a June primary ballot — along with Klacik and others — for candidates seeking a full, two-year term in the district.

Mfume has said often that his previous tenure will allow him to regain at least some congressional seniority, helping him move up the ladder toward leadership positions. House Democratic leaders have not yet provided a response on how much seniority Mfume will receive.

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©2020 The Baltimore Sun

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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