BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dozens of candidates have officially filed to run in the special election to represent Maryland’s 7th congressional district in the wake of Rep. Elijah Cummings’ death last month.

Eight Republicans and 24 Democrats will appear on the ballot in the primary election on February 4.

Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College, says an open seat is like an open invitation.

“One of the things you have to keep in mind is open seats like this do not come along often in Maryland,” Eberly said. “So if you are looking for an opportunity to advance your career from an office you may hold now, or you’re looking to start a career in Maryland politics, this is a perfect opportunity to establish that.”

Among the candidates vying for the seat, which includes parts of Baltimore and Howard Counties and Baltimore City, are Cummings’ widow Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, former Rep. Kweisi Mfume and Republican activist Kimberly Klacik, whose posts on social media about conditions in the district drew nationwide attention and sparked a back-and-forth between Cummings and President Donald Trump.

The 7th congressional district covers parts of Baltimore City and Baltimore and Howard Counties. 265,000 voters cast ballots in the 7th congressional district last year, and Rep. Cummings got 76 percent of them.

Candidates had until Wednesday to file to run in either party, while those running for other parties or as an unaffiliated candidate have until February 4.

Among the list of candidates includes:

  • Christopher M. Anderson (R)
  • James C. Arnold (R)
  • Ray Bly (R)
  • Brian L. Brown (R)
  • Reba A. Hawkins (R)
  • Kimberly Klacik (R)
  • Liz Matory (R)
  • William Newton (R)
  • T. Dan Baker (D)
  • Talmadge Branch (D)
  • Alicia D. Brown (D)
  • Anthony Carter, Sr. (D)
  • Jill P. Carter (D)
  • Matko Lee Chullin, III (D)
  • Jay Fred Cohen (D)
  • Nathaniel M. Costley, Sr. (D)
  • Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (D)
  • Jermyn Davidson (D)
  • Darryl Gonzalez (D)
  • Mark Steven Gosnell (D)
  • Leslie E. Grant (D)
  • Dan L. Hiegel (D)
  • F. Michael Higginbotham (D)
  • Terri Hill (D)
  • Jay Jalisi (D)
  • Paul V. Konka (D)
  • Kweisi Mfume (D)
  • Adrian Petrus (D)
  • Saafir A. Rabb (D)
  • Charles U. Smith (D)
  • Harry Spikes (D)
  • Charles Stokes (D)

“They’re not necessarily going to be out there spending money, advertising, going to all the forums,” Eberly said. “That’s just reality.”

Still, there are a lot of choices for voters.

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