There was some speculation on who would fill the vacant seat left by Elijah Cummings’ tragic passing last fall, and after an election last week, it appears the man who Cummings replaced will fill the seat once more.
NBC News reports that Kweisi Mfume, a Maryland Democrat, took the oath of office on Tuesday. This came only a week after being elected to fill the seat for the remainder of Cummings’ term. Mfume previously represented the Baltimore district from 1987 to 1996. He left the House to become chair of the NAACP, a role he held until 2004.
The predominantly black district Mfume represents, once labeled a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” by the president, has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This wasn’t lost on Mfume as he took his oath of office with a protective mask in his hand. He gave a few remarks on the House floor focusing on the economic ramifications of the pandemic. He said the country is currently experiencing “its greatest economic collapse,” and acknowledged that many Americans “haven’t had a paycheck in weeks.”
Mfume is predicted to be re-elected in the fall to serve a full two-year term, according to NBC News. The House is now made up of 233 Democrats, 196 Republicans and one independent. The remaining five vacancies have yet to be filled.