Elijah Cummings

Elijah Cummings
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 7th district
Assumed office
April 16, 1996
Preceded by Kweisi Mfume
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
from the 39th district
In office
January 12, 1983  January 10, 1996
Preceded by Lena Lee[1]
Succeeded by Sterling Page
Personal details
Born Elijah Eugene Cummings
(1951-01-18) January 18, 1951
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Maya Rockeymoore
Alma mater Howard University
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Religion Baptist

Elijah Eugene Cummings (born January 18, 1951) is the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 7th congressional district, serving since 1996.[2] He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes just over half of Baltimore City, most of the majority-black precincts of Baltimore County, as well as most of Howard County. He previously served in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Early life, education and career

Cummings was born in Baltimore, the son of Ruth and Robert Cummings.[3] He has a younger brother James. He graduated with honors from Baltimore City College in 1969.[4][5] He later attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he served in the student government as sophomore class president, student government treasurer and later student government president. He became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

Cummings graduated from law school at the University of Maryland School of Law, receiving his J.D. in 1976. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar in December 1976. He practiced law for 19 years before first being elected to the House in the 1996 elections.

For 13 years, Cummings served in the Maryland House of Delegates. In the Maryland General Assembly, he served as Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and was the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tempore, the second highest position in the House of Delegates.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

In December 2010 Edolphus Towns announced that he would not seek the position of Ranking Minority Member of the Oversight Committee in the next Congress, even though his seniority and service as Chair would typically result in him filling this post. Reportedly, Towns withdrew because of a lack of support from Nancy Pelosi who feared that he would not be a sufficiently aggressive leader of Democrats in an anticipated struggle with incoming committee chair Republican Darrell Issa.[6] Reportedly, the White House also wanted Towns to be replaced.[7] Cummings defeated Carolyn Maloney in a vote of the House Democratic Caucus.[6]

Caucus memberships

Cummings is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus during the 108th United States Congress.

Cummings received praise and a boost in notoriety following the Congressional panel hearings on steroids in March 2005. While investigating the use of steroids in sports, the panel called numerous baseball players to testify, including former single season home run record holder Mark McGwire. After McGwire answered many questions in a vague fashion, Cummings demanded to know if he was "taking the Fifth", referring to the Fifth Amendment. McGwire responded by saying, "I am here to talk about the future, not about the past." The exchange came to epitomize the entire inquiry.


Cummings introduced the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, a bipartisan bill signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2014. The bill, which Cummings cosponsored with Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, is a set of amendments to the Federal Records Act and Presidential Records Act. Among other provisions, the bill modernizes the definition of a federal record to expressly include electronic documents.[8][9]

Cummings supported the Smart Savings Act, a bill that would make the default investment in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) an age-appropriate target date asset allocation investment fund (L Fund) instead of the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund).[10] Cummings called the bill a "commonsense change" and argued that the bill "will enable workers to take full advantage of a diversified fund designed to yield higher returns".[11]

Cummings introduced the All Circuit Review Extension Act, a bill that would extend for three years the authority for federal employees who appeal a judgment of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to file their appeal at any federal court, instead of only the U.S. Court of Appeals.[12] Cummings said that this program is important to extend because it "allows whistleblowers to file appeals where they live rather than being limited to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals".[13] He also said that the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has "an abysmal track record in whistleblower cases".[13]

Political campaigns

Five-term Congressman Kweisi Mfume resigned in February 1996 to take the presidency of the NAACP. Cummings won a crowded seven-way Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district—with 37.5% of the vote. In the special election, he defeated Republican Kenneth Konder with over 80 percent of the vote. He defeated Konder again in November by a similar margin to win the seat in his own right.

Cummings has been reelected nine times since then with no substantive opposition, never dropping below 65% of the vote and even running unopposed in 2006. He won a tenth full term in 2014 with 69.9% of the vote.

Electoral history

Maryland's 7th congressional district: Results 1996–2014[14][15]
Year Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1996 Special Elijah Cummings Democratic 18,870 80.9% Kenneth Kondner Republican 4,449 19.1%
1996 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 115,764 83.5% Kenneth Kondner Republican 22,929 16.5%
1998 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 112,699 85.7% Kenneth Kondner Republican 18,742 14.3%
2000 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 134,066 87.0% Kenneth Kondner Republican 19,773 12.8%
2002 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 137,047 73.5% Joseph E. Ward Republican 49,172 26.4%
2004 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 179,189 73.4% Tony Salazar Republican 60,102 24.6% Virginia Rodino Green 4,727 1.9%
2006 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 158,830 98.1% Write-in Candidates 3,147 1.9%
2008 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 227,379 79.5% Michael Hargadon Republican 53,147 18.6% Ronald Owens-Bey Libertarian 5,214 1.8%
2010 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 152,669 75.2% Frank Mirabile Republican 46,375 22.8% Scott Spencer Libertarian 3,814 1.9%
2012 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 247,770 76.5% Frank Mirabile Republican 67,405 20.8% Ronald Owens-Bey Libertarian 8,211 2.5%
2014 General Elijah Cummings Democratic 144,639 69.9% Corrogan Vaughn Republican 55,860 27.0% Scott Soffen Libertarian 6,103 3.0%

Personal life

Cummings serves on numerous Maryland boards and commissions including the Board of Visitors (BOV) to the United States Naval Academy and the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel (ECYP). He is an honorary member of the Baltimore Zoo Board of Trustees.[16]

In addition to his many speaking engagements, he writes a biweekly column for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper. He currently lives in the Madison Park community in Baltimore, and is an active member of the New Psalmist Baptist Church.

He is married to Maya Rockeymoore.[17]

In June 2011, his nephew Christopher Cummings, son of his brother James, was murdered at his off-campus house near Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was a student.[18]


  1. "`She stood very tall'". baltimoresun.com. 2006. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  2. Gibbs Smith. Maryland Government. Suzanne Chapelle. p. 65.
  3. "Elijah Cummings ancestry". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  4. "Baltimore City College alum: Elijah Cummings". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  5. "Elijah Cummings - U.S. Congress Votes Database - The Washington Post". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  6. 1 2 Brian Beutler (December 16, 2010). "Pelosi Power Play Doomed Towns On Oversight Committee | TPMDC". Tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  7. "Ed Towns Steps Down; Sources Blame White House". Daily News.
  8. National Archives Welcomes Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014 (press release), National Archives and Records Administration (December 1, 2014).
  9. Charles S. Clark, Obama Signs Modernized Federal Records Act, Government Executive (December 1, 2014).
  10. "H.R. 4193 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  11. "Oversight Committee Passes Bipartisan Bills to Improve Federal Worker Savings, Whistleblower Protections". House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. March 12, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  12. "CBO - H.R. 4197". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  13. 1 2 "Oversight Committee Passes Bipartisan Bills to Improve Federal Worker Savings, Whistleblower Protections". House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. March 12, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  14. "Candidate Details". Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  15. "Elections By Year". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  16. "Board of Trustees - The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore". marylandzoo.org. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  17. "Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.)". Roll Call. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  18. "Sailor gunned down on sentry duty, Navy says". CNN. July 3, 2009.

External links

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Elijah Eugene Cummings
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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Kweisi Mfume
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 7th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mac Thornberry
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Earl Blumenauer
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