Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the former chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party and widow of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, announced Monday night that she would seek her late husband’s congressional seat.
“I believe very strongly that I have the background and the focus and the commitment and the ability to take the reins,” Rockeymoore Cummings told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, adding that her husband had wanted her “to continue this fight.”
Rockeymoore Cummings, a longtime political consultant and former 2018 gubernatorial candidate, said she’d had a discussion about six months ago with her husband about the possibility of running for his seat. Rep. Cummings, a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump’s and a beloved Baltimore son, died on Oct. 17 due to complications from longstanding health problems. He was 68.
“I am, of course, devastated at the loss of my spouse, but his spirit is with me,” Rockeymoore Cummings told The Baltimore Sun as she announced her decision to throw her hat into the already-crowded ring of candidates vying for her husband’s seat.
“I’m going to run this race and I’m going to run it hard, as if he’s still right here by my side,” she continued.
She told the Sun that she would be undergoing a preventative double mastectomy this Friday. Her mother died of the disease in 2015, and her sister was diagnosed last year, she said.
“I’m going to take the time I need to heal and do what I can behind the scenes to make sure my campaign is strong,” Rockeymoore Cummings told the newspaper. “It’s going to be a sprint election.”
At least eight Democrats, including former Congressman and NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume, and three Republicans have already filed to run in the special Feb. 4 primary for Cummings’ 7th District seat, the Sun reported.
The district includes parts of the city of Baltimore and Howard and Baltimore counties.