Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, 48, announced her decision to run for her late husband’s seat on Tuesday, in an effort to continue the legacy Elijah Cummings set forth as the representative for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District.
“I am, of course, devastated at the loss of my spouse, but his spirit is with me,” she said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun. “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.”
On Monday, Cummings stepped down as chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, a position she’s held since December 2018. Tuesday’s announcement marks the second time Cummings stepped into the political pool. Prior to chairing the Maryland Democratic Party, Cummings ran for governor in 2018, but lost.
In a recent interview with MSNBC on Monday Cummings expressed that her husband encouraged her to run in the event of his untimely death.
The Cummings’ married in 2008 and enjoyed many fruitful years as a couple. Elijah Cummings died on October 17 at the age of 68 after battling cancer. His mark in congress was celebrated by his adoring peers and the constituents he served for 22 years. At his funeral, former President Barack Obama spoke lovingly of the bond they shared, a proper tribute which helped undo the damage attempted by the current inhabitant of the White House.
Cummings faces some health challenges of her own as she plans to undergo a preventive double mastectomy on Friday. She lost her mother to breast cancer in 2015 and has a sister who was diagnosed last year.
But despite it all, Cummings says she plans heal for up to four weeks while running a successful campaign behind the scenes.
“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,” she told the Sun.
A special election is slated to take place on April 28, 2020. If Cummings wins her husband’s seat she will hold the position for the remainder of his current term into early 2021. The primary for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District will be held on February 4. According to The Sun, 10 Democrats and three Republicans have filed to run for Cummings’ seat in the primary including Cummings’ former staffer, Harry Spikes, and former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. Both Spikes and Mfume eulogized Cummings at his funeral.
“I believe Baltimore and the Baltimore region’s greatest days are ahead of it, and for that reason, I am here today proudly announcing my candidacy for the U.S. Congress,” Cummings told supporters.
“I have been fighting alongside Elijah all these years, and he wanted me to continue to fight, and that’s what I’m doing,” she continued.