The widow of Rep. Elijah Cummings is planning to run for her late husband’s seat in Congress.
“I fought right alongside of Elijah,” Maya Rockeymoore Cummings said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” Monday night, adding that she will announce her run Tuesday.
“I’ve been on this path for fighting for the soul of our democracy, for fighting for health care, education, for a better America for all,” she said. “And so he wanted me to continue this fight, and I’m going to continue this fight and run the race, and, prayerfully, win.”
Rockeymoore Cummings, chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, also told The Baltimore Sun newspaper that she would run for her late husband’s seat.
Cummings, 68, died Oct. 17, from what his office described as “complications concerning longstanding health challenges” at a hospice affiliated with Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Cummings had represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District since 1996 and as House Oversight Committee chairman, was at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. He was remembered for his commitment to liberal progressive causes, but was also known for his professionalism and decorum.
Rockeymoore Cummings said Monday that Cummings had been ill for quite some time and “had been pondering his future and what would happen to the seat.”
“About six months ago we were talking, and he said, “You know, I really do think that you should take this seat,’” Rockeymoore Cummings said.
The filing deadline in the race is Nov. 20. A special primary election will be Feb. 4, and the special general election will be April 28, to coincide with the presidential primary election.
Among those in the race are former NAACP chief and congressman Kweisi Mfume, who announced his bid last week, according to the Sun. Elijah Cummings won Mfume’s seat in 1996 when Mfume stepped aside to lead the NAACP.
Three Republicans and eight Democrats have also filed to run for the 7th Congressional District seat, according to the Maryland Board of Elections website.
Rockeymoore Cummings said that she has a track record on working on issues like Social Security and Medicaid and policies for working families.
“I believe that a better future is possible for Baltimore. And so I’m looking forward to bringing everything that I’ve got to make sure that we have a better future for the city and the region,” she said.
Rockeymoore Cummings told the Sun that she plans to undergo a preventative double mastectomy Friday, and that her mother died from breast cancer in 2015 and her sister was diagnosed last year with the disease.
Rockeymoore Cummings said on the MSNBC show Monday that the procedure was scheduled well before running for office was a consideration, and “before Elijah’s health took a really bad turn for the worse.”
Cummings went with her to the doctor for the consultation and “he agreed, and begged me several times before he passed away to prioritize myself.”
Rockeymoore Cummings said that recovery is expected to take two to four weeks, but she will be “laser-focused” on making sure that she is active and her campaign is strong.
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