Elijah Cummings' Widow on Her Next Move: 'His Spirit Is With Me'

Md. Democratic Party Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings running for Cummings' seat
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2019 8:33 AM CST
Elijah Cummings' Widow to Vie for His Seat in Congress
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, widow of US Rep. Elijah Cummings, speaks during a viewing service at Morgan State University on Oct. 23, 2019, in Baltimore.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Elijah Cummings' death last month is still reverberating through DC, but there is no shortage of candidates looking to fill his congressional seat in Maryland's 7th District—including one close to the late congressman's heart. With a Nov. 20 deadline looming to file for a run in the special Feb. 4 primary, Cummings' widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, has thrown her hat in the ring, telling the Baltimore Sun that while she's "devastated" at being without her husband, "his spirit is with me." "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," the 48-year-old chair of the Maryland Democratic Party says, noting that she'll resign from that post, which the New York Times says she's held for about a year. She first announced her candidacy in a late-night tweet Monday, per CBS Baltimore.

Besides winning the Feb. 4 primary, Rockeymoore Cummings would also have to emerge victorious from a special election held on April 28, all amid what could be a crowded field: The Sun notes eight Democrats and three Republicans have already registered to run in the special primary. Besides her current role, Rockeymoore Cummings also founded the DC consulting firm Global Policy Solutions and ran a failed bid for governor of Maryland in 2018. She says she and her late husband discussed her taking his place months before he died. "In the end, he was conflicted about whether he should resign or stay in office," she says. "We thought there might be a turnaround. It didn't happen." Rockeymoore Cummings says she'll go ahead with a preplanned preventative double mastectomy on Friday, heal for a few weeks, and then start campaigning. (Read more Elijah Cummings stories.)

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