Nov. 12 (UPI) — Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said she will be running for her late husband’s seat in Congress.
During an interview Monday with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, Rockeymoore Cummings said she will be officially announcing her candidacy for the 7th Congressional District of Maryland on Tuesday.
“I believe very strongly that I have the background and the focus and the commitment and the ability to take the reins and make a good run for the seat,” she said.
Rockeymoore Cummings will be entering an already congested race for her late husband’s seat that became available following his death at the age of 68 in October from complications from longstanding health issues.
As of Monday, three Republicans and eight Democrats had officially filed for the special election, which is scheduled for April 28. The winner will complete Cumming’s term, which ends in January 2021. The deadline to file is Nov. 20.
During the interview, Rockeymoore Cummings said she worked alongside her husband for over two decades, and that he told her prior to his death that he wanted her to take over for him if he were to die.
“We’d been discussing this for quite some time because he had been ill for quite some time, and he was pondering his future and what would happen to the seat,” she said. “So, about six months ago, we were talking and he said, ‘You know, I really do think you should take this seat.'”
She made the announcement the same day she resigned as chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party.
Cory McCray, Baltimore City State Senator, has since been appointed chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party.
In a statement, McCray thanked Rockeymoore Cummings for her service and reassured Democrats of the party’s “stability and continuity of service” in the build-up to the 2020 elections.
Rockeymoore Cummings also told Maddow that she will be undergoing a scheduled double mastectomy on Friday but will continue a strong presence online during her two- to four-week recovery period.
She said the decision to undergo the surgery was made before her husband’s death and is pre-emptive due to her family’s history of breast cancer.
Her mother died of stage four breast cancer in 2015 and her younger sister underwent a double mastectomy last year after being diagnosed with the disease, she said.
“I want to get ahead of the curve and take the bull by the horns and stop it in its tracks before it ever begins,” she told Maddow.
Her husband, she said, had helped persuade her to undergo the surgery, and she said she will keep her promise to him.
“Even though he passed away and even though this race is now before me, I decided to keep my promise to him and I will keep this appointment on Friday,” she said.