The widow of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings has resigned as Maryland’s Democratic Party chair to run for her late husband’s congressional seat.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, 48, is expected to formally announce her campaign at her Baltimore home Tuesday morning, news outlets reported. Congressman Elijah Cummings died last month at the age of 68.
“I am, of course, devastated at the loss of my spouse, but his spirit is with me,” Rockeymoore Cummings told 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.”
She says Cummings told her he wanted her to succeed him if he died. She said he was conflicted about whether he should to resign or stay in office.
Rockeymoore Cummings also said she will undergo a preventative double mastectomy Friday. She expects her recovery to take up to four weeks. Her mother died from breast cancer in 2015 and her sister was diagnosed with the disease last year, according to the newspaper. She said the surgery had been planned since before her late husband died.
She’s joining a crowded race for the 7th District congressional seat. At least six Democrats and three Republicans have filed for the position.
Rockeymoore Cummings, who resigned Monday as party chair, is a public policy consultant who founded the Washington consulting firm Global Policy Solutions LLC. State senator and party vice chair Cory McCray will take over as interim chair.
The special primary for the congressional seat is Feb. 4. The special election is April 28. The winner will fill the rest of the congressman’s term, until January 2021.