Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Running To Steal All Late Husband Elijah's Legislative Badass Awards
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of Elijah Cummings, announced yesterday she plans to run for the congressional seat he held before he died October 17. She told the Baltimore Sun in an interview that while she's devastated by losing her spouse, "his spirit is with me," and "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."
Just in case you missed the funeral service in Baltimore for Elijah Cummings, here's Maya Rockeymoore Cummings's moving farewell to her husband:
WATCH: Maya Rockeymoore-Cummings' full remembrance at her husband Rep. Elijah Cummings' funeral www.youtube.com
She's a hell of a speaker, and with her announcement, automatically became the frontrunner for the Seventh Congressional District seat. We like her!
Rockeymoore Cummings (take note for future reference: both names, no hyphen) told the Sun that her late spouse had told her he wanted her to run to succeed him:
"That was a discussion we had some months ago," she said. "In the end, he was conflicted about whether he should resign or stay in office. We thought there might be a turnaround. It didn't happen."
She'll begin her campaign today, to get ahead of the November 20 deadline to file for the special election next year. She'll resign her job as chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, to avoid any hint of favoritism. And then she's going to take care of another bit of bother she'd been planning: Friday, she'll be undergoing a preventive double mastectomy.
She said her mother died from breast cancer in 2015, and her sister was diagnosed last year with the disease. Rockeymoore Cummings said she and her late husband discussed her undergoing the procedure, and it was scheduled before he died.
She said she believed the surgery would take her off the campaign trail for up to four weeks.
"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 said. "It's going to be a sprint election."
Two things here: 1) Fuck Cancer; and 2) Taking on a congressional campaign and having serious surgery like that is incredibly gutsy, and if Rockeymoore Cummings makes it to Congress, we'll just assume she's already bucking to succeed her late spouse as Wonkette's Legislative Badass of the Year. We're all pulling for her on the medical and electoral fronts.
The primary election for the special election will be held February 4, and then the special election will be on April 28 -- which is also the same day as the regular primary for this fall's general election. So to succeed Cummings through his next term, any candidate would have to win the special election in April, and then the general in November 2020.
While Rockeymoore Cummings is a decided frontrunner, she does have some real competition. Kweisi Mfume, who held the Seventh District seat prior to Cummings (Mfume resigned in 1996 to chair the NAACP), is running, as are several other Dems, and political science prof John Dedie, of the Community College of Baltimore County, told the Sun that Rockeymoore Cummings isn't necessarily a lock for the seat:
"As party chair, she's traveled the state and the region. That's an advantage for her," he said.
But Dedie added that Baltimore is "very provincial" and many locals may not view Rockeymoore Cummings as having deep enough roots in the city.
Rockeymoore Cummings, a self-described "military brat," was born in Texas and lived in towns across the U.S. and abroad while growing up. She said she has lived in Baltimore for 11½ years, since before she married Cummings in 2008.
"She's going to have to get out into the community quickly to make people feel that she's as much a part of the community as her late husband was," Dedie said.
Another poli-sci boffin interviewed by the Sun, Mileah Kromer, who directs the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said that since the entire Maryland congressional delegation is all male, voters may decide it's time to change that:
"Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings is an accomplished individual in her own right. She is not just the wife of a congressman," Kromer said. "She has the appropriate background for somebody to run for Congress."
Rockeymoore Cummings, in addition to her time as party chair, runs a political consulting outfit, and has expertise in education and health policy. So while she's running for the seat her late husband held, she's certainly not in the mold of the old-timey political widow "inheriting" the seat of a beloved male politician -- she's positioning herself as Elijah Cummings' political partner, not just the nice lady who ought to get the job out of sentiment.
We'll close with her interview last night with Rachel Maddow:
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings To Run For Her Husband's Seat | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC www.youtube.com
Here's hoping she's around to carry on Elijah Cummings's legacy of fighting the good fight -- and pissing off all the right people. As chair of the state Dems, she already caused a minor dustup in March when Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, seeking to distance himself from Donald Trump, said he comes from "the Ronald Reagan school of politics." That's nothing to brag about, said Rockeymoore Cummings, pointing out that Reagan's history of racial dogwhistles isn't anything to be nostalgic for. Damn right!
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