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Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is ‘thinking carefully’ about running for her late husband’s congressional seat

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings gestures after speaking during the funeral of her husband, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), on Oct. 25 in Baltimore. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, said Thursday that she is “thinking carefully” about whether she should run for the 7th District seat her husband held for more than two decades.

It is the first public comment Rockeymoore Cummings has made about her intentions since Cummings (D-Md.) died Oct. 17.

“I love Baltimore City, the counties of the 7th Congressional District, and the state of Maryland,” Rockeymoore Cummings said in a text. “I’m deeply committed to public service and I’m honored by the widespread encouragement I’ve received to continue Elijah’s amazing legacy. As I mourn the loss of my husband, I’m thinking carefully about the future and will make an announcement very soon.”

A special election to select a successor to the congressman will be held in April.

Rockeymoore Cummings is the chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, serving in that role for nearly a year.

In October 2017, she launched a bid for governor before dropping out of the race less than three months later. She cited “personal considerations.” At the time she ended her campaign, Elijah Cummings was being treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital for a bacterial infection in his knee.

Rockeymoore Cummings, a policy consultant, holds a doctorate in political science from Purdue University and has more than two decades of experience working in the public and private sectors, including as chief of staff to then-Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), senior resident scholar for health and income security at the National Urban League, and vice president of research and programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. She started Global Policy Solutions, a social-change strategy firm, in 2005.

Earlier this week, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that the primary election will be Feb. 4 and that a general election will be held April 28, the same day voters will head to polls to nominate candidates for the 2020 election.

Del. Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City), the majority whip in the Maryland House of Delegates, said Thursday that he intends to run. Mark Gosnell, a Baltimore-area pulmonologist, has also announced he intends to run.

At least eight other Democrats are considering candidacies, including both halves of the politically connected Mosby couple — Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Del. Nick J. Mosby (D-Baltimore City), close friends of the Cummingses.

Kweisi Mfume, a former head of the NAACP who held Cummings’s seat for a decade, plans to make an announcement Monday afternoon about his intentions.

Other possible candidates include former Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; Del. Vanessa E. Atterbeary (D-Howard), vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee; and three Democratic Baltimore state senators with years of community service: Sens. Jill P. Carter, Antonio L. Hayes and Cory V. McCray.

Candidates have until Nov. 20 to file.

Erin Cox contributed to this report.

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