“I am, of course, devastated at the loss of my spouse, but his spirit is with me,” Rockeymoore Cummings, 48, said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun on Monday, announcing her bid.
“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 said.
Rep. Cummings, died on Oct. 17 at 68 years old, his office announced at the time. The civil rights leader died at 2:30 a.m. local time at Gilchrist Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins affiliate in Baltimore, after “complications concerning long standing health challenges.”
Rockeymoore Cummings told The Sun in her interview Monday that her husband told her before he died that he hoped she would take his place. Cummings held Maryland’s 7th District seat, which includes areas of both Baltimore and Howard counties.
“That was a discussion we had some months ago,” she told the paper. “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.”
The Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman said that she plans to kick off her campaign on Tuesday and will not only continue her husband’s legacy of fighting against President Donald Trump but will also focus on her own areas of expertise, like health and education policy, according to the Sun.
Before Rockeymoore Cummings gets too far in her campaign, she plans on taking some preventative measures for her own health and told the Sun that she will have a double mastectomy on Friday and will take up to four weeks to recover from the surgery.
“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, adding that the surgery was scheduled before Cummings died.
“It’s going to be a sprint election,” she said.
“I’ve been on this path for fighting for the soul of our democracy, for fighting for health care, for education, for a better America for all,” she said on NBC Monday, pointing out that she “fought right alongside Cummings for the last 12 years and we knew each other another 10 years before that.”
“He wanted me to continue this fight,” she told Rachel Maddow.
After Cummings died, Rockeymoore Cummings said in a statement to WBAL that her husband “was an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion and humility.”
“He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem,” she said. “It has been an honor to walk by his side on this incredible journey. I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly.”