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Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Announces Run For Late Husband Elijah Cummings' Congressional Seat

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Former Maryland Democratic Party Chair Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings announced her candidacy in the race for the 7th congressional district at a press conference at her home Tuesday morning.

The announcement came after speculation swirled she was considering running for the seat formerly held by her late husband Elijah Cummings, who died last month at age 68.

UPDATE: The special election polls are closed. See the results here. 

"I am here today, proudly announcing my candidacy for US Congress," She said, met by cheers.

She sent a tweet Monday night with a link to her website saying she was running for Congress. Hours prior, she resigned as the chair of the state Democratic Party.

At the press conference, Rockeymoore Cummings said she plans to bring fresh leadership to Washington.

"This race is going to be a sprint, it's going to be a sprint to the finish and it's going to be a series of races where the Republicans are already launching people as well," she said. "So this is going to get down and dirty probably, but I'm ready for it and I want you to know I'm ready for it."

Rockeymoore Cummings has a Ph.D in political science, runs a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., and until yesterday, was the chair of Maryland's Democratic Party.

Former Congressman Kweisi Mfume announced his run last week, with Jill Cart and Talmadge Branch among others in February's special election primary.

"This is about the future and not the past. It's also about leadership. It's about having the utmost integrity," Rockeymoore Cummings said.

She was also the subject of an IRS complaint from a conservative group, who alleged she benefitted illegally from her non-profit.

"I'll be willing to stand before anyone and refute those claims," She said.

Rockeymoore Cummings also announced she is getting a preventative double mastectomy, adding she had scheduled the procedure before her husband died and she decided to run.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Is Scheduled To Have A Double Mastectomy Friday

Though she said she's healthy, her mother died from Stage IV breast cancer and her sister was recently diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer.

The announcement comes as the field of candidates continues to grow after Republican activist Kimberly Klacik announced her candidacy over the weekend.

As of Monday, three Republicans and eight Democrats had filed paperwork to run for the seat.

Several other candidates, including Kweisi Mfume, who held the seat prior to Elijah Cummings, have said they're running but have yet to file with the state.

Candidates have until Wednesday, November 20, to file their paperwork. The primary election will be February 4, 2020.

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