Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings announced Monday that she will be running for the congressional seat previously filled by her husband, the late Elijah Cummings. Cummings said during an appearance on "The Rachel Maddow Show" that she and Cummings had discussed her candidacy on October 17, at the age of 68.
"I believe very strongly that I have the background and the focus and the commitment and the ability to take the reins and to make a good run for this seat," Cummings said. "I fought right alongside Elijah for the last 12 years and we knew each other another 10 years before that... He wanted me to continue this fight and I'm going to continue this fight and run the race and prayerfully win."
The news follows Cummings' decision to resign as the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, CBS Baltimore reports.
"I've had a track record of working on issues like social security and Medicare ... I've been working hard in the trenches at every level of government to advance policies that help working families," she added. "And so I am prepared, and I am ready to roll up my sleeves and address what Baltimore needs."
Elijah Cummings represented the 7th Congressional District in Maryland, which includes Baltimore. Three Republicans and eight Democrats have already filed paperwork indicating their plans to run for the seat.
Cummings is expected to formally announce her candidacy at her home Tuesday morning.
Elijah Cummings' career spanned decades in Maryland politics. The son of a sharecropper, he rose through the ranks of the Maryland House of Delegates before winning his congressional seat in a special election in 1996. Cummings continued his rise through Congress in the decades that followed, and was an early supporter of Barack Obama's presidential bid in 2008.
Cummings was known for advocating for the struggles and needs of inner-city residents. He was a firm believer in some much-debated approaches to help the poor and addicted, including needle exchange programs as a way to reduce the spread of AIDS. Cummings was very popular in his district, where he was a key member of the community.