BY: ISIS AMUSA
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and Kimberly Klacik announced their campaigns for late Rep. Elijah Cummings' Maryland house seat on Tuesday, Nov. 19, according to Essence and The Root.
Rep. Cummings, who passed away from longstanding health problems on Oct. 17 at age 68, held his 7th congressional district seat for over two decades with goals of helping transform struggling Baltimore communities, according to Essence.
Rockeymoore Cummings, who currently serves as the Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman, announced she has intentions of filling her late husband's seat and continuing his work.
BREAKING: Maya Rockeymoore Cummings will run for her husband Elijah's congressional seat. pic.twitter.com/6WtInIwEDM— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) November 12, 2019
"I am, of course, devastated at the loss of my spouse, but his spirit is with me," she said in an interview with Baltimore Sun, adding "he wanted me to continue this fight and I'm going to continue this fight and run the race, and prayerfully, win" in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.
Though Rockeymoore Cummings has intentions of continuing Rep. Cummings' visions, former Mrs. Baltimore 2014 and political commentator Kimberly Klacik hopes to uproot his foundations.
If you can, please join myself & the team at our first official launch party at @RyleighsOyster in Hunt Valley, MD this Tuesday.— Kimberly Klacik (@kimKBaltimore) November 10, 2019
Baltimore County, Howard County, and Baltimore City are all in District 7. I want to speak to everyone, RSVP HERE: https://t.co/UEUscC377j
Klacik, who is a conservative republican, actively discusses crime, trash, abandoned homes and the faults of democratic African American leadership when painting pictures of Baltimore on social media.
"I've seen firsthand what a lot of people are going through," she said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun. "Our violent crime is up to 52% in Baltimore County and it's rising in Baltimore City, too. I don't think it's a coincidence."
Her frequent social media posts, many of which featurepictures to support her messages, inspired President Donald Trump to attack Cummings and his district on Twitter, calling it a "disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess" in late July.
....As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019
Klacik went on to defend him, saying "he was literally repeating what everybody has been saying for years" on Fox News' America's News HQ Weekend show with host Ed Henry.
She also argues that Democratic leadership actively votes against policies that offer the Black community more opportunities and support projects that render benefits to other communities.
"They put illegals first and that has to stop, that has to end. We're Americans, we helped build this country," she said. Instead, she argues, "we need stronger republican voices against socialism, against the â€˜squad'...and just helping with [President Trump's] policies and draining the swamp. We need changes â€“ not just in Baltimore but on Capitol Hill."
Rep. Cummings previously won with 76.4 percent of the vote in the general election last November, according to BallotPedia. Though Klacik acknowledges that this will be no easy task, she is prepared to do whatever it takes.
"I'm going to knock on every door, I'm going to shake every hand and I'm going to listen to everyone in the community and figure out what we can do to make a difference," she said.
Rockeymoore Cummings, however, will be unable to knock on any doors for the next couple weeks. She has been dealing with health concerns, in addition to her mother passing away from stage 4 breast cancer and her sister developing stage 2 breast cancer just last year.
Rockeymoore Cummings underwent a successful preventative double mastectomy on Nov. 15.
My procedure was successful and I'm recovering! So grateful for the prayers and support. Lucky to have such wonderful friends. Shout out to Johns Hopkins, Dr. Mehrad Habibi, Dr. Gedge Rosson, and the whole team.— Maya Rockeymoore-Cummings for Congress (@MayaForCongress) November 16, 2019
"Although it will take two to four weeks in terms of recovery, I will be laser-focused on making sure that I am active, making sure that my campaign is strong, that I'm doing everything that I need to do to fundraise," Rockeymoore Cummings, who had plans of surgery for a while, told Maddow. "[And] to have a presence even while I'm not physically able to be out in the community."
If elected, Rockeymoore Cummings is prepared to step down from her current position and Klacik, who currently resides in Middle River, is prepared to move to the 7th district.
The special election will take place in April 2020.