Maryland’s Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings is hospitalized and his wife Maya Rockeymoore Cummings suspended her Democratic primary campaign for governor, narrowing the field of African-American candidates vying to run against Maryland’s incumbent Republican governor.
Cummings is “resting comfortably and expects a full recovery” after he was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital for a bacterial infection in his knee, which the congressman’s office described on Friday as a minor procedure.
Cummings, 66, was also hospitalized in May after undergoing “minimally invasive” heart surgery. It was a procedure to correct a narrowing of the aortic valve. The ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Relations Committee was expected to return to Congress shortly after his heart procedure. However, a post-op infection delayed his return for a few months. His wife cited “personal considerations” on Friday for the decision to suspend her race for the Democratic nomination to compete against incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Rockeymoore Cummings is a policy consultant who worked as a congressional staffer and for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Largely unknown in Maryland politics, Rockeymoore Cummings holds a doctorate in political science from Purdue University and was chief of staff to New York’s former Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel. The gubernatorial race was Rockeymoore Cummings’ first foray into running for political office, which got off to a challenging start. There’s some speculation floating on social media that her husband may have plans to retire, which would open an opportunity for her to run for his seat.
Her withdrawal leaves two Black candidates in the competition: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and former NAACP President Ben Jealous. Baker has emerged as the top contender in the Democratic primary and offers the biggest challenge to Hogan in a field of seven candidates, trailing the popular governor by only seven points in an October poll. With the endorsement of Maryland’s Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Baker is viewed as the establishment candidate. Jealous has the backing of progressive organizations, such as Progressive Maryland, and politicians like Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat. However, Jealous is viewed as having an outside chance because Maryland Democrats tend to favor establishment candidates.