Two of the deceased lawmaker’s daughters, Jennifer and Adia Cummings, released a statement earlier this week in which they announced their support of Harry Spikes, a former staffer for Cummings, in a crowded race that includes former Congressman Kweisi Mfume, several state lawmakers and Cummings’s second wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.
“My sister and I are supporting Harry Spikes for Congress because for the past 15 years he’s worked alongside our father to meet the needs of the people of the [Maryland] 7th Congressional District,” Jennifer Cummings said in a letter obtained by the Washington Post.
She added: “Harry knows this community. Our father often said of himself that he was ‘an ordinary man called to an extraordinary mission,’ and Harry embodies that same spirit.”
Cummings, who was 68, died at Gilchrist Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins affiliate, in October. As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, he was one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, and played a key role in the House Democrats’ ongoing efforts to impeach Trump.
Cummings’ office said in a brief statement that he died “due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges.” Cummings had been in ill health the past few years, navigating the Capitol in a motorized cart and using a walker.
There are a total of 24 Democrats and eight Republicans running to fill the seat vacated by Cummings. There will be a special primary election on February 4, which given the heavily Democratic makeup of the district should determine who will serve the remainder of the late lawmaker’s term in office.
A special general election will take place on April 28 – the same day that Maryland holds its statewide primary election in the 2020 presidential race. The candidate who wins the seat will serve out the remaining months of Cummings term, while candidates who want to challenge the seat after that have until Jan. 24 to file for the April 28 primary.