Former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Thursday she will not run for the congressional seat previously held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.
Rawlings-Blake, who had been considering a run, said she made the decision after thinking about the legacy of her father, Democratic Del. Pete Rawlings, who was the powerful chairman of the House of Delegates’ Appropriations Committee.
“I heard my father’s voice in my head talking about the importance of having smart, thoughtful, principled African Americans, and especially women, in places where they can make a difference for our community because at the end of the day, when you focus on the issues that confine our most vulnerable, you ultimately improve the lives of everyone,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.
“My dear friend and mentor Elijah Cummings also understood the responsibility we each have to leave this world better than we found it. He dedicated his life to improving the lives of others. His death has left a void in our city and nation. While I remain committed to improving the conditions of our community, I will not run to succeed my friend, Elijah Cummings.”
Rawlings-Blake is the latest potential Democratic candidate to say they will not seek the seat. Earlier this week, state Sen. Cory V. McCray of Baltimore and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said they are not running.
Former Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the congressman’s widow; former national NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, and state Del. Talmadge Branch of Baltimore have already launched their campaigns for the Democratic primary. Democratic State Sen. Jill P. Carter of Baltimore plans to have a campaign kickoff next week.
Cummings, who had cancer, died Oct. 17 after more than two decades in Congress.
Candidates must file by Wednesday to run in a special Feb. 4 primary in the district, which includes parts of the city of Baltimore and areas of Baltimore and Howard counties. The special election will be held April 28, the same day as a regular primary for all of Maryland’s U.S. House seats. Candidates who want to fill Cummings’ seat through the rest of his term, until January 2021, and win the seat for the next two years after that, must run in both the special and regular elections.