Rockeymoore Cummings Loans Her House Campaign $200K

Former Maryland Democratic chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings loaned her congressional campaign $200,000 in late February — three weeks after losing the special Democratic primary to replace her husband, the late U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D).

Newly-filed quarterly campaign finance statements show that Rockeymoore Cummings took in $310,477 between Jan. 16 and March 31 — but $200,000 came from her own pocket.

Rockeymoore Cummings finished a distant second to former Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D) in the Feb. 5 special primary, and Mfume is heavily favored to win the April 28 special general election over conservative commentator Kimberly Klacik (R).

But Rockeymoore Cummings is one of several Democrats who chose to compete against Mfume in the regular primary for a full term. That contest was originally scheduled to coincide with the April 28 special general election, but was rescheduled to June 2 because of the outbreak of COVID-19.

The new timetable for the primary means that Rockeymoore Cummings and other 7th District Democratic candidates, including state Sen. Jill P. Carter and Del. Hassan S. “Jay” Jalisi, are going to be squaring off against Mfume while he is the incumbent filling the remainder of Elijah Cummings’ term. Cummings died in October; Mfume previously held the 7th District seat from 1987 to 1996, and was replaced by Elijah Cummings.

Mfume won the Feb. 5 special primary with 43% of the vote in a 24-candidate field. Rockeymoore Cummings finished second with 17%, followed by Carter at 16%.

Quarterly campaign finance statements for congressional candidates were due at the Federal Election Commission by midnight Wednesday. Of the major 7th District candidates, only Rockeymoore Cummings’ report was posted online as of late Wednesday night.

Despite losing badly to Mfume in the special primary, Rockeymoore Cummings’ campaign still received several contributions from Washington, D.C., powerbrokers in recent weeks. These included $2,700 from April McLain Delaney, an attorney and wife of former Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.); $2,000 from well-connected lobbyist Heather Podesta; $1,000 from U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.); $750 from former Treasury Department official Mary Miller, who is now a candidate for mayor of Baltimore; $500 from former Maryland Democratic chairwoman Kathleen Matthews, whom Rockeymoore Cummings defeated in late 2018; and $250 each from Cheryl Mills, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton, and Ellen Malcolm, the founder of the women’s fundraising group EMILY’s List.

EMILY’s List, which endorsed Rockeymoore Cummings several months ago, kicked in $5,000. Higher Heights PAC, a political action committee dedicated to electing progressive black women, donated $4,000 plus $778 in in-kind contributions.

Between Jan. 16 and March 31, Rockeymoore Cummings’ campaign reported spending $192,023. The biggest expenditure, $70,000, went to Screen Strategies Media, a Democratic advertising firm in Fairfax, Va.

Rockeymoore Cummings had $187,199 in her campaign account as of March 31. She sent out a fundraising email Wednesday night with the subject line, “I’m humbly asking for your support this evening.”

Mfume on Wednesday was endorsed by 30 active and retired ministers.

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Josh Kurtz
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.