On Monday evening, members of Maryland’s Democratic State Central Committee had to scramble to get onto a late-night conference call, as they were to discuss the sudden resignation of their party boss, Maya Rockeymoore-Cummings; and exactly what would happen moving forward.
Rockeymoore-Cummings, who on Tuesday officially announced her decision to run for the vacant congressional seat once held by her recently deceased husband Congressman Elijah Cummings, was said to have wanted to hold on to the chairmanship while she ran for the seat, only relinquishing the powerful party role if she won the February 4th special primary election. However, after cooler heads prevailed, she resigned the position ahead of her announcement, which led to the current first vice-chairman, State Senator Cory McCray, to assume the role of chairman during the interim.
The party members were told that a special election to replace Rockeymoore-Cummings – who won the seat this time last year after a surprising victory over chairwoman Kathleen Matthews – would take place within the next sixty days. And today, they announced that the date that members will come together to elect their new party boss will be on Saturday, December 7, 2020.
And while there doesn’t seem to be a long list of candidates looking to run for the position, yet; one thing has come out in the past 48-hours, that the interim chairman will not seek the position moving forward. McCray, a 37-year old East Baltimore native who rose to political fame five years ago with a surprising and hard fought victory for one of three House seats in the 45th district; shocked everyone last year after serving one term in the House and still being able to knock off the longtime state senator of his district. And only months after that victory, McCray landed another stunning win when he successfully ran to become the state party’s first vice-chairman.
However, after recently revealing to folks that he had no desire to jump into a crowded field of candidates to replace the late congressman, it appears as if he’s also not ready to jump into what could be a crowded field of candidates to succeed Rockeymoore-Cummings as chair. Despite his decision not to seek the top spot, McCray will remain the party’s first vice-chair once someone is elected on December 7th – relieving him of his interim duties.
“It appears to me that Senator McCray is a smart and calculating politician who knows when to hold’em and when to fold’em,” says one political strategist. “Unlike Rockeymoore-Cummings, or folks like Senator Jill Carter, who after just being elected to do a job a year ago, are already looking for the next gig to add to their political resume; McCray seems content on methodically climbing his way to the top of the political ladder.”
And with Rockeymoore-Cummings gone, this leaves a gaping hole in leadership for the Democratic Party, months ahead of the state’s Presidential Primary, and a year prior to the most important election in democratic history. This also leaves the progressive wing of the party floundering as they look for a candidate to replace their departing chairwoman. It was the leftists of the party machine that catapulted Maya to the seat last year, when everyone including the state’s senior United States Senator Ben Cardin made their pitch for Matthews to continue in the role that she had held for two years. But it was largely central committee members from Baltimore City, and the entire Howard County bloc of votes, that led to Rockeymoore-Cummings pulling off the upset victory.
Now it appears as if that left-leaning bloc of voters seems divided on who they want to carry their progressive flag, as some are trying to draft former gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin while others are looking for the youngest member of the Maryland General Assembly, Delegate Julian Ivey, to take over the party establishment.
Ervin, who was a former school board and county council member in Montgomery County, jumped into the democratic primary of last year’s gubernatorial contest, only to be one of a handful of democrats who came up short, losing to the eventual nominee Ben Jealous. Ivey on the other hand, is a 24-year old state delegate from Prince George’s County, who comes from a political family. His mother, Jolene Ivey, was a state delegate and a Lt. Governor candidate in 2014, while his father Glenn Ivey was the former State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County.
Other likely candidates to get into the race include the party’s current elected secretary, Robbie Leonard, who is a rising progressive democratic activist from Baltimore County. We also may see someone from Howard County jump into the race, as well as possibly seeing someone from Baltimore City join the fray before it’s all said and done. Either way, as we did during the last election, DMVDaily News will live-stream the election on our Facebook page so you can watch it LIVE as it happens.