BALTIMORE -- Less than a month ago, Rep. Elijah Cummings' wife, friend and staffer took the stage during his funeral at New Psalmist Baptist Church to eulogize the venerated congressman they each loved and respected.
Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said his friend "defied the limits of others' expectations." Harry Spikes said his boss taught him a "true leader shares leadership." And, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings said her husband was both a public servant and "man of the people."
Now, all three are running against each other for his open seat.
Rockeymoore Cummings, 48, a public policy consultant who resigned Monday night as chairwoman of Maryland's Democratic Party, kicked off her campaign Tuesday, telling supporters crammed into her Madison Park rowhouse that she wanted to spark an "inclusion revolution" in the country.
"This race is going to be a sprint to the finish," she said to applause. "This is going to get down and dirty, probably, but I want you to know I'm ready for it."
Rockeymoore Cummings entered the race among the front-runners in an increasingly crowded field.
At his campaign announcement last week, Mfume said he talked with Rockeymoore Cummings before deciding to try to regain the seat he held before Cummings.
"I'm really not trying to cram her or jam her in any way," he said. "She needs time to deal with her soul and her loss. ... I know this has been tough for all of us."
But Rockeymoore Cummings said Tuesday the candidates had not discussed the campaign.
"Less than 36 hours after my husband passed, he and (political strategist) Larry Gibson asked for a meeting through my pastor," Rockeymoore Cummings said. "We scheduled a meeting. It didn't happen. I did text him and I didn't get a response."