Del. Heather R. Mizeur has chosen the Rev. Delman Coates — the charismatic pastor of a large church in Prince George's County — as her running mate in the 2014 race for the Democratic nomination for governor, according to a source familiar with the campaign's plans.
Mizeur is expected to introduce Coates, senior pastor of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, as her choice for lieutenant governor at an event in Silver Spring Wednesday night.
Coates, 40, adds racial and gender balance to Mizeur's ticket but leaves the Baltimore area out of the picture. She is a 40-year-old white woman from Montgomery County who is serving her second term in the House of Delegates. He is an African-American man who has not held elected office.
The Mizeur- Coates team would be the second Montgomery-Prince George's alliance in the Democratic race. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, a Montgomery resident, chose Del. Jolene Ivey of Prince George's to run with him. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who hails from Prince George's, recruited Howard County Executive Ken Ulman for his ticket.
Coates, who has led the 8,000-member Mount Ennon since 2004, became a statewide figure last year when he broke with more conservative clergy members and appeared in television ads in favor of a ballot question approving same-sex marriage in Maryland. Mizeur, a lesbian who married her wife in California, was active in the fight to win ratification of that law.
Mizeur has spoken at Coates' predominantly African-American church several times, joining the pastor in the fall of 2012 to oppose what was ultimately a successful a ballot measure allowing a casino in Prince George's. This summer, Coates became one of the first prominent Marylanders to endorse Mizeur.
Mizeur is the only one of the three announced candidates for governor who doesn't hold statewide office. As a consequence polls show that she has far less name recognition seven months before the June 24 primary than Brown and Gansler. The same polls show Brown holding a roughly 2-1 lead over Gansler with Mizeur polling in single digits as she attempts to become the first sitting delegate to be elected governor by the voters.
Coates holds religion degrees from Morehouse College, Harvard Divinity School and Columbia University, where he earned a doctorate in 2006. He is a married father of four.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun