U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski threw her support behind Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown on Sunday in the 2014 governor's race, praising him as "a man of honor and a man of commitment."

For Mikulski, her endorsement of Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, breaks with her usual practice of neutrality in Democratic primaries.


"I never make this endorsement lightly or easily," she said. "Every now and then you have to put what's best for me aside."

Mikulski announced her backing of Brown at a rally in Silver Spring in the home county of Brown's two known opponents in the June 24 primary, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur. Mizeur announced her candidacy in July. Gansler is scheduled to formally join the race Tuesday.

The senator pointed to Brown's role in leading the O'Malley administration's effort to implement the Affordable Care Act, which congressional Republicans are now trying to kill off by cutting its funding.

"On Oct. 1, while we're fighting to save Obamacare, we know that in Maryland we have a health exchange that's ready to go because of Anthony Brown," she said.

Mikulski's endorsement adds to the already long list of Democratic heavyweights who are supporting Brown. In addition to Gov. Martin O'Malley, they include U.S. Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, Donna Edwards and Steny Hoyer, along with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.

Brown said it was "humbling and an honor" to receive the endorsement of the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress.