Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur picked up her first endorsement from a Baltimore elected official Monday as veteran City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke gave her blessing to the Montgomery County delegate's insurgent campaign.
Clarke, a longtime fixture in Baltimore politics, hailed Mizeur as an "exciting choice" in a 2014 gubernatorial race that also includes the better-known Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. A onetime candidate for mayor, Clarke first served on the City Council in 1975 and was its president from 1987 to 1995.
Mizeur also picked up the support of an influential Prince George's County pastor, the Rev. Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton. Coates, who appeared in widely noticed TV ads supporting last year's referendum proposition allowing same-sex marriage in Maryland, adds African-American support to Mizeur's campaign in Brown's home county -- a critical Democratic stronghold. Mizeur was warmly received when she spoke at Coates' 8,000-member church last year in opposition to expanded gambling in Prince George's.
"Heather's always been a fierce advocate for Maryland's families and has never been afraid to dig in and find solutions for even our most difficult issues," Coates said in a statement released by the campaign. "She will be an excellent leader for our state."
Mizeur also announced the endorsement of Sonja Sohn, founder and chief executive of reWIRED for Change, a Baltimore-based program that works with at-risk involved in criminal activity. Sohn, an actress, appeared in the Baltimore-based HBO TV show The Wire.
Monday's endorsements came after Mizeur picked up support last week from a dozen current and former elected officials in her hometown of Takoma Park, where she began her career in elected politics on the city council.
Mizeur is attempting to achieve several firsts in her campaign. If elected, she would be the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as governor. Mizeur would also become the first sitting legislator to win popular election to the state's top job.