Former gubernatorial candidate and Maryland liberal leader Heather Mizeur is pushing back on comments from a leading national progressive group, arguing that it "crossed a line" in recent comments criticizing Rep. Chris Van Hollen's campaign for Senate.
Mizeur, who has endorsed Van Hollen's campaign for retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's seat, wrote the Vermont-based Democracy for America to argue that the group was out of line.
"You recently crossed a line in claiming that Chris Van Hollen was misrepresenting his progressive support," Mizeur wrote. "I find it terribly disheartening when progressive allies chose business-as-usual political tactics that unnecessarily and unfairly target one of our own."
Van Hollen and his opponent for the Democratic nomination, Rep. Donna F. Edwards, have been battling to define Van Hollen's record, which by most independent measures is not as far to the left as Edwards but still on the progressive side of the Democratic caucus. One of the state's most politically active unions, the Maryland DC AFL-CIO, said Tuesday it would not endorse a candidate because it did not see a significant difference between them.
National progressive groups like DFA argue that Edwards starts at liberal positions that Van Hollen "most of the time, gets to."
The group's executive director, Charles Chamberlain, doubled down on the "freaking out" narrative, suggesting the letter is "a clear example of a campaign that's panicking."
Mizeur won support from many liberals in the state by running a gubernatorial campaign to the left of former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and former Attorney General Doug Gansler.
Democracy for America endorsed her campaign just last year. But in this case, Chamberlain said, Mizeur is not with the state's progressives.
"Heather Mizeur, in this race, is wrong," Chamberlain said. "The majority of the progressive voters in Maryland are behind Donna Edwards."
Edwards' campaign dismissed the letter.
"Attacking progressive organizations won't change the minds of Maryland progressives or Congressman Van Hollen's record," spokesman Benjamin Gerdes said in a statement.