Monday, August 6, 2012

Delegate Heather Mizeur Weighing Run for Maryland Governor // PLUS: Casino Session Becomes Tool for Statewide Candidates


UPDATE: Shortly after we posted this article, we also received an email blast from Governor Martin O'Malley that appears to be an early pre-endorsement of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for Governor. Numerous politicos flagged this unusual email blast for Maryland Juice. See an excerpt below:
GOVERNOR O'MALLEY: No matter what lies ahead for Anthony in public service, I know that I will be with him 100 percent, because I believe that our State, our communities, and all Marylanders will benefit greatly with Anthony bringing people together to work for our shared priorities....

In recent  months, many Maryland politicos have been noting the clearly visible ambitions of Delegate Heather Mizeur -- Maryland Juice included. The Democratic lawmaker, after all, has been appearing at events throughout the state, aggressively raising money, and trying to raise her profile through work on hot-button issues like fracking, gambling and marriage equality. But as we get cloesr to 2014, Mizeur is now floating trial balloons for a run for Governor. Make no mistake, a Mizeur run is a bit of a dark horse move, and the candidates' fundraising will definitely matter. But if she does indeed enter the race, it could shake things up in completely unpredictable ways.

MIZEUR WEIGHING GOVERNOR'S RACE (AND OTHER THINGS) IN 2014: Late last year, many pundits speculated that Del. Mizeur was contemplating a run for Comptroller in 2014. That seemed like a very plausible scenario, but when Maryland Juice tried to confirm such rumors, Mizeur always refused to state which office she might seek in the future. In the last month or two, however, numerous sources have been buzzing that Mizeur, a Takoma Park resident and DNC committee member, is openly discussing a possible run for Governor. Specifically, we've heard that she's talking about Maryland's top spot in her fundraising pitches and with allies. Now, The Baltimore Sun's Michael Dresser has Delegate Mizeur on-the-record, floating a trial balloon for a possible 2014 gubernatorial bid (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Del. Heather Mizeur, a second-term lawmaker, said yesterday that she is taking a hard look at a potential run for statewide office. She didn't exactly spell out which office she has her eye on, but she wouldn't rule out a try for the top spot.

"I'm keeping my options open relative to the 2014 race. I'm not ruling anything out," she said....

But if future articles about the 2014 race were to include her name along with the other four presumed candidates, "I wouldn't be opposed," Mizeur said.

CHANGING DEMOGRAPHY OPENS POLITICAL DOORS: Pay very close attention to Mizeur's statements above, as she is still refusing to commit to any particular office in 2014.  But behind the scenes, I am getting the sense that she wants to go big or go home. Heather Mizeur may believe, as Maryland Juice does, that we are in a new era of modern politics where the conventional rules from a prior generation no longer hold. For example, President Barack Obama knows that times have changed and has smartly taken "risks" like endorsing marriage equality and ending the deportation of undocumented youths in America. But those who see such moves as "risks" are not properly gaming out the demographic changes and opinion-shifts that have been transforming the undercurrents of public policy. Age (as it relates to one's views) is now an extremely significant dividing line in the new calculus of politics, and we are witnessing a seismic generational shift. But strange electoral results continue to occur, and now they no longer seem so strange.

After all, practically every candidate whose campaign Maryland Juice has worked on in Montgomery was deemed to have "no chance" by the establishment. And yet a Latina, a progressive law professor, a young Obama organizer and many more are now serving in public office. Indeed, Heather Mizeur may be in pursuit of a history-making run for Governor in 2014.

HISTORY-MAKING & DEMOGRAPHIC DYNAMICS: If elected, Heather Mizeur would be Maryland's first woman to serve as Governor, and to my knowledge, she would be the first openly LGBT candidate to win a gubernatorial election. If she runs, Mizeur may try and pull some votes from Montgomery County, along with a coalition of progressive voters from around the state. The real question in 2014 will be which lines Maryland Dems divide themselves along in the Primary (ie: gender, geography, ideology, etc).

If you add Mizeur to the current field of four, you suddenly have three of five candidates being from Montgomery County. This means if they all run, the MoCo candidates will have to be able to advertise and generate votes outside of their home base. The other candidates in the field are Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Howard County Exec. Ken Ulman. We shall see how this all plays out, but remember that even if Mizeur should lose her race or shift gears, a strong performance creates the opportunity for her boost her stock in other ways (ie: angle for a Lt. Gov. pick, create a higher profile for a later run, etc).

STATEWIDE CANDIDATES USE GAMBLING SESSION AS MESSAGING VEHICLE: Delegate Mizeur foreshadowed her push for a statewide race with an op. ed. in last week's Washington Post. Blasting the upcoming special session to expand gambling in Maryland, Mizeur wrote, "powerful gaming interests want you to believe that this is our only hope for new jobs in this difficult economy. We know better." In her commentary, Mizeur instead highlighted alternate revenue-generating investments for Maryland, focusing mostly on small business, education, and other longer-term investments.

But the upcoming special session could be a doozy, as it appears various politicians are going to try and make their voices heard in different ways. Some, like Mizeur, are outright critical of gambling. But others, like State Senator Jim Rosapepe and Delegate Brian Feldman, are proposing additional pieces of legislation for introduction in the special session. Notably, Sen. Rosapepe has been actively fundraising for a 2014 Comptroller's race, and Del. Feldman was also rumored to have an interest in the office.  But now they are both proposing a state constitutional amendment to help bring transportation funding to Maryland. Notably, Rosapepe and Feldman represent Prince George's and Montgomery counties -- two areas that are struggling to finance transportation infrastructure that is critical for traffic relief, job creation and housing growth. The two lawmakers plan on introducing their effort, called "End the Gridlock" during Thursday's convening of the legislature. See the press release and legislation below:


Rosapepe, Feldman Will Propose
“End the gridlock" Constitutional Amendment,
 at August 9 Special Session

With Maryland transportation investment blocked by the legislature's refusal to support hikes in the gas tax, Senator Jim Rosapepe (D, College Park) and Delegate Brian Feldman (D, Potomac) will introduce their "End the gridlock" constitutional amendment at the special session of the legislature which begins August 9.

"It's no secret that our state leads the nation in traffic congestion (Washington suburbs are #1; Baltimore region is #2). Nor is it a secret why: the combination of increased fuel efficiency, the Great Recession, and rising and fluctuating oil prices have blown a big hole in Maryland's transportation trust fund which finances investment in roads, bridges, and transit," they said.

Their amendment authorizes the governor and the legislature to draw up a specific plan for major public investment in roads, bridges, and transit and present the plan to the voters for approval in a subsequent referendum.  The amendment would not prejudge the projects or the revenue sources. Those would be developed by the governor and the legislature, after the constitutional amendment has been passed and ratified. Specific transportation packages would be adopted by the legislature and presented to the voters for approval. The amendment would simply give the governor and the legislature the authority to present a plan to the voters (the amendment is needed because the constitution currently does not allow such referendums).  It also includes a provision assuring that the funds raised in such a referendum are used only for the purposes approved by the legislature and the voters.

"A second special session this year should fight gridlock, not just expand gambling and protect pit bulls," they wrote.

"Maryland has America's best schools. We shouldn't have America's worst traffic. It's time to end the gridlock, in politics as well as on the roads."

Attached are copies of:

Updated information is available at

Senator Rosapepe and Delegate Feldman are Co-chairs of the legislature's Joint Technology and Biotechnology Committee.

Sen. Jim Rosapepe & Del. Brian Feldman Letter to Gov. O'Malley on "End the Gridlock"
Sen. Jim Rosapepe & Del. Brian Feldman's "End the Gridlock" Constitutional Amendment

No comments:

Post a Comment