Mizeur Loses in MD, but Primary Results Mostly Good for LGBTs
Voters in Maryland went to the polls Tuesday to determine Democratic and Republican nominees for various offices in the state from governor down to the county level, resulting in largely positive results for those who billed themselves as pro-LGBT rights.
In the race for governor, Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery Co.), running an outsider campaign against two more well-funded Democrats, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler, received 22 percent of the vote, behind Brown, who won with 51 percent, and Gansler, who received 24 percent. Mizeur, who would have been the first out lesbian governor of a U.S. state had she won both the June primary and the November general election, amassed a large following, particularly among younger and more liberal voters, but was hamstrung by her decision to accept public financing, placing limits on the amount she was able to spend in the primary. As a result, many media outlets focused more on the race - and a barrage of nasty attacks - between Brown and Gansler, forcing Mizeur to struggle to communicate her message and campaign platform, which included planks calling for legalizing marijuana to help pay for early childhood education and reinstating a millionaire’s tax to help relieve the tax burden on lower- and middle-income families.
All three Democrats have been highly supportive of both marriage equality and nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, most notably a bill that recently extended such protections to Maryland’s transgender community. Brown, as the winner of the primary, will face off against Republican Larry Hogan, the former Secretary of Appointments under Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Jr., in the general. Hogan previously told The Baltimore Sun that when a bill is petitioned to referendum, as the marriage equality bill was in 2012, he believed "the governor should respect the will of the people and enforce the results as effectively and fairly as possible."
After the race was called for Brown, Mizeur thanked supporters at her election night celebration in Baltimore City and threw her support behind Brown. But she also reflected on her candidacy and the successes she had enjoyed during the primary.
"There were a lot of skeptics who said I would never make it this far," she said. "People who lead from fear told me to get back in line. But together, we showed them the power a movement can have when we work for positive change.
"All of the pundits, the press and the political scientists agree: we ran, hands down, the best campaign," she continued. "And you should be proud of that. ...We have shown people that it is possible to run a campaign the right way. That being involved in politics can be about community service and a commitment to other people."
Despite Mizeur’s loss at the top of the ticket, the night was a banner one for candidates endorsed by Equality Maryland PAC, the political action arm of the state’s top LGBT rights organization, and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a national organization seeking to elect LGBT leaders to various offices. Equality Maryland PAC endorsed Brown in his bid for governor and Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery Co.) in his successful bid for Attorney General. The organization also backed 92 candidates for the General Assembly: 22 for the State Senate and 70 for the House of Delegates. Of those seeking Senate seats, 21 were successful, with only Del. Veronica Turner (D-Prince George’s Co.) falling short in her bid to unseat Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s). Of those seeking delegate seats, 61 were successful. All endorsed incumbents running for re-election to their seats were victorious except Keiffer Mitchell, Jr. (D-Baltimore City) and Michael Summers (D-Prince George’s Co.), both of whom saw their districts substantially affected by redistricting.