Last year, Mizeur, a junior member of the House of Delegates, bucked her party’s leadership by opposing the expansion of casino gambling in Maryland. Now she is the one rolling the dice, betting a promising political career on a single brash bid for the state’s top job.
Mizeur says she can win, insisting that she sees a clear path to the left of two much-higher-profile candidates for the Democratic nomination: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. She’s willing to endure the rigors of the trail and the hostility a gay candidate can expect even in a liberal bastion such as Maryland (she has already received one late-night death threat).
But if she doesn’t win, Mizeur is at ease with the prospect of walking away from the game altogether. A political junkie who has coveted elected office since junior high, Mizeur has put herself in a very public up-or-out moment.
“I’m a bit of a risk-taker, yeah,” she said, sitting next to her wife, Deborah Mizeur, at a Takoma Park cafe last week. Over orders of a poached egg on croissant with turkey bacon, they offered a frank assessment of the fork in the road ahead.
One path takes them to the executive mansion, where a Governor Mizeur would shake up what she describes as complacent state agencies and try to spark nothing less than a “transcendental shift” in Maryland civic life. Mizeur hopes her campaign — with a schedule full of playground cleanups and other hands-on community service projects — will inspire residents to think differently about their relationship with their neighbors.
“I am attempting to wake people up to the notion that we are not disconnected individuals,” Mizeur said. “We live in a community.”
But should she lose, she has no interest in returning to the District 20 seat she has held in the House of Delegates for two terms. It is a job she characterized as both rewarding and maddening.
“It is the best job I’ve ever had, but I’m also experiencing frustration about the larger issues that need to be addressed,” she said. “I cannot be agitated by these injustices and not move to try to address them, and I’m not able to address them as a delegate.”
She dismisses a run for federal office, saying Washington is too dysfunctional. Nor is she interested in a Cabinet post in Annapolis, where she “would be hemmed in by somebody’s else’s politics.”
Better, Mizeur said, would be a more private life in the couple’s Craftsman-style house near downtown Takoma Park and at their farm near Chestertown, on the Eastern Shore. She could try her hand at writing or perhaps start a nonprofit group to take on gender, racial and economic injustices. She might work on oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay.