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11 random facts about Heather Mizeur, Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful

Maryland Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) squares off in a televised Democratic gubernatorial debate in late May. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post) (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

If the topic of “Heather Mizeur, 2014 Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful” ever comes up at your wonky trivia night, here are some things you likely will want to know about her:

1) Mizeur is pronounced like “brassiere.” A group of volunteers in Anne Arundel County recently tweeted out this guide: “’Mizeur’ pronunciation. Correct: ‘Miz-eer.’ Incorrect: ‘Miz-your.’ ‘Miz-ouri.’ ‘Status Quo.’”

2) Mizeur grew up in Blue Mound, Ill. It’s a small town of about 1,000 — “when you count the chickens and the horses and the dogs,” she jokes — located between corn and soybean fields in central Illinois, not far from Decatur. Her parents still live there, on the same street as her younger sister and the sister’s family.

3) Her extended family is massive. Mizeur’s father, Dale Mizeur, was one of 12, and many of his siblings had around half a dozen children of their own. Her cousin count is well over 40. Every Sunday, everyone would gather at Mizeur’s grandmother’s home for a day of peeling carrots and potatoes for a kettle of stew while telling stories.

4) She earned a Truman Scholarship, but never used it. While Mizeur was studying political science and English literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she was named a Truman Scholar, which covers graduate school bills of students who have show a commitment to “public service leadership.” But then she got a job on Capitol Hill and dropped out of school. She never used the scholarship.

5) An unsolicited memo got her a job. In 1994, Mizeur was doing a “glorified internship” in the office of then-Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-Penn.) when a hospital in the Congressional district unexpectedly closed, leaving 900 people without jobs. Mizeur made calls, did research and composed a multi-prong plan of action. She was hired on full-time to implement it.

6) She was a very popular undecided superdelegate in 2008. As a member of the Democratic National Committee, Mizeur was one of the delegates to the party’s convention — which in 2008 was a tight nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. While other superdelegates announced their picks early on, Mizeur waited, wanting to let the primary process play out. That prompted personal pleas from Obama, the Clintons and even Melissa Etheridge, who became a good friend.

7) She and her wife, Deborah Mizeur, own a 34-acre farm in Chestertown, Md. The couple plans to eventually grow organic herbs, and they are in the process of conditioning the land.

8) They also have a dog named Chester.

9) Mizeur’s campaign didn’t buy any yard signs. They wanted to save as much of their money as possible for television ads in the final weeks of the campaign. But supporters have made their own, often texting Mizeur photos of their creations.

10) Her official campaign car is a Chevy Volt. And she spends a lot of time in it.

11) Mizeur sends her own tweets, although she does hand over her account to her staff during debates. One evening last week Mizeur tweeted: “Listening to @Pharrell’s #Happy song on way home from long but very exciting day on campaign trail. Busting moves in the back seat! #winning.”

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.

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