The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Heather Mizeur won’t run for Senate in Maryland

Heather Mizeur speaks at a gathering of supporters in Takoma Park, Md., on June 7, 2014. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

Former Maryland state delegate Heather Mizeur (D) will not run for Senate in 2016, she announced Wednesday.

Mizeur, who made a stronger-than-expected showing in last year's gubernatorial primary, wrote on her Facebook page that she was "not ready to embark so soon on another grueling statewide campaign for public office."

The Takoma Park progressive came in third in the gubernatorial race, just behind then-Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler but far behind the Democratic nominee, then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. Brown lost to Republican Larry Hogan.

“I am still rebuilding my capacity to give of myself in such a big way again,” Mizeur wrote. “Words cannot thank you enough for having such faith in me and I ask that you keep that fire ready for a future contest where we are both ready to jump in with all we have to give!”

She would have been Maryland’s first female governor and the first openly gay person elected governor of any state. In the Senate, however, that barrier was broken with the election of Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) in 2012.

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Mizeur ran in 2014 on a platform of a living wage, mandated paid sick leave, free pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds, legalization of marijuana and higher taxes on the wealthiest residents so that 90 percent of taxpayers can pay less.

Coming into the race with far less name recognition than her rivals, she began to outpace Gansler in fundraising toward the end of the campaign. She used the state public financing system, which matches campaign donations of up to $250 for candidates who agree to keep their spending under roughly $2.5 million.

After winning the primary, Brown praised his former rival for having “galvanized a true progressive movement” in the state.

Mizeur on Wednesday called the field of potential candidates vying to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) “an embarrassment of riches” that would serve her supporters well.

U.S. Reps. Donna F. Edwards and Chris Van Hollen have both launched campaigns. Many more Democrats are considering joining them, including Reps. Elijah Cummings, John Delaney, John Sarbanes and C.A. Dutch Ruppersburger, as well as former lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.