The Washington Post

Md. gubernatorial hopeful Mizeur knocks two Democratic rivals on home foreclosures

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Heather R. Mizeur criticized her two leading primary opponents Tuesday for talking about home foreclosures but doing little to prevent them during this year’s legislative session.

Mizeur, a Montgomery County delegate, summoned State House reporters in Annapolis to hear her read a statement in which she touted her own efforts to combat deceptive banking practices and took aim at Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) for a Web ad his campaign released last week.

Brown’s ad highlighted claims by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) that his work on a 2012 national settlement with mortgage servicers had helped “turn the foreclosure crisis around,” when in fact foreclosures have been on the rise again in Maryland.

Mizeur told reporters Tuesday that the Brown ad was “fair criticism.”

But, Mizeur said, Brown “needs to be held accountable for his failed leadership, too. . . . The hubris to produce an attack ad on the foreclosure crisis without offering any proposed solutions demonstrates the lieutenant governor’s belief that he is untouchable behind the walls of Annapolis’s insular and out-of-touch establishment.”

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather R. Mizeur says Democratic opponents Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler have talked but not acted this legislative session. (Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST)

Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager, said Brown was “thankful for Delegate Mizeur’s history of support” of foreclosure reforms proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Brown.

“In 2010, she co-sponsored the administration’s bill providing foreclosure mediation,” Schall said. “Prior to that, in 2008, she voted for both of the administration’s foreclosure reform package bills. Hopefully we can continue to work together.”

Gansler spokesman Bob Wheelock declined to respond to Mizeur directly, saying: “I think Doug’s record on foreclosures speaks for itself. I don’t think anyone’s done more.”

Mizeur has introduced a bill this session that would prohibit lenders from pursuing “deficiency judgments” when homeowners facing foreclosure sell for less than the mortgage amount.

Mizeur’s bill also prevents the use of electronic registration systems as a party to foreclosures. The move is intended of ensure homeowners facing foreclosure proceedings know who holds their mortgage. Banks often will buy and sell mortgages with one another through these electronic registration systems, leaving homeowners unaware of the actual mortgage holder, according to Mizeur aides.

“I invite both of my opponents to do more than trade barbs in the press, but rather step up to help us pass legislation that would actually deliver results for Maryland families facing foreclosure,” Mizeur said in her statement.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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