Heather Mizeur talks to some children after reading to them at a community centerin Baltimore recently. (Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

Maryland Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery), who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor next year, on Tuesday claimed the endorsement of a former Republican congressman: Wayne T. Gilchrest.

Gilchrest, who for 18 years represented Maryland’s 1st District, which includes the Eastern Shore, cited Mizeur’s environmental credentials in a statement distributed by her campaign.

“She’s the best choice for the Eastern Shore, and for all of Maryland,” Gilchrest said. “No one will fight harder to protect the Chesapeake Bay than Heather. No one else will bring Maryland together, regardless of what differences we may face, to take on our toughest challenges.”

Mizeur faces a highly competitive Democratic primary next year against Lt. Gov Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.

Mizeur also announced the endorsement Tuesday of five current and former local officials from the Eastern Shore.