In this photo taken on Monday, May 19, 2014, Heather Mizeur, who is running in Maryland's Democratic primary for governor, stands in front of her campaign office in Silver Spring, Md.
Heather Mizeur is facing an uphill fight in the Democratic primary. Polls show her trailing her two opponents: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler. Mizeur doesn't have the name recognition or the money that her opponents do, but she is beating them in one area — she has far more policy plans and detailed proposals.
"Some people run for governor because they want the job. I'm running for governor because I want to do the job," Mizeur says.
A Mizeur victory looks like a longshot, but if it happens, it will be historic. In addition to being Maryland's first female governor, she would be the first openly gay governor in United States history.
Mizeur's campaign has focused on being positive, avoiding the attacks that Brown and Gansler have slung back and forth at each other. She's using her campaign as an example of some of the reforms she'd push for as governor. Mizeur is accepting public money during the campaign, which does put limits on how much private money she can raise.
"We are not taking corporate money, even though we would be allowed," she says. "We're not taking special interest money even though it's allowed. Because we are trying to model the changes we want to usher in."
While all three Democratic candidates agree in general on many issues, though not always in scope or specifics, Mizeur does break from her two male opponents on one topic. She wants to legalize marijuana, while both Brown and Gansler say the effect of legalization in Colorado and Washington needs to be studied further before they'd ever entertain the idea in Maryland. Mizeur says Maryland is leaving an awful lot of money on the table, in the form of potential tax revenue.
"When we bring an underground economy to the light of day and have the state involved in regulating it, and only allowing adults to purchase it in a state-regulated facility and use in the privacy of their own homes, we have an increased opportunity to keep the substance from children. Because it is dangerous to a developing mind," Mizeur says.
Mizeur's running mate is Delman Coates, the senior pastor at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland, and one of the chief faith leaders who supported the referendum two years ago that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.
When you give to WAMU, your tax-deductible membership gift helps make possible award-winning programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and other favorites.