Former Maryland candidate for governor and superdelegate Heather Mizeur has officially endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for president. On April 14, Mizeur and her wife, Deborah, released a video announcing the endorsement.
“Internally, in our household, this has been quite a struggle and a debate because like many of you, we have a split decision.”
Deborah declared that she’s for Hillary. Mizeur, on the other hand, is feeling the Bern.
Deborah admitted that it had been a hard decision for Heather to make, especially with a strong female candidate running for president.
“This has been a really hard decision for you I know because you basically embody both of the candidates. In 2014, Heather’s run for governor looked much like Senator Sanders’. It’s a progressive, visionary, bold grassroots effort that is about really fundamentally changing the way that politics is played and yet you have the pragmatic practical policy wonk aspects of Secretary Clinton and you know how to get things done. So the perfect candidate would be the two of them.”
Deborah believes that Clinton is the most experienced and qualified to be president. But Mizeur’s endorsement of Sanders also came with a measure of balance when she expressed disappointment with his recent criticism aimed at Clinton.
“I was really disappointed recently when Senator Sanders suggested otherwise, and I hope that he, for the rest of this primary race, will take the high road. What inspired me about your candidacy from the beginning was the aspirational aspect of bringing us together and reminding us what we could accomplish if we set our minds to it and saying that you were never going to run a negative race. Continue to remind us what you stand for not what you’re standing against.”
She also reminded voters to “please feel the Bern, don’t burn Hillary.”
Mizeur’s endorsement is exceptional for its sense of balance and honesty in admitting hers was a split household. It was also unique in that she included her wife’s perspective and why Deborah will vote for Hillary Clinton. Her diplomatic admonishment for Sanders’ supporters to refrain from personal attacks against Clinton was a reminder of what his campaign was originally meant to be: a race against the establishment and a campaign based on the issues.
That being said, it is difficult for Bernie to run on the kind of campaign he does without pointing out the simple truth that his opponent accepts Wall Street donations. It’s hard to ignore, and if he refrains from doing that, he risks appearing weak or as if he doesn’t care about where Clinton gets her campaign donations and how those donations could affect her decisions as president. But in one sense, Mizeur was correct when she indicated that some of Sanders’ recent comments about his rival could be construed as personal attacks.
Mizeur’s endorsement comes just days before the New York primaries and less than two weeks ahead of the Maryland primaries. As a member of the LGBTQ community and a political activist, this could give Sanders more momentum going into the remaining primaries.
Since the early 1980s, Sanders has stood by as an ally for LGBT rights. During his first term as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he expressed support for the city’s first Pride Parade. He also signed one of the nation’s first city ordinances banning housing discrimination aimed at sexual orientation.
As a Congressman in the 1990s, Sanders opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and also opposed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law. More recently, Sanders supported same-sex marriage and called the Supreme Court decision to legalize it a “victory for same-sex couples across our country” who sought equal rights.
According to Sanders’ campaign website, he is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, which would make it illegal to fire anyone for being gay, lesbian, or transgendered. He also supports efforts to prevent adoption discrimination with the Every Child Deserves a Family Act.
Heather Mizeur has been active in politics since the mid-1990s and was first elected to public office in 2003 when she ran for City Council of Takoma Park and won. She then served as a state representative for Maryland until her 2014 gubernatorial run. She was defeated by her Democratic rival in the primary race.
Eight years ago, Mizeur remained neutral and withheld her superdelegate endorsement until it was clear who the nominee would be. When she knew Barack Obama would beat Clinton, she wholeheartedly endorsed him. This election, however, she has chosen to endorse Sanders before the outcome of the election is even known. A bold move, indeed.
[Photo by Patrick Semansky/AP Images]