Maryland Del. Heather Mizeur selected the Rev. Delman Coates, a charismatic pastor at a large church in Prince George's County, as her running mate in her bid for the Democratic nomination in the 2014 governor's race, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Coates made headlines for breaking with other clergy members and appearing in TV ads in favor of Maryland's ballot initiative on same-sex marriage last year, the Sun notes.
Since 2004 Coates has led the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, growing the membership to more than 8,000 and extending its influence beyond Prince George's County throughout the state of Maryland.
If elected, Mizeur would become the nation's first openly gay governor. She would also become Maryland's first female governor if elected, although women have run in the past.
Her selection of Coates ensures that Prince George's County will figure prominently in the fight for the Democratic nomination. The Sun reports:
The Mizeur-Coates team would be the second Montgomery-Prince George's alliance in the Democratic race. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, a Montgomery resident, chose Del. Jolene Ivey of Prince George's to run with him. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who hails from Prince George's, recruited Howard County Executive Ken Ulman for his ticket.
Mizeur announced her choice at a news conference Wednesday evening in Silver Spring.
Mizeur -- who has been a member of Maryland's House of Delegates since 2007 -- has focused on health issues while in office. She also has been an outspoken advocate for caution in allowing drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale in western Maryland. Mizeur has called for a thorough study of health, environmental and economic impacts before allowing hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique commonly known as fracking.
She is running against Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley is serving his second term, the maximum allowed under state law.