Maryland voters go to the polls Tuesday for primary elections that will determine the major parties’ nominees for governor and other statewide offices, whether Baltimore’s embattled prosecutor has lost the confidence of voters, and who will challenge the state’s lone Republican congressman.
Given what appears to be a high number of mail-in votes – ballots that may not be all counted for several days after Tuesday – results in tight races might not be known on election night.
While they have not attracted much attention, party nominations for scores of other elected offices – school board seats, circuit court judgeships and state legislative races among them – are also up for voters to decide.
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The Republican race for Maryland governor in Tuesday’s primary election pits a candidate backed by outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan against a rival endorsed by Donald Trump. It’s an early showdown on Hogan’s home turf as he weighs a 2024 White House bid, potentially against the former president.
Kelly Schulz is running as Hogan’s hand-picked successor to carry on his legacy. Schulz served as a labor secretary in Hogan’s administration and later as the head of the state’s commerce department. She is a former state legislator from Frederick County.
Schulz, the only woman in the field, would be Maryland’s first female governor if she were to win in November. She contends she is the only Republican in the primary who could tap into Hogan’s unusual political success in a heavily Democratic state.
She is running against Dan Cox, a state legislator who has been endorsed by Trump. Early in the pandemic, Cox sued over Hogan’s stay-at-home orders and regulations, saying they were unconstitutional. The lawsuit was later dismissed by a judge, who said that Hogan had a duty as governor to protect public health.
Cox also helped organize busloads of protesters to go to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Cox has said he didn’t march to the Capitol afterward, and he condemned the violence.
On the Democratic side, the crowded candidate field includes the former head of the national Democratic Party, a bestselling author, the current state comptroller and a former U.S. education secretary.
Democrats are eager to win back the governor’s office. Hogan is a rare two-term Republican governor in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.
The race appears to be a three-way race among former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who previously served as chair of the Democratic National Committee; author Wes Moore, who held a virtual fundraiser with Oprah Winfrey; and state Comptroller Peter Franchot, who had wide margins of victory in his four terms as state tax collector.
RELATED: Maryland Democrats eager to break GOP’s hold on governor’s office
Voters are casting ballots with the potential for history to be made in November: Moore or former U.S. Education Secretary John King could become the state’s first Black governor, and Perez could become the first Latino chief executive in the state.
In the City of Baltimore, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has shrugged off a federal indictment in connection with her finances and seeks to fend off two familiar challengers – criminal defense attorney Ivan Bates and former federal and state prosecutor Thiru Vignarajah. It’s the same matchup from four years ago, when Mosby won her second term.
The state will have a new comptroller, with Franchot seeking the governorship, and a new attorney general, as incumbent Brian E. Frosh is retiring. Seeking to succeed Frosh on the Democratic side are U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown and Katie Curran O’Malley, a former judge who is the daughter of a former attorney general and the wife of a former governor. Whoever captures the primary nod will be a heavy favorite in November.
For the comptroller’s race, Democrats Tim Adams and Del. Brooke Lierman are competing to see who will face Republican Barry Glassman, who is stepping down as Harford County executive.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen is facing a primary challenge as he seeks a second term following a stroke. Van Hollen first won election to the chamber in 2016, replacing retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who was then the longest-serving woman in congressional history.
Van Hollen suffered a minor stroke in May but said doctors had told him there would be no long-term effects or damage. He said he experienced lightheadedness and acute neck pain while delivering a speech and sought medical care once he returned home.
Van Hollen has just one challenger in his Democratic primary: Michelle Smith, a Freedom of Information Act policy analyst with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Ten Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination, including Chris Chaffee, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer in 2014.
The state has eight congressional districts but only one open seat this cycle.
With Brown’s departure, former Rep. Donna Edwards, who held the 4th Congressional District seat from 2008 to 2017, is running to get her job back representing the Black-majority district in the suburbs of the nation’s capital. She will face former county prosecutor Glenn Ivey.
Democrats Heather Mizeur and David Harden are battling to see who will challenge the state’s lone GOP congressman, Rep. Andy Harris, in the state’s 1st Congressional District.
Brian Witte of The Associated Press contributed to this story.