The three Democrats competing to be Maryland’s next governor will face each other tonight in the first televised debate of the campaign.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur will field questions from a panel of journalists during the hour-long debate over the state’s economy, how to expand business, improve job creation, and solve transportation woes, among other issues.

It will be held at 7 p.m. at the University of Maryland and broadcast in Baltimore on Maryland Public Television. NBC’s David Gregory, host of “Meet The Press,” will moderate.

The three campaigns argued publicly last week over how many debates they would hold between now and the June 24 primary. Brown, the front-runner, agreed to only two televised and one radio debate. The other two campaigns accused him of backing out of a deal for three televised debates, and plan to hold one without him.  

Just seven weeks remain until a bitterly fought primary race that began more than a year ago.  While Brown and Gansler have inundated the Baltimore airwaves with campaign ads this spring, tonight’s debate marks first time all three will appear together on television.  The trio has participated in several joint forums, but the candidates often appear separately and do not interact.

The debate is hosted by NBC4 Washington (WRC-TV), Bowie State University and the University of Maryland.  It will be live streamed at NBCWashington.com, and tracked on twitter with the tag #mddemdebate.

A second Democratic debate will be held June 2. The Republican candidates scheduled their first televised debate for May 31.