Maryland's primary election is upon us. Finally, people are paying attention.
Early voting begins June 12 and ends June 19 at the Reisterstown Senior Center and the Randallstown Community Center.
The primary is June 24.
The race for governor is heating up.
Front-runner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is hoping Attorney General Doug Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur split the anti-establishment vote, which is a strong possibility.
On the Republican side, Annapolis businessman Larry Hogan Jr. and Harford County Executive David Craig are the main competitors, with Hogan given an edge.
In the Democratic attorney general's race, local Del. Jon Cardin has name recognition due to his Uncle Ben — Maryland's U.S. senator — but state Sen. Brian Frosh is piling up endorsements, including the strong support of three of this area's previous state senators.
There are interesting local primaries as well. Incumbent Republican Councilman Todd Huff may have trouble fending off ten-term Del. Wade Kach.
Democratic Councilwoman Vicki Almond is in a tough race against planning board member Jon Herbst, who has been endorsed by state Sen. Bobby Zirkin and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. It is unusual for an incumbent to lose these types of endorsements.
A third Council member could be in trouble. Ken Oliver won in 2010 by less than 100 votes over Julian Jones, a division fire chief in Anne Arundel County, who is back for a rematch.
In General Assembly contests, the primary offers voters difficult choices.
In District 10, nine Democrats are vying for the three delegate openings. Only one, Adrienne Jones, is an incumbent. She is running on an "ABC Ticket" with Ben Brooks and Carin Smith, the daughter-in-law of former County Executive Jim Smith.
The District 11 Democratic delegate race features two incumbents, Dr. Dan Morhaim and Dana Stein, and four others, including former Del. Ted Levin and Shelly Hettleman, a longtime worker in Ben Cardin's Senate office.
In the county's northern District 42, there is a tough Senate race with former Del. Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis challenging incumbent Jim Brochin. The re-drawn district is mostly new terrain for Brochin and totally new for DeJuliis, who years ago represented Dundalk in Annapolis.
In the governor's primary, attention has centered on the Democrats, with the race seemingly tightening in recent weeks.
Brown was hurt by his failure to show up for a televised debate on WBFF. His lackluster performance in the most recent TV debate on WMPT and WBAL also didn't help. But he recovered nicely in a 90-minute radio debate on WOLB-AM's Larry Young Show last Thursday morning. His answers were clearer and crisper. Brown appeared more comfortable in a non-visual format.
Both his challengers are delivering messages of discontent with the status quo in Annapolis, but that may not be enough. Brown has the full backing of the Democratic establishment and more money than the others.
It remains his to lose.
Barry Rascovar's political columns can be found at http://www.politicalmaryland.com.