We're six weeks away from the Nov. 4 general election and excitement is building in Baltimore County...
Unlike most election years, the county is not a battleground in the statewide race for governor between Democrat Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan Jr.
That election may not be close.
Brown has a giant edge in his fundraising ability, as Hogan is limited by his decision to take public funds to run his campaign.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state 2-1. Brown has a massive edge in Baltimore City and Prince George's County, where the Democrats' registration advantage is a stunning 11-1.
In Baltimore County, there are 298,000 Democrats and just 132,000 Republicans, along with 84,000 independents.
Those ratios make it tough for Hogan to stay competitive.
Meanwhile, the contest for Baltimore County executive gives the appearance of a one-sided romp for the well-funded Democratic incumbent, Kevin Kamenetz of Owings Mills, over his Republican challenger, George Harman of Reisterstown.
In County Council campaigns, there's an incipient Republican drive to capture a seat in southeastern Baltimore County (Dundalk-Essex-Middle River) and an effort by Democrats to take a traditionally Republican seat in the northern, rural parts of the county.
Other than those two races we pretty much know who will fill out the council. Redistricting has given Democrats a hefty advantage in most districts.
One exception is in the Parkville-Towson area, where community activist and Republican incumbent David Marks is so popular he drew no opposition in the primary and none in the November election.
There are few state legislative seats seriously in doubt in the county, either.
State lawmakers and Gov. Martin O'Malley gerrymandered the county map to ensure as many safe General Assembly districts for Democrats as possible.
Republicans are left with a handful of areas where their numbers give them a chance.
Two neighboring jurisdictions, though, offer voters hotly contested races for local offices.
In Howard County, there's an open seat for county executive — incumbent Ken Ulman is term-limited and is running for lieutenant governor on the Democrats' ticket with Brown.
Courtney Watson, whose father was once county executive, now sits on the Howard County Council. She is in a rugged election campaign against Allan Kittleman, a state senator and former council member whose father carved out an enviable reputation in the county as a delegate and senator in Annapolis.
Historically, Howard County has been a toss-up jurisdiction where moderately conservative Republicans fared well.
In recent elections, though, Democrats gained the clear upper hand. Yet the Kittleman family's strong record of public service could help make it a close contest.
Over in Anne Arundel County, the county executive race favorite is Republican Del. Steve Schuh, who runs a private equity firm focusing on restaurant development. He's served two terms in the state legislature's House of Delegates.
Schuh is up against former Anne Arundel Sheriff George Johnson, who is in charge of the state's Natural Resources Police. Johnson lost the county executive race in 2006 by just 3,900 votes.
He is hoping the Democrats' slight edge in the county's voter registration — 147,000 Democrats versus 125,000 Republicans — can make the difference, though Anne Arundel traditionally leans Republican.
The outcome could be decided by the 75,000 registered independents in Anne Arundel.
To date, there have been few sparks of interest in Baltimore County over the November election. That may yet change, but the limited number of competitive local contests isn't a good sign.