The three Democratic candidates for governor in Maryland will debate tonight on television. The debate will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. Monday on WBAL-TV Channel 11 in Baltimore, and on Maryland Public Television stations. The debate will be streaming live on the WBAL website, wbaltv.com, and the Maryland Public Television website, www.mpt.org
The Democratic candidates to replace Gov. Martin O’Malley are Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney Gen. Douglas Gansler, and Del. Heather Mizeur. The debate moderator will be MPT’s David Salkin. The debate is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Maryland Public Television, and WBAL-TV. It will be held at the MPT studio in Owings Mills.
Tonight’s Democratic debate represents the last, best hope for Mizeur and Ganzler to catch up with and pass Brown before the June 24 primary. Political observers believe Brown is running well ahead of Mizeur and Gansler, but the contest may be tightening.
For voters just tuning in to Maryland’s 2014 elections — which is most voters — this one-hour debate may be the only chance to compare the candidates side-by-side. And it’s probably the last opportunity, other than television advertising, for the candidates to make a favorable impression on voters. In the precious few minutes each candidate will have tonight, expect Mizeur and Ganzler to make their strongest case to distinguish themselves from Brown.
O’Malley cannot run again after serving two terms because of Maryland’s term limit for Governor. The term limit is even stricter in Virginia, which allows only one four-year term for governor.
You’ll be seeing a lot of Brown and Gansler on TV between now and the June 24 primary election. Both Gansler and Brown have ample war chests to fund television advertising. Mizeur also plans to advertise on TV, although her budget is smaller.
Mizeur hopes to score a breakthrough in tonight’s debate by focusing on issues such as the widening income divide between rich and poor.
“Heather will make Annapolis work for middle class families,” said Joanna Belanger, Mizeur’s campaign manager. “It’s prioritized the wealthy and big corporations for far too long.”
Meanwhile, four Republicans vying for the Republican nomination for governor debated today. The Republican debate will be aired on WBAL-TV and Maryland Public Television at 7 p.m. Friday night.
Today’s gubernatorial debates are expected to be the final joint debates between the candidates before the primary on June 24. Early voting begins June 12. The deadline for registering to vote in the primary is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 3, at 9 p.m.
— John Hayden