O'Malley jumped out to an early lead over challengers J.P. Cusick and Ralph Jaffe in the Democratic primary Tuesday, while Erlich appeared headed for an easy win over Brian Murphy -- who had been endorsed by 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- early returns posted on the Maryland Board of Elections Web site indicated.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski -- the longest-serving current female senator -- appeared headed for an easy win over six challengers in the Democratic Senate primary, while Jim Rutledge and Eric Wargotz were locked in a tight race atop a field of 11 contenders for the Republican Senate nomination, early returns indicated.
Six of Maryland's eight incumbent House members -- including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen -- jumped to early leads over their challengers. Two members, Democrat Frank Kratovil and Republican Robert Broadus, faced no opposition in their primaries.