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Maryland voters hit polls for Congress, governor primary races

A voter wears a mask as they prepare to cast their ballot during a special election in Baltimore City, Maryland, in April 2020. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
A voter wears a mask as they prepare to cast their ballot during a special election in Baltimore City, Maryland, in April 2020. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

July 19 (UPI) -- Maryland voters hit the polls Tuesday in a primary election to nominate candidates for the state's governor and Congress.

It is the only state holding a primary election in July as the election was rescheduled from June 28 because of lawsuits over Maryland's new congressional maps. Polls will close at 8 p.m. local time.

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Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has held the office for eight years but is term-limited, leaving Democrats vying to win back the title in a normally blue state.

Nine active Democratic candidates are running to be the party's nominee for governor after Rushern L. Baker III -- the former executive of Prince George's county -- said in June that he would be pausing his campaign.

Polls have placed Democratic candidates Tom Perez, Peter Franchot and Wes Moore in a three-way tie to become the party's nominee, according to Five Thirty Eight.

Perez is the former chair of the Democratic National Committee and served as the U.S. labor secretary under former President Barack Obama. Franchot is the state's comptroller, while Moore is an author and former CEO of a nonprofit.

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Hogan, a moderate conservative, was outspoken with his criticism of former President Donald Trump who has called him a "lousy governor," according to the Washington Post.

Trump has chosen Dan Cox as his endorsement pick in the Republican primary against Kelly Schulz, who was Hogan's commerce secretary and received his endorsement.

"You don't want Hogan's anointed successor," Trump said. "Anybody he wants, frankly, I'd be against just on that basis alone."

Cox called former Vice President Mike Pence a traitor during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, The New York Times reported.

He has benefited from more than $1 million in ads that the Democratic Governors Association has run elevating him over Schulz on the belief he would be easier to defeat in the November midterm election.

The other races on the Maryland ballot include primaries for the state's first, fourth and sixth congressional districts. The first congressional district is the state's only firmly red district and it is unlikely that a Democratic nominee will be successful in unseating Rep. Andy Harris.

The primary elections started off with some concerned Tuesday as some polling locations opened late or were reported closed while others suffered technical problems, the Washington Post reported.

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