ANNAPOLIS, Md. (APWJLA) - Maryland voters will be selecting candidates for statewide offices and for the General Assembly in primary matchups throughout the state on Tuesday.
Sure to be paying as much attention to the results as Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will be the man Brown wants to replace - Gov. Martin O'Malley.
A Democratic primary win for Brown, a likely favorite come November in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1, is a victory, too, for the departing O'Malley. It would install in Annapolis an ally at home able to carry on and defend the work of his old boss' eight years in office as O'Malley heads toward a potential run for president in 2016.
"His victory will validate the fact that Gov. O'Malley has been a successful, results-oriented leader for the state of Maryland," said Lis Smith, a Democratic political operative who works for O'Malley's political action committee.
Brown is undoubtedly the choice of the state's Democratic establishment, having won widespread endorsement from state, local and federal officials in Maryland. He's favored in Tuesday's primary, with recent polls showing him as a clear front-runner against Del. Heather Mizeur and state Attorney General Doug Gansler.
Gansler's campaign provides an example of some of the headaches O'Malley might face while spending time in New Hampshire and Iowa, where he was the keynote speaker this past weekend at the Democratic state convention, should Brown not be seated in his old office in Annapolis.
While Brown led the state's efforts around health care reform and adoption of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, it was O'Malley who took the lead in providing updates on the status of Maryland's badly troubled health care exchange website, which crashed shortly after it debuted Oct. 1.
The website is being revamped with new technology from Connecticut for the next enrollment period beginning Nov. 15 - soon after the general election on Nov. 4. Gansler has used the issue to attack Brown. A win for Brown puts an O'Malley partner of eight years with a large share of responsibility for the health care rollout and a stake in its success in office.
"Marylanders want to see leaders who did the hard work, took on the problems - even the problems that arose - and got the job done," Brown said in a debate this month, noting the state still exceeded its goal of 260,000 new enrollments through added Medicaid signups.
A victory by Brown in November also eliminates the prospect of a GOP governor undoing the wide variety of tax increases O'Malley shepherded through the state legislature while in office to fund environmental protection efforts and build transportation infrastructure.
The issue is a priority for real estate broker Larry Hogan, a GOP candidate who has fared well in poll's ahead of Tuesday's primary.
"The people feel like they got hoodwinked last time, and they've just been beaten to death over the past four years and eight years, and they definitely want to see a change," Hogan said.
The primary on Tuesday includes several races involving candidates who are trying to make comebacks after high-profile ethical and legal problems.
Former Prince George's County Del. Tiffany Alston, a Democrat who was ousted from her seat in 2012 over theft and misconduct convictions, is running.
Anne Arundel County Republican Del. Don Dwyer is seeking re-election after missing some votes this year because he was in jail on the weekends for drunken boating and driving a car while impaired.
Baltimore political consultant Julius Henson is running for state Senate. Henson served a 30-day jail term in 2012 after being convicted of conspiracy for robocalls he made on Election Day in 2010.