BALTIMORE (AP) — A three-way race Tuesday for the Democratic nomination for Maryland attorney general was shaping up as a close contest between a state delegate with broad name recognition and a state senator with a long record of public service.
The winner faces Republican Jeffrey Pritzker and Libertarian Leo Wayne in November. Neither of them had primary competition.
Sen. Brian Frosh, a legislator for 28 years, had support from Gov. Martin O'Malley and many other top Maryland Democrats but lacked the widespread name recognition of Del. Jon Cardin, nephew of U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. Although polls showed Frosh gaining on Cardin as election day neared, the senator known for gun control and environmental leadership still had to overcome voters like Joan Duckett, 49, of Annapolis.
"I'm just a big fan of all the Cardins," Duckett said after voting at Annapolis Middle School. "The name recognition did help me there."
Tefta Karagjozi also voted for Cardin. The 60-year-old special education teacher said she was persuaded by his positions, including protecting children on the Internet. Cardin, a third-term delegate, pushed last year for the successful passage of a law making it a misdemeanor to repeatedly and maliciously use a computer to bully children.
"It was close, but I really liked Cardin," Karagjozi said after voting in Annapolis. "I just had a better gut feeling with him."
Frosh, endorsed by an array of labor unions, won the vote of retired Mack Truck worker Larry Barron, 72, in Hagerstown.
"I think the unions would get a hearing much better with Brian than they would with Jon," Barron said.
Eileen Shepard also voted for Frosh, partly because she respected his powerful position as chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
"He seems like a really intelligent guy," Shepard said after voting in Annapolis.
Cardin took heat during the race for missing numerous committee votes — absences he says were due to health concerns for his pregnant wife.
Frosh also criticized Cardin for praising Baltimore rapper Ski Money, who endorsed the delegate, before Cardin learned the musician, whose legal name is Lawrence Christian, had been charged in connection with a prostitution case. Cardin rejected the endorsement but not before a picture of him posing with Money was posted on social media.
Cardin also confronted embarrassing reminders of his 2009 marriage proposal involving a Baltimore police boat and police helicopter in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Police pretended to search for contraband on a boat carrying Cardin and his friends until Cardin popped the question to his current wife, Megan. He has apologized repeatedly for the stunt and reimbursed the city $300.
Del. Aisha Braveboy of Prince George's County is also in the race.
Associated Press Correspondent Brian Witte and Newswoman Jessica Gresko contributed to this story from Annapolis and Bethesda, respectively.