BALTIMORE (AP) — State Sen. Brian D. Frosh, a longtime advocate for gun control and environmental protection, won the Democratic nomination for attorney general Tuesday in a three-way race that included a nephew of U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin.
With 80 percent of precincts reporting, Frosh had 49 percent of the vote. State Delegate Jon Cardin of Baltimore County had 31 percent. Delegate Aisha Braveboy of Prince George's County had 20 percent.
Frosh, 67, will face Republican corporate lawyer Jeffrey Pritzker and Libertarian attorney Leo Wayne in the Nov. 4 general election. Neither had primary challengers.
Frosh, of Montgomery County, has been a state legislator for 28 years and is in his 20th as a senator. He was endorsed by Gov. Martin O'Malley and many other state Democratic leaders and labor unions whose support helped Frosh overcome the widespread name recognition Cardin enjoyed as a nephew of Maryland's junior U.S. senator.
Frosh, who trailed Cardin by 6 points in a Washington Post poll published two weeks before the election, said it was a tough race.
"Oh, my God, yes," he said in a telephone interview. He said a flurry of endorsements late in race helped build support and carry him to victory.
"It was really in many ways a grassroots effort, but we also raised enough money to get on television and get the message out," he said.
Frosh said he looks forward to bringing his public safety message to voters in the general election.
Cardin said in a concession speech that he had called Frosh and told him "I am hopeful that he will look out for all the interests of all Marylanders" to ensure they are treated "not only fairly and equally, but with dignity and respect."
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, praised Frosh as an experienced, thoughtful and accomplished lawyer.
"I think he'll make an outstanding attorney general," Brown said.
Annapolis resident Eileen Shepard said she 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.
Cardin, a third-term delegate, took heat during the race for missing numerous committee votes — absences he said reflected his concern about the health of his pregnant wife. He also was dogged by a 2009 marriage proposal stunt in which Baltimore police pretended to search for contraband on a boat where Cardin eventually popped the question. He has apologized repeatedly and reimbursed the city $300.
Associated Press writers Brian Witte in Annapolis and Juliet Linderman in Baltimore contributed to this story.