Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—We’re in the closing hours of Maryland’s primary election day, and attention is turned to the outcome of the Republican presidential race.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports on action at the polls.
The up front and personal attention Republican candidates gave Maryland this campaign season generated excitement, but motivating voters may be harder work than you’d think.
Former Governor Bob Ehrlich is serving as the Maryland campaign chairman for the GOP front-runner.
“We’ll be on the road with him a little bit, doing a lot of TV for him. Whatever they need to get done, I’m certainly available to do it,” said Ehrlich. “Given the attention, given the rallies, the polls, the media coverage – particularly the national coverage — the national importance of Tuesday is much higher than usual.”
Republican presidential hopefuls — Mitt Romney in Arbutus, Newt Gingrich in Annapolis, Salisbury and Frederick, and Ron Paul in College Park — got up front and personal with Maryland voters this campaign season.
“Maryland actually has more say this election than what we’ve had previously, and that’s a good thing,” said Brian Young, voter.
While Romney is expected to sweep Tuesday’s primaries in Maryland, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., his opponents are vowing to continue the fight.
“It’s a very close race and by the end of May, we expect this race to be very close to even,” said Rick Santorum.
Marylanders will also decide Senate and Congressional candidates.
“While there are some who say not every election is important, each of us needs to come out and vote,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.
“I came out today and I voted Republican,” said Joe Lazzati.
But Young in Harford County and Lazzati in Carroll County were surprised at how few people showed up with them to vote.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” Young said.
“I am a little surprised that the traffic isn’t a little heavier,” Lazzati said.
“This polling place had about 200 people that’s voted so far. That’s pretty low for a very important presidential election,” Young said.
“And maybe that’s a sign that people aren’t very satisfied with the choices that they had today,” Lazzati said.
For Democrats, incumbent President Barack Obama is running unopposed, but there are some contested congressional races.
“It is important for me to come out and vote because it is my democratic right, and I will always be here whenever it’s time to vote,” said Marcia Hylton.
The payoff for Republicans this year is the 37 Maryland convention delegates that will help determine the party’s nominee.
The polls opened at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Maryland does offer early voting, so thousands of people have already cast their ballot.