By Pat Warren

WOODLAWN, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates had their last scheduled broadcast debate Thursday morning.

Pat Warren reports the candidates admit their own campaign tactics may be discouraging voters.

Thursday morning on WOLB radio this is what listeners heard:

“I think one of the reasons why we are expecting a slightly lower turnout is because of the dirty politics,” said Doug Gansler, candidate for governor.

An independent group is running an ad on cable in Montgomery County calling Gansler unfit to be governor:

“Underage drinking going on apparently and he did nothing to stop it,” the ad said.

A Gansler campaign ad criticizes Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown’s handling of the health exchange:

“And now he wants a promotion to governor?” the ad said.

In their talk radio debate, the candidates were questioned on the early election date and the projected low voter turnout.

“I think what encourages people to vote and engage in democracy are positive campaigns that are waged on the issues, that will lift people up and inspire them to engage,” said Heather Mizeur, candidate for governor.

Voters saw the first direct hit after Lieutenant Governor Brown skipped a televised debate in May. The Brown campaign countered with an ad, accusing Attorney General Gansler of befriending corporations and not supporting pre-kindergarten.

“My neighbors, my mother gets the lieutenant governor’s mail. And she didn’t know I hated kids. She actually didn’t know that until she got his mail,” said Gansler.

The candidates agree the attacks are distracting.

“On the issue of negative campaigning, I think campaigns are about a competition of ideas. In fact, in the fall I sent to the campaigns a pledge, asking everyone to sign up and reject negative advertising. And no one signed up for that,” said Brown.

Delegate Mizeur has stayed out of the fray. Her first ad hit the air this week.

The biggest reason for low turnout is probably the date. The primary was moved to June 24 after the federal government required more time for military overseas to get their ballots processed.

Early voting starts June 12.

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