By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — With just about three months to go until the primary election, a new poll shows the leading Democratic candidates in the race for U.S. Senate are in a dead heat.

At this point, it’s unclear who will emerge as the front runner to replace retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains.

Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen poll to a virtual tie in the Democratic primary. Despite extensive TV ad campaigns, the Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Democrats are only two percentage points apart.

The Gonzales Poll finds that Van Hollen and Edwards are still not well known outside the D.C. suburbs. Van Hollen polls at 38 percent, Edwards at 36 percent.

But the margin of error is plus-or-minus five percent — meaning, either candidate could be learing or they could be tied. Twenty-four percent are undecided.

“I think that means that an awful lot of people are undecided. And my guess is it also means that even the votes of support are not overly intensive,” said Richard Vatz, political analyst.

Donna Edwards gets most of her support from Prince George’s County and Baltimore City. Van Hollen leads in the rest of the state, including the Baltimore suburbs and Montgomery County.

“I think you have a very, very tough race,” said Vatz.

Both candidates are seen in TV campaign ads. Donna Edwards is supported by a political action committee. Chris Van Hollen has hefty campaign contributions.

Both campaigns point to the advertising dollars in their statements about the poll.

Van Hollen about Edwards: “We’re pleased that Chris Van Hollen has maintained his lead, despite the million dollar blitz of Super PAC advertising.”

Edwards about Van Hollen: “Despite Congressman Van Hollen’s $1.5 million ad campaign, Donna’s momentum is growing.”

“It appears, obviously, that this race has not been won one way or the other,” said Vatz.

Both campaigns have their work cut out for them.

Five other Democrats and four Republicans are also on the ballot.

Primary day is April 26. Early voting starts April 14.

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