By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The gloves are off in the Maryland Democratic Senate primary. Representatives Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards are vying for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski.

The two came face-to-face Friday in a debate, moderated by WJZ’s Vic Carter.

Political reporter Pat Warren has a preview of the showdown you will only see on WJZ tonight.

One of the most hotly contested primaries in the country, the Democratic rivals for Maryland’s U.S. Senate nomination raise the game in Baltimore.

Chris Van Hollen–accusing Donna Edwards of distorting his record.

“This is exactly the kind of thing that voters hate about politics,” Van Hollen said.

Edwards–accusing Van Hollen of playing to the crowd.

“And I think that Maryland deserves a Senator who’s going to do the same thing in front of the cameras they’re going to do behind closed doors,” she said.

Van Hollen and Edwards have been see-sawing in a statistical dead heat.

“In many cases, [Edwards] has not been there for her constituents when they’re in need,” said Van Hollen.

“Ask the 30,000 constituents who’ve gotten service from my office,” responded Edwards.

“They acquitted themselves very well, they distinguished themselves only a little bit from each other,” said Don Norris, UMBC School of Public Policy.

But each candidate is determined to fight to the end.

“And talk about our combined visions and aspirations for Baltimore and for our state,” said Edwards.

“My focus has always been on listening to constituents and taking action that makes a difference in their lives, and I hope that came across in this debate,” Van Hollen said.

Decide for yourself. At this point, it appears to be anybody’s race.

You can watch Vic Carter moderate the Democratic Senate debate between Representatives Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen in its entirety at 7 p.m. on WJZ, or WATCH LIVE HERE:

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