By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In a celebrity-packed event Friday, the stars were the voters, the entertainer was comedian Dave Chappelle and the theme was no joke.

Ben Jealous is hosting a series of events promoting early voting in Maryland, which begins next week. The kickoff event included Chappelle.

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“I have never, ever stuck my toe in politics before — I may never do it again. But this is important,” Chappelle said.

The former NAACP president is running ahead in the Democratic pack of gubernatorial candidates, who participated in WJZ’s primary election debate on Tuesday.

According to the latest Washington Post poll, Jealous is 5 points ahead of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who is running second.

“I knew it was going to be a close race. I feel good about where we are as a campaign,” Baker said Tuesday.

Getting out the vote is crucial for all candidates with four out of 10 Democrats still undecided.

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“I think it shows a wide open race, my goodness. It is three weeks to the day before election day and half of the electorate does not know who they’re going to vote for,” gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross said.

The closeness is keeping everyone involved committed to winning.

“I think this is anybody’s race still,” candidate Valerie Ervin said.

It’s up to the candidates to get voter interest growing.

Early voting is June 14-21.

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