TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) – There are several key races to watch as political candidates look to fill vacancies in Maryland’s state government, including the campaign to become the next attorney general.

That race is already heating up as two candidates with name recognition square off in the Democratic primary, former Maryland First Lady Katie Curran O’Malley and her husband’s former running mate, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown.

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Whoever wins might be pitted against Jim Shalleck, who’s seeking the Republican nomination.

“What is so great for Democratic voters is that there are two candidates who are really qualified,” Dr. Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College, told WJZ. “And you can pick between the two and both have historic candidacies.”

O’Malley, a retired Baltimore District Court judge, is already well known to voters. Her husband, Martin, is the former governor. She’s also the daughter of Joe Curran, the longest serving attorney general in Maryland’s history.

If elected as the state’s top law enforcement officer, Kromer noted, O’Malley would become the first female to hold that office, “She would also be a part of a father-daughter duo that has not been seen in the state,” she said.

Running against O’Malley is Brown, the former lieutenant governor and her husband’s running mate. Currently a congressman representing Maryland’s 4th District, which covers Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, Brown is an Army veteran with significant experience in the political arena.

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“Brown is a progressive lawmaker, a veteran and, during the Trump years, he advocated for the rights of [transgender] service members,” Kromer said.

The winner of the Democratic primary will likely face Shalleck, who’s running on a “tough-on-crime” platform.

“There’s an epidemic of crime in Maryland,” Halleck, a former prosecutor, can be heard saying in a recent ad. “I’m a prosecutor and I want to use the powers of the Attorney General’s Office to fight it.”

Besides the attorney general’s office, the governor’s and comptroller’s offices are also up for grabs next year.

Kromer said there’s a chance that all three seats–the most powerful in the state’s executive branch–could end up being filled by female candidates, which would be another first in Maryland’s history.

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The primary is set to happen in June, while the general election will be held in November.

Rachael Cardin