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Maryland: Battle for the Statehouse

Democrat: Gov. Martin O'Malley

Republican: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich

2008 Presidential Result: Obama 62%; McCain 36%

55+ Population (2009 estimate): 23.8%

Overview: Maryland used to be considered a reliably Democratic state, but Bob Ehrlich turned that theory on its head eight years ago and became governor. He was beaten by Martin O'Malley four years ago, setting up the rematch. In a state that usually is among the top three in education, O'Malley is promising to spend even more. Ehrlich, former captain of Princeton's football team, frequently calls as a guest commentator on Baltimore sports talk radio shows. Ehrlich accuses O'Malley of spending money the state doesn't have, forcing borrowing. O'Malley has come through a bruising budget fight just this year, forcing fiscal issues into the fore. Polls showed a dead heat early on before O'Malley took a double-digit lead. If Ehrlich wins on Election Night, it will be a very long evening for Democrats.

50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.

Fun Fact: O'Malley has played in a Celtic rock band and still occasionally gets together with the other band members to play. He and Vice President Joe Biden have mutual friends from the times the band used to play in nearby Delaware, when O'Malley was the mayor of Baltimore.

'Wild Card' Issue: Capital punishment. Maryland still has a capital punishment law, despite O'Malley's attempts to get the state Assembly to change it. However, Ehrlich accuses O'Malley of deliberately slow-walking capital cases to accomplish the same thing.

Introduction: Governors' Races Hold High Stakes for the Future

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