Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan, left, speaks with fellow candidate Charles Lollar before a Republican gubernatorial primary debate at Maryland Public Television's studios in Owings Mills, Md., Monday, June 2, 2014.
For the first time this century, Bob Ehrlich will not be the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Maryland. Instead, four candidates are squaring off to secure the Republican nod ahead of next week's June 24 primary.
Larry Hogan, who served in Ehrlich's cabinet, leads in the most recent polling on the race. A Washington Post poll showed Hogan with a comfortable lead over his trio of opponents.
After Ehrlich's term ended, Hogan founded the group Change Maryland. During a recent debate on NBC4, Hogan said he'll change some of the taxes increased during the tenure of current governor Martin O'Malley by rolling them back.
"We've got a very detailed plan. We've identified $1.75 billion in waste and fraud that's already been identified," Hogan says. "We have a balanced budget requirement, so you can't talk about eliminating taxes without identifying the cuts. And we've identified the cuts."
Taxes are big issue in the GOP primary and Charles Lollar has put them front and center during his campaign. The business executive and Marine says voters should know he would get rid of one of them.
"They know that we are going to eliminate the personal income tax over a five-year period. They know we're going to work the legislature on a taxpayer bill of rights to directly tie spending with cost of living," Lollar says.
The gun bill the General Assembly passed last year that imposed tighter licensing requirements and a ban on assault rifles is also a big topic with Republicans, and Lollar wants to get rid of it. But he adds he also wants to make sure similar "wedge issues" as he calls them become less attractive to politicians.
"Career politicians seek to use wedge issues to keep us separated and segregated. I want to ensure that every delegate and state senator has term limits," Lollar says.
As for Hogan, he admits there's little the next governor can do to change that gun law.
"Well, I think it's unlikely to be repealed, given that the Democrats in the legislature just rammed it through. But I am a strong supporter of the second amendment and opposed SB 281," Hogan says.
The Republican winner faces a tough hill to climb in the fall, as registered Democrats outnumber the GOP more than 2-1 in Maryland.
To compare the candidates and print out a ballot for the June 24 primary, visit WAMU.org/Vote.