By Madeline Marshall
Capital News Service
The presidential primary election hits Maryland on Tuesday, and for the first time in a while, it actually matters.
“Probably the last time it was relevant was 35, 40 years ago,” said American University history professor Allan Lichtman, Ph.D., referring to the 1976 primary between Ronald Reagan and then-President Gerald Ford.
Maryland’s primary on Tuesday is exactly three months after the first primary caucus in Iowa. Usually candidates have been selected by the time the primary comes to Maryland, but not this year.
And because of it, Republican presidential hopefuls have showered Maryland with attention over the past two weeks. Mitt Romney, who currently leads the delegate race with 558 supporters, on March 21. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has 133 delegates, on March 27.
on Wednesday, for a rally in Ritchie Coliseum. Paul currently has 50 delegates.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who has 273 delegates, did not visit Maryland.
Maryland's 37 delegates should impact the race to reach 1,144 to win the nomination, Lichtman said. (.)
There are a total of eight Republican candidates on the primary ballot for Tuesday. Find the complete list here. The candidate who is eventually nominated will challenge President Barack Obama on General Election Day on Tuesday Nov. 6.
One of Maryland's two Senate seats is also up for grabs this election season. Nine democrats will appear on the primary ballot, including incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin.
Ten Republican candidates appear on the primary ticket, .
Find the complete list of primary candidates here.
College Park Patch Local Editor Shannon Hoffman contributed to this report.