Prognosticators say that Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the Republican former governor, has the most to prove: He's anywhere between 8 and 11 points down in the polls and can use the forum to cut through paid advertising where he is being outspent and make a fresh and direct pitch.
Gov. Martin O'Malley has a chance to excite his base -- a feat that appears particularly difficult this year after one of the most lackluster primary races in recent history.
Every gubernatorial cycle seems to include a debate about the debates and this year is no different. O'Malley's camp sent out a statement Sunday evening designed to pressure Ehrlich into accepting a second televised debate in the Washington D.C. media market. The two camps have already agreed to two other debates to be broadcast on the radio.
It is hard to know how many minds can be changed via a debate, though a freewheeling back-and-forth is a terrific environment for unscripted moments. The Associated Press put together this nice collection of memorable debate moments thus far.
O'Malley and Ehrlich are both seasoned politicians comfortable with their talking points causing even one die hard politico from Harford County to predict the event will be a "snore." But we'd advise keeping a close eye on the body since the two men are longtime foes.