The last time a gubernatorial election was this wide-open was 1994, when political warhorse Joe Brennan won the Democratic nomination in a five-way race, while first-time candidate Susan Collins took the Republican prize, after running against seven opponents.

At that time, the Internet was in its infancy. There were no blogs, no YouTube, no Facebook friends or Twitter. When politicians wanted money, they sent you a letter. When the eventual winner, independent Angus King, wanted to get his message out, he wrote a book.

Today, we have so many more ways to get information than we did then, we should be better informed than ever, but it doesn’t always work that way.

As Maine prepares to winnow the field for the election of its next governor, many of us have concerns about the economy, education, taxes and the direction the state is heading.

But despite our ability to access information, we don’t know any more about the four Democrats and seven Republicans running this year than we did about the ones who ran in 1994.

With less than six weeks to go before the primary, the time to focus on the election is here.

MaineToday Media, which includes the Kennebec Journal, the Morning Sentinel and the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, in partnership with the WGME Channel 13 news team will be leveraging all that the new technology to bring distinctions between the men and women who are running for the state’s highest office.

Tonight at 7, we will host the four Democrats at the Irish Heritage Center in Portland. On May 7, we will have the Republican candidates at the Portland Expo.

Both events are open to the public, will be broadcast live on Channel 13, and will be the subject of special sections in the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel and the Portland Press Herald.

Members of the public can submit questions online all day before the debate, and, if they can’t watch live, they can use our websites to catch up at a more convenient time.

It’s time to tune in to a crowded race in what could be a pivotal year in Maine’s history. There are more ways to get information than ever, so it’s up to all voters to use those media to get informed.

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