On the busiest day yet this cycle in the Maryland 6th district race, Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett reiterated his intention to run for re-election.
“We will run a vigorous, well-funded and positive re-election campaign,” the 85-year-old 10-term incumbent said today in a written statement.
He promised to “prevail against the candidate hand-picked by the Democrat machine which has gerrymandered and corrupted the legislative process for their benefit, not the benefit of the people.” The line was a shot at state Sen. Robert Garagiola (D) and the state Democrats who drew and passed the map that put Bartlett’s district in peril.
The Garagiola campaign had previously dismissed that criticism.
Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Wright told the Maryland Reporter today that the incumbent had stepped up his fundraising efforts in the fourth quarter. “He raised $150,000 for the redistricting lawsuit – beginning only in December he raised more than $160,000 in pledges for his campaign with $100,000 received,” Wright said.
He had raised $1,000 in the third quarter, setting off retirement speculation.
With a Jan. 11 filing deadline looming, candidates from both parties are beginning to make their moves. Montgomery County businessman John Delaney filed to run for the Democratic nomination. He stressed to Roll Call his experience as “a job creator” and indicated a willingness to put his own funds into the campaign.
A Delaney campaign news release also crowed about an endorsement from former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, widely viewed as one of the major Democratic heavyweights in the county.
State Sen. David Brinkley (R) officially announced his candidacy today as well. A campaign news release stated that “Republican elected officials and community leaders urged Brinkley” to consider a run. The release echoed Bartlett’s criticism of the redrawn map, but it noted Bartlett’s age and said it was “widely speculated” that Bartlett “could not win re-election” in the new district.
Maryland Republicans have disagreed over that notion throughout the fall. Some say Bartlett is the strongest GOP candidate in the Democratic-leaning district. Others conclude a younger candidate is the best hope to hold onto the seat.
State Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney is still publicly on the fence about a run. The former Bartlett Congressional staffer told Roll Call, “I want to sit down with Congressman Bartlett and see what his exact plans are, what kind of campaign he’s going to run and make sure he’s 100 percent committed to do what it takes to win.”
Mooney is in the exploratory phase of his campaign. As for his fourth-quarter fundraising, Mooney said, “It went well.” Should he run, he will step down from running the state party.
While candidates are formalizing intentions to run, one contender withdrew from the race. Former Montgomery County Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg pulled out from the Democratic race today, citing a recurrence of breast cancer.
At this point in the campaign, Garagiola has the strongest campaign infrastructure. He is perceived as the favorite to win the seat among insiders in both parties, but few of the operatives Roll Call has spoken to say Garagiola has a lock on the nomination or the general election.
Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.
Although the 6th district race has consumed most of the attention, state Sen. Nancy Jacobs will formally announce Thursday that she is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger in the state’s 2nd district. The seat is not considered competitive and will likely remain in Democratic hands.