Rep. Roscoe Bartlett accepted the resignation of his chief of staff, Bud Otis, Wednesday night after reports that the aide was seeking political and financial support to run for his boss’ seat in Congress in the event Bartlett retires.
The Maryland Republican told Roll Call that with “the recent flurry of reports” about Otis’ activities, the aide was unable to “effectively serve me or the 6th Congressional district constituents.”
Bartlett did not ask for the resignation but did accept it. The two men have been friends for more than three decades.
Adding to the drama, former Bartlett staffer and current Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney filed paperwork Wednesday evening to form an exploratory committee to run for the seat.
Bartlett said today that he “chatted” Wednesday with Mooney and that he knew Mooney was planning to file.
It remains unclear whether Mooney is running contingent on a Bartlett retirement. Previously, he had said that he would not run if Bartlett seeks re-election. Bartlett indicated this afternoon that nothing had changed in his current status as a candidate for the 6th Congressional district.
He did say that Mooney is “acting responsibly” and that “Alex has my back.”
According to a statement, Mooney plans to step down from his current position as chairman of the state party in January when he officially files to run for Congress.
Roll Call reported Wednesday that state Sen. David Brinkley plans to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination, whether or not Bartlett retires. Democrats and Republicans say Mooney is a candidate who can seriously put the seat in play for Republicans.
Bartlett had not been in electoral trouble until redistricting drastically redrew his district. Roll Call now rates it as Leans Democratic. Both Democrats and Republicans say that it will probably change parties, but given the right candidate and environment, the seat is winnable for Republicans.
Bartlett raised $1,000 in the third quarter. When asked how fourth-quarter fundraising was going, Bartlett gave no figure but said that fundraising will come “all in good time.”
Both he and his press secretary, Lisa Wright, crowed about Bartlett’s efforts to raise $150,000 for the legal fund that is challenging the map that was drawn to flip his seat to Democratic. The Maryland map has brought howls from political observers for its gerrymandered lines.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.