Updated: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett retiring?


Speculation that Republican U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett will retire mounted Thursday as three prominent members of his own party announced they are considering running for his seat in a district made competitive by redistricting.

Bartlett’s office said the 85-year-old western Maryland
lawmaker is still seeking re-election to an 11th term. But Bartlett’s meager campaign fundraising - just $1,000 in the last quarter - has prompted some to conclude he plans to drop out.

On Thursday, state GOP Chairman and former state Sen. Alex X. Mooney, longtime Bartlett aide Harold “Bud” Otis and state Sen. David Brinkley said they are considering running for the seat. Mooney and Brinkley announced exploratory committees.

The state’s largely rural 6th Congressional District was redrawn this fall by Maryland’s Democratic leaders to bring in more of heavily Democratic Montgomery County, just outside Washington. The redistricting, to reflect population changes since the 2000 Census, is being challenged in court.

Mooney said in an interview that he’d support Bartlett if he ran hard but that the congressman doesn’t seem serious about raising funds for a race that Mooney estimated would cost each side $2 million to $3 million.

“At this moment, I don’t see him running,” Mooney said.

“Somebody who raises only a $1,000 in a quarter when there’s a bull’s eye on them, it’s concerning,” he said.

Mooney says he doesn’t think Bartlett will run again.

Democrats running or considering a run are Sen. Rob Garagiola, Duchy Trachtenberg, Milad Pooran, and John Delaney.

Other Republican candidates besides Mooney, Otis, and Brinkley include Robert Coblentz, Robin Ficker, Brandon Rippeon, and Joseph Krysztoforski.

UPDATE: Red Maryland reports that Bud Otis was actually fired by Bartlett.

UPDATE 2: Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter does an analysis of the situation which posits that the other potential Republican candidates seem to be trying to make sure Bartlett drops out. Additionally, Lazarick points out that - on the Democratic side of things - Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has endorsed Garagiola.

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