Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2012 Election Preview - Maryland Congressional District 6 // Rep. Roscoe Bartlett vs. [FIND OUT HERE]

UPDATE: One Democratic lawmaker added, "State Senator Chris Shank should be on your list for CD6 Republican candidates. He is very talented and represents Washington County." Additionally, a reader adds the following to the CD6 list: "Former Frederick County Commissioner Jan Gardner? I always thought she could crush Mooney for Senate." Ms. Gardner lives in Maryland House District 3A in Frederick.

Another Democratic operative added, "Jan Gardner is a Democrat and Senator Barbara Mikulski's State Director. More than one person mentioned her name to me today. Given that the Democratic electorate in the 6th will be dominated by MoCo, I just don't think a WestMD Dem has any chance. Another GOP possibility for CD6 is D2B Delegate Neil Parrott of Washington County. He did all the petition work against the Dream Act and was mentioned as a future Congressional candidate then." Are there any other potential candidates we are missing? Email david@marylandjuice.com

Folks, it finally happened. Maryland Democrats have announced that in 2012, they will attempt to shift their 6-2 advantage in the state's U.S. House Delegation to 7-1. In doing so, they will try to replace Rep. Roscoe Barlett (one of two Republicans representing Maryland in the House) with a Democratic member. Maryland Juice decided to find out more about Rep. Bartlett and his electoral history, along with the various challengers that may seek to replace him.

According to Rep. Bartlett's Wikipedia entry, he is a member of the Tea Party caucus, and at the age of 85, he is also the 2nd oldest member of the House. For that reason, many think he would weigh retirement instead of facing the toughest re-election battle of his career. To be sure, Mr. Bartlett only raised $72,700 in the first six months of the year, bringing him to $262,766 cash-on-hand. That is a pretty small haul for an incumbent heading into a potential multi-million dollar race in only a few months.

Even still, Democrats would be foolish to underestimate the GOP in this race. Mr. Bartlett was first elected to Congress in 1992, and in his current district he has beaten every Democrat with large margins:
2002: Roscoe Bartlett 66.11% vs. Donald DeArmon 33.8% 
2004: Roscoe Bartlett 67.38%  vs. Kenneth Bosley 29.46%     
2006: Roscoe Bartlett 58.97% vs. Andrew Duck 38.43%

2008: Roscoe Bartlett 58.18% vs. Jennifer Dougherty 38.48%

2010: Roscoe Bartlett 61.8% vs. Andrew Duck 32.9 %
Note the following Wikipedia description of the current 6th District: "Maryland's Sixth Congressional District elects a representative to the United States House of Representatives from the northwest part of the state. Today the district comprises all of Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll Counties, as well as portions of Montgomery, Baltimore, and Harford Counties."

Now compare that to this description of the new 6th District from The Washington Post: "Bartlett, whose 6th District runs across the top of the state from the West Virginia border to the Susquehanna River, would lose the eastern part of his district and a portion of Frederick County, while adding Poolesville, Gaithersburg and other pieces of western Montgomery County."

Knowledgeable sources have told Maryland Juice that President Obama should have earned roughly 60% of the vote in 2008 in the precincts comprising the new 6th District. Additionally, they have indicated that the Democratic performance of this new District will be roughly 53%. One reader clarified that the 53% might mean the following:
I wanted to add a "guess" to the 53% performance number that makes it consistent with 60% for Obama in 2012.  Generally, Democratic Performance (determined by Democratic operatives) is a figure determined by data crunching from the National Committee for an Effective Congress.  NCEC data determines the performance of the "average Democrat" and takes in to account good candidates, bad candidate, and neutral candidates and tracks their performance across precincts, counties, districts, etc.  So it would stand to reason that in high Presidential turnout, a well-funded, well-known candidate like Obama would exceed Democratic Performance.  That said, some Blue Dog Democratic districts across the country have Dem Performance around 45 or 46% and Obama will underperform, while a Heath Shuler (as an example) would outperform because he is a D that fits the R leanings of the district.
If anyone has the data sheets for the new Districts, Maryland Juice would appreciate a copy: david@marylandjuice.com. In any case, the announcement of the new District means that we will soon be hearing about potential candidates for CD6. Below we quickly mention a few rumors.

Potential Candidates:

Supposedly, close to 80% of District 15's current residents will be shifted to the new CD6. That should provide some continuity of representation for State Senator Rob Garagiola. Indeed, many insiders have indicated that Senate President Mike Miller has been trying to clear the path for the D15 State Senator. This means we may be unlikely to see any other sitting State Senators enter the race, even if they might be interested. Sources indicate Senator Ron Young of Frederick has already expressed that he is not interested in the race. So that really leaves Maryland Juice to start thinking creatively about where other primary candidates may come from. Bear in mind that residency requirements are likely to be loose. As a result, one rumor circulating recently is that District 20 Delegate Heather Mizeur might jump into the race.

A couple people have theorized (based on no evidence) that former Delegate Mark Shriver ought to take a look at the race. Mr. Shriver is a member of the Kennedy-clan, and they currently have no family members in Congress. Maryland Juice also thinks that the proximity of CD6 to Inside-the-Beltway communities ought to draw a pundit or national advocate into the race (think ie: columnist E.J. Dionne who leaves nearby in Bethesda -- or someone like him). CD8 races previously drew, for example, Ralph Neas from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Terry Lierman from the Maryland Democratic Party. In any case, it is early yet, and Mr. Garagiola (who has yet to open a federal fundraising account) is expected to announce for the race within the month.

Basically, right now the Democratic field looks empty with only Mr. Garagiola being widely discussed. In the meantime, Maryland Juice will start looking into the Republican field, but we expect Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young and GOP Chair Alex Mooney to weigh a race if Rep. Bartlett retires. Blech. On second thought, Rep. Bartlett might face a primary challenger even if he does run for re-election. Under any scenario, he will have to introduce himself to a ton of new voters....

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