Thursday, October 20, 2011

Redistricting Fallout: Rep. Bartlett Running in New CD6 // 1 or 2 Lawsuits // A New Senate Majority Leader

UPDATE: Breaking news from Twitter - "MARYLAND - CD-6: State Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola (D) files FEC paperwork to challenge Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R)." @Politics1com

Yesterday, the Maryland Assembly finally brought the deliberations over 2012 Congressional boundaries to a close. Though there are still some procedural votes left (ie: the Sun noted 24 typos in the redistricting bill that need to be corrected in the Senate), the State is likely to plow forward in implementing Governor O'Malley's new map. This will kick off a wave of fresh stories for Maryland Juice, but below we highlight a preview of the fallout from the new redistricting plan:

Enter the CD6 Republican Candidates

The biggest news is that with CD6 boundaries finally looking predictable enough to start campaigning, we can expect to start seeing candidates lining up to run. Hagerstown's Herald-Mail received an email response from newly endangered GOP incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett:
"I filed for re-election in June and approval of this map hasn't changed my plans to seek re-election to represent the residents of Maryland's Sixth District in the U.S. House of Representatives."
The new map Mr. Bartlett refers to is (of course), Governor O'Malley's newly approved redistricting plan, that happens to push enough Montgomery voters into CD6 to make it a majority Democratic District. I predict two things will soon happen:
  1. Other GOP officials will smell Bartlett's blood in the water in the new CD6 and will file as primary challengers, and therefore
  2. Bartlett may yet change his mind about a re-election bid. 

    Even if Roscoe Bartlett can hold CD6 for one more term, does he really represent the future of the GOP in the District? Rep. Bartlett is by no means a sure thing in a General Election, and in the hyper-activist GOP climate, it is unclear how easily he would win a primary with as many new GOP voters from Montgomery and other places, as he is likely to receive. The question then becomes, who else will run in the GOP's CD6 primary, and who will best reflect the party's new electorate? Previously, we discussed Rep. Bartlett's past electoral performance, and our readers and spies floated the following likely Republican contenders:
    • Maryland GOP Chair Alex Mooney
    • State Senator Chris Shank
    • Delegate Neil Parrott
    • Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young

    Feel free to pitch additional candidates into the rumor-mill: Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun reiterates Bartlett's present vulnerabilities (for both a Primary and a General Election candidate): 
    Bartlett, a 10-term lawmaker, has long faced speculation that the new district would prompt him to retire. He did not help dispel those rumors with his most recent fundraising report, which shows he collected only $1,000 in the past three months -- despite the fact that his race could easily become one of the most expensive in the country.
    A source knowledgeable with Democratic thinking on the CD6 race claims Dem candidates will be looking at $2-$3 million fundraising goals. I think Bartlett may be holding out hope that a lawsuit will save him.

    1 or 2 Lawsuits?

    Indeed, there has been much speculation about litigation arising from the new redistricting plan. The Chestertown Spy noted:
    Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee, a civil rights group established to oppose the O’Malley plan, has joined with the Maryland GOP to fight the law in federal court. Fannie Lou also said they would file a grievance with the US Department of Justice.
    I almost missed the particular phrasing of the quote above. Fannie Lou Hamer PAC has existed for a few years, at the federal level. But the quote above is accurate, as the Maryland State Board of Elections indicates a new Fannie Lou Hamer Maryland PAC was formed last October:

    Meanwhile, Rep. Donna Edwards issued the following press release, which one party source admitted fearing that it left the door open for a lawsuit:
    Congresswoman Edwards' Statement on Passage of Redistricting Plan in Maryland House of Delegates

    Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) released the following statement today regarding passage of the redistricting plan in the Maryland House of Delegates.

    "The redistricting plan passed in the Maryland House today is not the best approach for minority voters or for all Marylanders. Nonetheless, the legislative process in the General Assembly has run its course.  I thank all of the citizens, elected officials and advocates who made their concerns heard over the past two weeks. Our country and the state of Maryland face pressing challenges that must be matched by thoughtful and authentic leadership from and on behalf of all communities. I look forward to continuing to represent the people of the 4th Congressional District."

    A New Majority Leader & A New CD6 Democratic Candidate?

    Lastly, Maryland Senator Rob Garagiola should be expected to announce his CD6 Congressional bid soon. At least one other Democratic campaign may be in the works, as Maryland Juice has been contacted by operatives for a potential moderate Democratic candidate.

    Remember that Sen. Garagiola is currently the Majority Leader, and so his departure from the body or entry into full-time campaigning will eventually trigger a race to replace him. Senate President Mike Miller may be inclined to tap another Montgomery legislator for that position, so we expect to hear rumors on that soon!

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