Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Retirement Watch: Chief of Staff Bud Otis Exploring Campaign // Plus, Robin Ficker Squeezes Juice

UPDATE: Roll Call says Sen. David Brinkley is going to primary Rep. Bartlett. Plus, The Washington Post's Ben Pershing has a follow-up on the Bartlett retirement rumors that includes a good snapshot of the candidate field right now. In addition to Bartlett's Chief of Staff Bud Otis, Pershing lists the following possibilities: 
...Bartlett will face some primary opposition if he does run. Four Republicans aside from Bartlett have already filed in the 6th District, including perennial candidate and sports heckler Robin Ficker and businessman Brandon Rippeon.

That number could soon swell — state Sen. David Brinkley (R-Frederick), state Sen. Christopher Shank (R-Washington County) and state GOP chairman Alex Mooney are all considering the race.

On the Democratic side, the field includes state Sen. Rob Garagiola (Montgomery County), former Montgomery County Council member Duchy Trachtenberg and financier John K. Delaney.
Ever since Maryland Democrats targeted Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's 6th Congressional District during the redistricting process, Maryland Juice has speculated that Mr. Bartlett would be ill-equipped to run for re-election in the new CD6. Today's news verifies that a retirement from Mr. Bartlett is likely. Yesterday, we reported on rumors that the Republican Party was abandoning Mr. Bartlett, and today Maryland Reporter reports that his Chief of Staff Bud Otis is plotting a run for his seat:
Maryland’s 6th District incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett continues to publicly insist he is running for reelection next year. But his chief of staff and campaign manager, Bud Otis, has been seeking support from Republicans for his own congressional run should Bartlett bow out....

Yesterday Washington County Del. Neil Parrott said he is one of those lawmakers Otis sought out....

According to Frederick County Del. Michael Hough, Otis contacted the same political consulting firm used by Bartlett to inquire as a candidate. Hough said he has firsthand knowledge of the conversation.

Additionally, a Republican fundraiser, who would speak only on background, said Otis contacted him last week by phone. When a conservation about 6th District gerrymandering turned to Bartlett’s reelection plans, the source said Otis said he wasn’t sure if Bartlett was going to run again or not, and then asked the fundraiser if he would support Otis if he didn’t, because it’s something he’s been thinking about for awhile.
Meanwhile, another candidate for the GOP nomination, anti-tax activist Robin Ficker, is ready to step into the fray. A Maryland Juice reader forwarded the following email they received from Mr. Ficker yesterday:

From: Robin Ficker <robin.ficker@.....>
Subject: Maryland Juice Blog Predicts Robin Ficker will win April 3 GOP Primary for 6th Congressional District Nomination
Sent: Tue, Nov 29, 2011

Maryland Juice Prediction: Robin Ficker Will Win GOP Nod for 6th Congressional District

Robin Ficker is a capable and diligent campaigner who has championed the Grover Norquist view of small government (ie: tax cuts are the solution to every problem). Indeed, in an article today Maryland Reporter notes that Mr. Ficker is pledging to dog Democratic State Senator Rob Garagiola throughout the campaign for Maryland's 6th Congressional District. Mr. Ficker apparently agrees with Maryland Juice's assessment yesterday that Mr. Garagiola is the current frontrunner in the race. Look at Mr. Ficker's ridiculous new homemade lawnsign frame:
But Mr. Ficker has something to cheer about himself. Maryland Juice believes Robin Ficker Realty is the frontrunner to win the GOP nomination for the CD6 race. Mr. Ficker has served as a Delegate and has run for office both statewide and countywide. He's also got a committed base of supporters and may start with higher name ID than other candidates in the race -- especially in the new CD6.

Montgomery County Republicans are likely to play a large role in selecting the CD6 nominee. The table below shows how many voters there are within the new CD6 from each of the five counties that the new District includes. I wanted to crudely make my point, so I also added in the total Countywide 2008 GOP Presidential Primary turnout from each of the five counties. Note that Montgomery County is divided between CD6, CD3, and CD8 -- but if even a third of the MoCo GOP resides in the new CD6, those voters will be very influential.

County  |  # of Voters in New CD6   |  2008 Countywide GOP Presidential Primary Turnout
  • Allegany  |  61,568  |  19,642
  • Frederick  |  87,354  |  56,885
  • Garrett  |  24,437  |  11,115
  • Montgomery  |  265,979  | 124,543
  • Washington  |  113,651  |  37,672
[New CD6 County Population Counts] |  [Maryland 2008 Presidential Primary Turnout (by party)]
Robin Ficker winning the nomination would have to mean he appeals to GOP voters beyond Montgomery County, but that shouldn't be too hard to imagine -- his anti-tax message will appeal to all the nuts in his party, I'm sure -- but note that his lawnsigns are about taxes, not about one's native tongue (like that guy with the Speak English lawnsign).

Now if my predictions are wrong, you don't get anything -- but maybe, just maybe, I'll invite the fine young men over at the GOP bloggers' Red Maryland Society Club to come share a cup with me in the real world of Montgomery -- it might be filled with wine, beer, horchata (mmmm) or a million other beverages.... We won't judge what you pick.

As for Mr. Ficker -- Maryland Juice would like to provide him with some help before the campaign begins in earnest. I am going to provide him with some quotes to put on his literature and fundraising solictations:
  • "Robin Ficker is the man Democrats fear most to take on Rob Garagiola"
  • "Robin Ficker's dogged anti-tax advocacy makes him enemy-number one for most Democrats"

If the GOP tries to push an establishment candidate into the race, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a Fred Tuttle moment (ie: see the little guy beat an establishment politician in the GOP primary). There seems to be a lot of populist fire in the Republican Party right now....

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