Friday, April 6, 2012

CD6: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Will Begin Montgomery County Outreach Effort for November General Election // My 2 Cents

Roll Call's Abby Livingston has one of the more useful post-primary election stories from the 6th Congressional District media beat. Her piece interviews political insiders, but also previews Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's strategy for the November General Election. See an excerpt from @RollCallAbby's piece below:
ROLL CALL: Bartlett, who took 43 percent of the vote against seven opponents in Tuesday’s primary, is looking ahead as well. “We’re going to win,” the 85-year-old lawmaker said Wednesday.
When pressed on the fact that he was a sitting incumbent and did not break 50 percent in his party’s primary, Bartlett described his total as a “very respectable vote.” He explained that he was not an incumbent to nearly 50 percent of the redrawn district and had yet to foster the loyalty he currently enjoys.

He said his fundraising is going well and his campaign will have “adequate resources” to take on the wealthy Delaney. He said his TV ad buy during the primary was $128,000, and he intends to push hard to boost his name identification to his new constituents in Montgomery County. The expensive Washington media market will put pressure on his fundraising.

“If you aren’t on television, you’re missing your best opportunity to connect with people,” he said.

But, he added, he will also emphasize retail politicking. He said that along with television, he will campaign in Montgomery County Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce and in homes. He will target not just Republicans and independents, but also Democrats.

“When they know me in Montgomery County, I will be getting more than 10 percent of the Democratic vote there,” Bartlett said.

ROSCOE BARTLETT PRO & CON: Maryland Juice is curious whether Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's odd blend of politics can appeal to Montgomery County voters. To be sure, the Republican caucus is probably better with Bartlett in it than without him in it. For example, he votes against the Patriot Act and against other "Big Brother" civil liberties violations -- and he also takes up unique causes like animal welfare and peak oil (ie: energy independence). As a result, he wins accolades from "strange bedfellow" groups for the GOP like the animal rights activists at the Humane Society.

But along with the benefits of Bartlett's maverick side, we still get the usual grab-bag of ridiculous Republican issues. For example, Roscoe Bartlett was an early joiner of the Tea Party caucus, and he is both anti-choice and anti-marriage equality; the NRA is a strong backer of Roscoe Bartlett, etc. You get the idea....

Maryland Juice hopes that the Democratic nominee John Delaney is paying attention here. In an ideal world (does such a thing exist in politics?), I hope that Mr. Delaney can be as forceful a voice as Roscoe Bartlett is for unique and under-discussed issues like civil liberties, animal welfare, energy independence, etc. Yes, everyone cares about jobs and the economy, but that doesn't mean we won't get pissed off when you vote the wrong way on all of the other issues that come before you.

I encourage the base of the Democratic Party to help keep Mr. Delaney honest and forward-thinking on a broader set of issues than the Dems currently care about addressing. After all, we may be stuck with this guy for a decade, and the party elders will always argue for centrism in every instance. They will claim that anything less is "too risky" in a swing district. That line will begin to get tiring soon enough. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let the thrashing of Mr. Bartlett begin -- from now until November.

More previews of the CD6 November battle soon!

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