Monday, July 16, 2012

CD6: Pundits Smell Trouble for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett // Democrat John Delaney Seen as Likely Victor in Top Congressional Race

It might not surprise some to hear that several pundits are now beginning to proclaim Democrat John Delaney the frontrunner in the race for Maryland's 6th Congressional District (CD6). Indeed, over the last few days, some high profile political oddsmakers are predicting that Tea Party Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's days are numbered. See a few examples below and accept my apologies for the recent interruption of articles at Maryland Juice. I'm currently in the midst of launching a new project, which I hope to tell ya'll about soon. But that can wait -- back to the 6th Congressional District horse race for now:

6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RATED "LIKELY DEMOCRATIC" THIS NOVEMBER - UVA Professor Larry Sabato runs the school's Center for Politics, where he often publishes horse-race analyses and other punditry. Last Thursday, the Center's "Crystal Ball" blog changed the rating for CD6 from "leans Democratic" to "likely Democratic." Kyle Kondik, Sabato's U.S. House editor provided the following explanation (excerpt below):

LARRY SABATO'S CRYSTAL BALL: If we had to call all the races today, we’d estimate a Democratic gain of somewhere between five and 10 seats, with a specific guess of Democrats plus six. That would place the Republican majority at 236, with 199 Democrats, or one below the over/under.... Since our last update two weeks ago, we’ve made a few tweaks in our House ratings, all favorable to Democrats:

The growing consensus seems to be that Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) is a goner, not only because Maryland Democrats redrew his seat to elect a Democrat but also because it seems as though Republicans won’t be all that sad to see the unpredictable octogenarian go. He and freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) are the only two Republicans we place in the “likely Democratic” category — making them the two GOP incumbents likeliest to lose in November.

REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT IS AMERICA'S 5TH MOST VULNERABLE INCUMBENT - The oddsmakers at The Washington Post's political desk are on the same page as Larry Sabato. Last Friday, their horserace blog "The Fix," called Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett the 5th most vulnerable House member in the nation. The Fix's Aaron Blake and Rachel Weiner noted (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Some House seats are going to change hands in this November’s election; there is no doubt about this fact.... Below, we look at the 10 most vulnerable seats in the country....

5. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.): Maryland Democrats gave the veteran Republican a very tough district that includes little of his old territory, and self-funding businessman John Delaney earned plaudits for his upset in the Democratic primary over state Sen. Rob Garagiola. The 85-year-old incumbent is the underdog here.

MONEY TROUBLES: DELANEY OUTPACING BARTLETT IN FUNDRAISING - One key factor that could be casting Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in a weak light, is that his Democratic opponent is outpacing him in fundraising. Notably, Democrat John Delaney raised more than Bartlett in this filing period, without having dipped into his own (deep) pockets. The Baltimore Sun's John Fritze reported (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Republican Rep.Roscoe G. Bartlett ... posted his best fundraising quarter in years on Friday, but was nevertheless outraised by his Democratic challenger, John Delaney.

Bartlett ... collected just over $372,000 in the past three months.... But Delaney ... is expected to raise slightly more than $450,000 in the same period....

Delaney's campaign said none of their contribtuons (aside from the potential for a handful of small in-kind donations) came from the candidate himself...

MEDIA ECHO CHAMBER FORMING AROUND BARTLETT WEAKNESSES - Once the stench of a likely loss begins to form around a candidate, it can become difficult to later change public expectations. I think the persistently expressed views that Roscoe Bartlett is going to lose are beginning to sound like an echo chamber. The Washington Post's Ben Pershing had a piece this Sunday summing up the feeling that everyone sees Bartlett in critical condition:
WASHINGTON POST: For the first time since he was elected two decades ago, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett is in real danger of losing his seat....
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report and Rothenberg Political Report both rate Bartlett and Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.) as the two most endangered Republican incumbents in the country. A Delaney campaign poll released after the primaries showed him leading Bartlett by nine points.

“I think things would have to go pretty far south nationally for Democrats for Bartlett to have a chance,” said David Wasserman, the Cook Report’s House editor.... 
“It’s unclear whether Republicans can afford to bail Bartlett out.”
This type of coverage seems to be becoming more common. After all, you hardly ever read a mention of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett now that doesn't mention the incumbent's limp hold on his Congressional seat.

Is this race over? It could be that Roscoe Bartlett's days are numbered. Maybe this'll embolden Democrat John Delaney's issue agenda. After all, Delaney is speaking at a Town Hall meeting TONIGHT, organized by the Dream Act activists responsible for the JSA movement (see invitation).

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