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Bartlett makes rare public appearance — after criticism that he's reclusive

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Maryland Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett made a rare public appearance Friday, attending a small-business conference Friday in Frederick one day after a potential challenger for his seat blasted him as ineffective and reclusive within his own district.

Mr. Bartlett, a Republican, attended the SMART Proc procurement conference, according to a spokesperson. The 10-term representative touted the conference in a statement as an opportunity for small businesses to learn about federal contract opportunities.

Mr. Bartlett, 85, has kept an increasingly low profile in recent years, raising few campaign dollars and seldom speaking at events in his 6th District. He will likely have to make many more appearances over the next year, if he hopes to win re-election in November 2012.

Several Democrats are mulling challenges to Mr. Bartlett, and have been emboldened this week by the General Assembly’s passage of a new congressional map that could push the long-conservative district into their favor.

State Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola, a Montgomery Democrat and long-rumored challenger to Mr. Bartlett, told The Washington Times on Thursday that he has toured the district and heard from many residents who consider the congressman unresponsive to residents.

Other Democrats considering runs against Mr. Bartlett former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, former state Delegate Mark Shriver and former Montgomery Council Council member Duchy Trachtenberg, who announced her candidacy Thursday.

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