Continued from page 1

“It’s going to be hard for [national] Republicans to rationalize spending lots of money on D.C. television to save Bartlett,” he said.

Still, Washington Republicans threw their full support Thursday behind Mr. Bartlett.

“When it comes to lowering taxes and cutting spending, Roscoe Bartlett is exactly what voters want in Congress,” said Tory Mazzola, press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee. NRCC officials also emphasized the group’s unwavering support for incumbents.

State Sen. Christopher B. Shank, Washington Republican, said state party members will support Mr. Bartlett “with every fiber of their being,” but acknowledged Western Maryland GOP leaders are watching closely to see whether he stays in the race.

Mr. Shank said he has not ruled out running for Congress if Mr. Bartlett retires. He also said several other state legislators could also be up to the task, including Sen. David R. Brinkley of Frederick County, Delegate LeRoy E. Myers Jr. of Washington County and Frederick Board of County Commissioners President Blaine R. Young.

“It would take a year of tireless campaigning,” Mr. Shank said. “There is no doubt whatsoever that no matter who the Republican nominee is, we will contest this race with every fiber of our being and, hopefully, put up a strong candidate.”