Bartlett needs to win more voters in Montgomery Co.

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Maryland’s 6th District has long been a friendly home field for Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, but he might have to win on the road if he wants to hold on to his seat this fall.

The 10-term Republican incumbent hopes to win re-election against Democratic upstart John K. Delaney, but he will have to campaign in a district that was redrawn by state Democrats last fall to add much of western Montgomery County.

Mr. Bartlett, 85, cruised to victory in the April 4 GOP primary, but he struggled in Montgomery County, which is largely Democratic and has a Republican population relatively unfamiliar with the congressman.

Montgomery is also home to Mr. Delaney, a wealthy businessman who will look to lock down support in the county — now home to about 50 percent of 6th District residents after accounting for just 3 percent of its residents 10 years ago.

Democrats now hold a voter registration edge in the long-conservative district. Political analysts and even Mr. Bartlett say he must make inroads in Montgomery if he expects to win one of the nation’s most anticipated House races.

“I’m told it’s going to be one of the 10 top races in the country,” Mr. Bartlett said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge of getting acquainted with the new voters in Montgomery County. We’ll be working very hard, and we’ll do everything we can.”

The campaign has shaped up much differently than many observers predicted last fall, when Mr. Bartlett was dogged by retirement rumors and fundraising concerns and the likely Democratic nominee was state Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola — the candidate whom state Democratic leaders had in mind when they redrew the district map to help Democrats win a seventh of the state’s eight House seats.

Since then, Mr. Bartlett has upped his fundraising and received support from national Republicans, while Mr. Delaney has sunk more than $1 million of his own money into a decisive win over Mr. Garagiola.

While Mr. Bartlett seeks to run on his experience and knowledge of the district, Mr. Delaney — who has never run for political office — hopes to paint him as an out-of-touch Capitol Hill insider.

The Delaney campaign released a poll last week showing him with a 9-percentage-point lead over Mr. Bartlett.

Although the poll was internal, it was conducted by the respected Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, which almost perfectly predicted Mr. Delaney’s 25-point primary win a week before the election.

“People want jobs and to have someone who is more independent-minded and an outsider,” Mr. Delaney said recently. “We’ve had the same message from the beginning, and I think so far our feedback from voters is proving that.”

The race could be a virtual tossup come November. The Cook Political Report says the district has a slight Democratic lean with Montgomery voters likely to tip the balance.

Mr. Bartlett will look to improve on his primary performance, when he netted just 34.5 percent of votes from Montgomery Republicans — nine points less than his smallest share elsewhere and nine points less than the 43.6 percent he earned throughout the district.

Meanwhile, Mr. Delaney polled at 52.9 percent in Montgomery and 54.2 percent throughout the district in a less crowded Democratic race.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • The District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    D.C. police quietly prepping for change in law on marijuana

  • D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate David Catania, at large independent, said that although he had some concerns with the city's fiscal 2015 budget, namely the 'yoga tax,' he said issues could be addressed in next year's budget discussions. (Associated Press)

    Council overrides mayor’s veto of fiscal 2015 budget

  • 3 killed, 4 wounded Sunday in three D.C. shootings

  • D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, one of seven Democrats trying to unseat the incumbent District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in next week's primary, campaigns on Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014. Loyalists are rallying around the mayor, and few are writing him off. But his troubles have provided an opening for one of his challengers, and D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser appears to be taking advantage. Two polls released a week before the primary showed Bowser in a statistical tie with Gray.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Crime hits close to home for D.C. mayoral candidate

  • Gray

    D.C. Council to vote on Gray’s budget veto