Bartlett falls victim to aggressive Democratic gerrymander strategy

  • Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett gets his "Bartlett for Congress" sticker put on him by his chief of staff on Election Day outside of Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. Bartlett, who is in a tight race against Democrat John Delaney, is visiting every county in his district on Election Day. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett gets his "Bartlett for Congress" sticker put on him by his chief of staff on Election Day outside of Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. Bartlett, who is in a tight race against Democrat John Delaney, is visiting every county in his district on Election Day. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • Voters wait in line on Election Day at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Voters wait in line on Election Day at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • While one man waits for an election official to bring him to an available voting machine, other voters cast their ballots at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md. on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)While one man waits for an election official to bring him to an available voting machine, other voters cast their ballots at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md. on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • John Delaney, who is hoping to oust Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the state's sixth district, talks to a 7th-grade civics class about redistricting outside of Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. The school's civics teacher brought each of his classes over to the polling place to learn more about the electoral process. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)John Delaney, who is hoping to oust Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the state's sixth district, talks to a 7th-grade civics class about redistricting outside of Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. The school's civics teacher brought each of his classes over to the polling place to learn more about the electoral process. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • Garrett County residents vote at Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md., on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. The heavily Republican district has roughly 1,577 registered voters. They had about 100 by 8 a.m. and expected good turnout throughout the day. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Garrett County residents vote at Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md., on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. The heavily Republican district has roughly 1,577 registered voters. They had about 100 by 8 a.m. and expected good turnout throughout the day. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • A voter casts his ballot on Election Day at Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)A voter casts his ballot on Election Day at Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • John Delaney (center), who is hoping to oust Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in Maryland's sixth district, shakes hands with voters on Election Day at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)John Delaney (center), who is hoping to oust Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in Maryland's sixth district, shakes hands with voters on Election Day at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican who represents the state's sixth Congressional district, waves to voters with Debbie Burrell, his chief of staff, outside of Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md. on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. Bartlett, who is in a tight race against Democrat John Delaney, is visiting every county in his district on Election Day. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican who represents the state's sixth Congressional district, waves to voters with Debbie Burrell, his chief of staff, outside of Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md. on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. Bartlett, who is in a tight race against Democrat John Delaney, is visiting every county in his district on Election Day. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • Russell Broadwater (right) and other voters cast their ballots on Election Day at Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. The heavily Republican district has about 1,577 registered voters and had 100 people by 8 a.m. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Russell Broadwater (right) and other voters cast their ballots on Election Day at Grantsville Elementary School in Grantsville, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. The heavily Republican district has about 1,577 registered voters and had 100 people by 8 a.m. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican, shakes hands with Grantsville, Md., Mayor Paul Edwards outside of Grantsville Elementary School on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. Bartlett, who is in a tight race against Democrat John Delaney, is visiting every county in his district on Election Day. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican, shakes hands with Grantsville, Md., Mayor Paul Edwards outside of Grantsville Elementary School on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. Bartlett, who is in a tight race against Democrat John Delaney, is visiting every county in his district on Election Day. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • Jerry Garson (left) of the Ben Cardin campaign team, goes over data on Election Day with Maryland U.S. Congress hopeful John Delaney outside of Winston Churchill High School on Nov. 6, 2012. Delaney is hoping to oust Republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett in the sixth district. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Jerry Garson (left) of the Ben Cardin campaign team, goes over data on Election Day with Maryland U.S. Congress hopeful John Delaney outside of Winston Churchill High School on Nov. 6, 2012. Delaney is hoping to oust Republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett in the sixth district. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • Voters waiting to cast ballots on Election Day at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., are seen through a cafeteria door on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Voters waiting to cast ballots on Election Day at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., are seen through a cafeteria door on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
  • Elections operation judge Rosario Khan hands out "I voted" stickers on Election Day at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Elections operation judge Rosario Khan hands out "I voted" stickers on Election Day at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., on Nov. 6, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
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FREDERICK, Md. — Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett lost the battle for his political life Tuesday, failing in his bid to win an 11th term in a Maryland district that has long shared his values but has changed drastically as a result of gerrymandering.

The 86-year-old Republican’s 6th District was redrawn last year by Democrats in this deep-blue state’s legislature, which removed roughly half its residents and instituted a Democratic majority. The changes let Democrat John K. Delaney win the race and give his party a seventh of Maryland’s eight House seats.

State lawmakers in several other Democratic states took the same approach to this year’s elections, seeking to force out Republicans and close in on the GOP’s House majority. Republicans also did their share of gerrymandering but focused largely on fortifying incumbents’ districts to retain their majority.

House Democrats were expected to gain a handful of seats on Election Day but fell well short of erasing Republicans’ 50-seat advantage in the 435-member chamber.

Mr. Bartlett’s seat had been widely expected to go from red to blue, making him one of the nation’s most vulnerable incumbents.

“We had the most gerrymandered district in the country,” Mr. Bartlett said Tuesday night after the race was called. “A year ago, I had a decision to make. The easy thing would have been to just retire, but I was told that our chances of holding the seat were better if I ran for it.”

Maryland’s map has been criticized by political observers as one of the nation’s most blatantly partisan, joining a list that included Illinois’ new map which was drawn by the state’s Democratic governor and legislature.

The map appeared poised to force out GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, a freshman tea party member who was drawn out of his old district last year but ran for re-election anyway, as an underdog against Democrat Tammy Duckworth. With about half the vote counted Tuesday night, Ms. Duckworth led by 55 percent to 45 percent.

In an effort to cut down the GOP’s 11-8 advantage in seats, Illinois Democrats also made re-election much tougher for incumbent Republican Reps. Judy Biggert, Robert J. Dold and Robert T. Schilling, all of whom faced stiff challenges Tuesday though none of the races were decided early in the evening.

Redistricting in some Republican-led states also had a clear partisan effect on this year’s elections.

In Virginia, the majority-Republican General Assembly and Gov. Bob McDonnell drew a map designed to make virtually all 11 congressional districts less competitive, and apparently succeeded, as all eight of the party’s incumbents House members won.

The map fortified several Republican districts in part by stacking Democratic voters in the state’s few blue districts, such as Democratic Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott’s majority-black 3rd District.

Ohio and Pennsylvania Republicans also passed maps that were expected to protect their incumbents, including Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Lou Barletta, whose formerly Democratic-leaning district was redrawn to be solidly conservative.

One place where Republicans were more aggressive was in North Carolina, where the GOP seized control of both state legislative chambers for the first time in 140 years and responded by pushing through a map that altered the Democrats’ 7-6 House advantage to an 8-3 deficit with two races still undecided Tuesday night.

Republicans unseated Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell and were running strong for the two seats being vacated by retiring Reps. Brad Miller and Heath Shuler.

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