- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Maryland state Sen. David R. Brinkley threw down the gauntlet Wednesday, announcing his campaign for Congress and calling on expected Republican primary opponent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett to “pass the baton.”

Mr. Brinkley, Frederick Republican, formally announced he will seek the GOP nomination in Mr. Bartlett’s long-conservative Western Maryland district, which state Democratic leaders redrew last year to help Democrats topple the 85-year-old incumbent.

“I am the Republican candidate that can keep this district a Republican district,” Mr. Brinkley said. “We’re on the same team, but the baton has to be passed before we’re overtaken and a conservative voice for Maryland is lost.”

While six Republicans are filed to challenge Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Brinkley is the first high-profile GOP candidate to say definitively that he will run regardless of whether the 10-term incumbent chooses to seek another term.

Mr. Bartlett has been dogged by rumors that he will retire, but has insisted he will seek re-election.

Many Republicans have deferred to Mr. Bartlett, including GOP Chairman Alex X. Mooney — a former state senator who is exploring a run but has said he is unsure whether he will try to unseat the congressman.

Democrats have no such conflict of interest, and state Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola is their decided front-runner.

The Montgomery Democrat became an even heavier favorite Wednesday, when former Montgomery County Council member Duchy Trachtenberg — one of four Democrats in the 11-candidate field — announced she is dropping out because of a recurrence of breast cancer.

Another of the four, entrepreneur John Delaney, officially filed Wednesday.

Mr. Delaney, 48, is a Potomac resident and co-founder and chairman of CapitalSource Inc., a commercial lender. He also started HealthCare Financial Partners Inc., which provides financing to health care service companies. HealthCare Financial was founded in 1993 and sold to Heller Financial in 1999, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Delaney and the other remaining candidates are part of a scramble to represent a largely redrawn district in which even the most-well-known candidates will have to campaign in unfamiliar territory, whether its rural Western Maryland or in suburban Montgomery County.

“The district is 50 percent new,” said Republican candidate and attorney Robin Ficker. “I filed as soon as I saw where the district lines were drawn.”

Mr. Brinkley and Mr. Garagiola are two of as many as five state lawmakers who are expected to run for federal office this year.

Sen. Nancy Jacobs, Calvert Republican, is expected to formally announce Thursday that she will challenge Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger in the 2nd District.

Sen. C. Anthony Muse, Prince George’s Democrat, will also likely announce Thursday that he will try to unseat Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in the state’s April 3 primary.

House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell, Calvert Republican, said last month he will run for Congress against Democratic House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer.

Candidates have until Wednesday to file with the Federal Election Commission.

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