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October 15, 2011

Bartlett, redistricting target, raises little

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, the Western Maryland Republican who has become a target of the redistricting process in Annapolis, raised a mere $1,000 in third quarter of the year -- a number that is likely to fuel speculation about whether he will retire instead of fighting to retain his seat.

A Federal Election Commission report released Saturday showed Bartlett received only one contribution over the past three months. The donation, made Sept. 20, came from the Republican Main Street PAC, a Washington group that works to re-elect incumbents.

The congressman is a member of the group.

Bartlett has raised $73,725 since the 2010 election and has $260,727 in the bank.

The low number comes as Democrats in Annapolis are gearing up for a special session to redraw the state’s eight congressional districts. As part of that process, Democrats are drawing Bartlett’s district deep into Democrat-heavy Montgomery County, a move that will make his seat far more competitive.

The non-partisan Cook Political Report already considers the seat a “toss-up” and lists the 10-term incumbent as a “possible” retirement. A number of potential candidates have expressed an interest in the seat – particularly Democratic state Sen. Rob Garagiola.

Bartlett, 85, met with Gov. Martin O’Malley earlier this month to discuss the proposed new map and has described the changes to his seat as among the most significant in the country.

Bud Otis, Bartlett’s longtime top campaign aide, said fundraising has been slow largely because of the uncertainty surrounding the new districts and he warned against reading anything into the campaign finance report. He pointed out that Bartlett is one of the only incumbents who has officially filed to put his name on the 2012 ballot.

“Things have been in state of flux for a lot of people in the state,” he said.

Otis also said the campaign is confident Bartlett can win the new district.

“The Montgomery County area has been a strong supporter of ours already,” he said. “We gave the governor a very reasonable proposal. It’s all on the governor now. We’ll see how fair he wants to be.”

Posted by John Fritze at 5:45 PM | | Comments (0)
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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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