The House GOP campaign arm has added Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (Md.) to their main incumbent protection program, a signal that the party believes the veteran Maryland lawmaker is among the most endangered Republicans in the country.
The National Republican Congressional Committee said Tuesday it was including Bartlett in the “Patriot Program,” giving him a series of organizational benchmarks to meet in exchange for help building up his campaign.
Bartlett has long coasted to victory in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, but the landscape there shifted after the state adopted a new map that added a slice of liberal-leaning Montgomery County to more conservative territory in western Maryland.
The change immediately put Bartlett near the top of national Democrats’ target lists, and it also put him in peril within his own party. Seven Republicans are challenging Bartlett in the April 3 primary, including state Sen. David Brinkley (Frederick) and Del. Kathy Afzali (Frederick).
The NRCC always protects incumbents, so it is officially backing Bartlett in his primary. But it’s not clear whether national or state Republicans privately believe Bartlett or one of his challengers is the best candidate to hold the seat in November.