The official policy of congressional Republicans is to back their incumbent members in tough primaries. In the case of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), the party put some real cash behind that promise.
Bartlett survived a crowded Republican primary Tuesday in his redrawn district, winning with 44 percent of the vote against seven challengers. Bartlett was helped by the fact that, while he is not a prolific fundraiser compared to most incumbent House members, he did take in a lo
t more cash than any of his primary opponents. And he had some help.
In total, Bartlett received $63,000 in contributions from the campaign accounts or political action committees of 28 different House Republican colleagues since Jan. 1, according to Federal Election Commission records. That represents roughly a quarter of the total amount Bartlett raised over the period.
Members of the party leadership were particularly generous. House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) gave Bartlett $14,000 from two different accounts, while House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (Ill.) kicked in $5,000 apiece. Bartlett also got donations from the chairmen of the House Appropriations, Budget and Armed Services committees. And fellow Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris gave Bartlett $4,000.
Beyond the cash from individual lawmakers, Bartlett also got $5,000 from the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party’s official campaign arm, as well as donations from two different groups devoted to electing moderate Republicans — the Tuesday Group and Republican Main Street Partnership PACs.
Bartlett may need a lot more financial help from his friends going forward, as he will face wealthy financier John Delaney on November’s ballot. Delaney secured the Democratic nod in part because he was able to outspend and outraise state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (Montgomery) by a wide margin.
Since Jan. 1 Delaney has raised more than $800,000 from outside donors, roughly three times Bartlett’s total, while also kicking in roughly $1.7 million from his own ample bank account.
It’s unclear how far the NRCC and Republican leaders will go in helping Bartlett financially in the general election, given all the other places around the country they could choose to spend their money to protect incumbents. The district is now drawn to favor Democrats, and the Washington media market is expensive