State GOP Chair Alex Mooney won’t challenge Bartlett in primary

January 10, 2012

Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex X. Mooney said Tuesday that he had decided against running for the redrawn 6th Congressional District seat, choosing instead to throw his support behind Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s (R) reelection bid.

The 6th is now considered battleground territory, since the state’s new redistricting map added a slice of liberal-leaning Montgomery County to the more conservative territory of western Maryland. Bartlett is running for an 11th term despite pressure to retire from some quarters of his party.

State Sen. David Brinkley (Frederick) has already jumped into the Republican primary and attracted some support from local officials. Until Tuesday morning Mooney appeared poised to do the same, announcing in recent days that he had named campaign coordinators in several counties and raised more than $100,000 for his bid.

But Mooney, a former Bartlett aide, said at a Frederick news conference that he wouldn’t go through with a bid and would endorse the incumbent instead. That move should put to rest any lingering speculation that Bartlett might back out of the contest at the last minute.

The filing deadline to enter the contest is Wednesday. Other than Brinkley and Bartlett, five Republicans have filed to run, including new entrant Del. Kathy Afzali (Frederick). Three Democrats are in the race: State Sen. Rob Garagiola (Montgomery), financier John Delaney and attorney Charles Bailey.

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