Maryland’s senior Republican lawmaker on Monday said he believes he is the only GOP candidate who can win in the state’s reconfigured 6th Congressional District, so he will run for an 11th term because it is “the right thing to do.”
In an interview Monday on News Channel 8, Bartlett sought to shrug off any doubts that he was running, saying that even though he thinks he has “earned retirement,” he will run again for the sake of the party and to take care of some unfinished business in Congress.
Democrats used the once-a-decade redistricting process to draw into Bartlett’s district hundreds of thousands of mostly Democratic voters in Montgomery County in hopes the seat would flip to Democratic control and help the party regain control of the House of Representatives.
Bartlett, who reported raising almost no campaign money last quarter, acknowledged some initial “uncertainty” about whether he would seek re-election in the new district. He said that led Otis, as well as Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney and state Sen. David R. Brinkley (Frederick) to begin exploring bids to replace him.
Bartlett said he harbored no ill feelings, however, adding that someday he would retire and it would be right for other Republicans to have begun building a “nest egg” to seek to succeed him.
But Bartlett said that time will not be in 2012, and he sought to make the case that he should still be the candidate -- not only for Republicans, but also for conservative Democrats.
Bartlett said Democrats should side with him because he is “far and away, the greenest Republican on Capitol Hill,” is pro-life, anti-death penalty and in a position to wield power in Congress for the betterment of the state.
Bartlett also singled out some rather obscure interests that he said he wants to “see through” before he retires, such as hardening the state’s electrical grid from potential catastrophic damage from an electromagnetic pulse.
A destructive solar flare is a question of “when, not if,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett also said he was still hopeful that a court challenge to Maryland’s new congressional map might be successful so he wouldn’t have to run in a majority Democratic district.
A three-judge panel is scheduled to hear arguments next week in a lawsuit that contends the map dilutes the voting power of Maryland minorities. The state’s Republican party has backed the lawsuit.