Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) is on the air with the first radio ad of his general election campaign, as he looks to appeal to the hundreds of thousands of voters who were newly added to his district.
Bartlett faces a tough fight for re-election against financier John Delaney (D), as Democratic leaders in Annapolis redrew Bartlett’s seat — which had been safely Republican — to include a significant slice of Democratic-leaning Montgomery County. Bartlett’s ad, which can be heard here, appears designed to appeal to Democrats and independents who may not know the 10-term incumbent.
“Washington has failed us,” the female narrator says. “Politicians from both parties have broken our trust. ... But Roscoe Bartlett is different. Roscoe isn’t your typical congressman. He’s always put what’s right for our country ahead of politics as usual. Roscoe Bartlett led the fight to end automatic pay raises for members of Congress, and donates a substantial portion of his salary to help underprivileged students pay for college.
“In addition to fighting for lower taxes, a balanced budget and more good-paying jobs for Maryland. Roscoe has never been afraid to buck his own party, earning a reputation as a staunch defender of our civil liberties, and the environment. Roscoe Bartlett – and independent voice for Maryland.”
Bartlett does have a history of differing with his party on civil liberties issues and on some environmental matters. He is a particularly strong advocate for finding alternative energy sources. But Bartlett has generally received low scores from environmental groups, and has voted with his fellow Republicans on the large majority of issues.
Bartlett’s campaign said the ad would air “throughout” the sprawling district, which also includes the more conservative Maryland panhandle. The campaign also sent out an e-mail to supporters Thursday asking them to make donations to help keep the ad on the air.
Delaney spokesman Justin Schall suggested Bartlett’s record showed he was anything but “independent.”
“The facts are pretty clear: Congressman Bartlett has voted 93.4 percent of the time with the leadership of the Republican Party during his 20 years in Congress and is a founding member of the [Congressional Tea Party Caucus],” Schall said, citing voting data compiled by Congressional Quarterly.
This story has been updated.