Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.). (Melina Mara)

Bartlett, whose quirky, low-key style has served western Maryland for two decades, now finds himself in the middle of a tough fight with a political newcomer in the newly redrawn 6th congressional district.


Now he’s running in a district that was redesigned to put a Democrat in Bartlett’s seat. The new 6th added more Democrats from Montgomery County but also diluted minority voting power and created tensions within the party during the redistricting process last year.

On Wednesday, Delaney convened a group of African-American leaders at his campaign headquarters in Gaithersburg in a show of unity Among them was Rep. Donna Edwards, who had been one of the loudest critics of redistricting. But Edwards had also been one of Delaney’s earliest supporters, supporting him in his primary fight against Garagiola.

On Wednesday, Edwards gave a warm endorsement to Delaney, saying she believed that his upbringing in a union family, his business savvy, and his tenacity will carry him to victory.

“I’m excited about moving forward,” Edwards said. “A lot of times you can’t undo the past.”

The announcement that the 10-term congressman would appear in six debates came as both sides prepare for the first matchup later Thursday. The debate, sponsored by the Herald Mail newspaper in Hagerstown, is set to begin at 7 p.m. at the Kepler Theater on the campus of Hagerstown Community College.

The other debates are:

★ 7 p.m. Oct. 17: League of Women’s Voters, WHAG-TV and Hagerstown Community College, Kepler Theater, Hagerstown Community College.

★6:30 p.m. Oct. 21: Jewish Community Relations Council Debate, Temple Beth Ami, Rockville.

★ 4 p.m. Oct. 22: Allegany County Chamber of Commerce and WCBC Radio, Allegany College of Maryland, Continuing Education Building, Rooms 12, 13, 14, Cumberland.

★7 p.m. Oct. 22: Frederick News Post Debate, Frederick Community College, Jack B. Kussmaul Theater, Frederick.

★ 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 28: AARP Debate, Frederick Community College, Jack B. Kussmaul Theater, Frederick.