Bartlett says he is running for 11th term
Representative Roscoe Bartlett receives a Proclamation to be the new lifetime honorary Chairman of the Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination. (By Yvette May/Staff Photographer)
"The job is not done," Bartlett, R-Md., said Tuesday. "We still have too much government. It still taxes too much. It still spends too much. I've been a part of trying to make a difference down there for a while now.
"I'm really honored today to represent the constituents of the 6th District for — this'll be 20 years at the end of this term. I hope that that service has justified another two years."
Bartlett, 85, filed at the end of June to run again in 2012. Yet there has been talk among some observers, including Republicans, that he won't follow through and is ready to retire.
Skeptics have pointed to Bartlett's tepid fundraising in the third quarter of this year — $1,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30 — as a sign of his intentions.
Some Republicans, including state Sen. Christopher B. Shank and Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., said they would consider running for the seat if Bartlett didn't.
Bartlett, whose campaign account had nearly $261,000 in cash and no debts in the last filing period, said the recent fundraising total means little.
"We've always had enough money to win, and this time we'll have enough money to win," he said.
Asked why he hasn't been fundraising lately, Bartlett said, "Primaries have not been really tough battles. The election is a long way off. It's nearly a year off. In politics, that's near an eternity, that far off. There's plenty of time."
This year, state lawmakers crafted new boundaries for the state's congressional districts, a mandatory process after each decennial U.S. Census is done.
A swath of Democrat-heavy Montgomery County was moved into the 6th District, giving Bartlett, or any Republican, a tougher challenge for the seat.
The friendlier boundaries have led some Montgomery County Democrats, including state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola, to pursue the seat.
Bartlett said he welcomes a chance to debate Garagiola.
"He says that his agenda is more jobs and a better economy, and I want to ask him when he cast the last vote that would have done that. Because when I look at his votes, all of those votes were for bigger government and more taxes and more regulations, and this is not going to produce more jobs," Bartlett said.
The Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee has challenged the new boundaries on the grounds that it doesn't provide the proper degree of minority representation.
Smithsburg resident Howard L. Gorrell also has filed a lawsuit over the new districts.
Bartlett said Democrats haven't tried to hide their clear effort to unseat him.
"John Paul Stevens, the retired (U.S.) Supreme Court justice, said that what they have done is outrageously unconstitutional," Bartlett said. "I hope that that's in the minds of the three judges that are going to make a decision on the lawsuit filed by the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee."
Even if a court doesn't overrule the new boundaries, Bartlett said he still has a strong chance in 2012. He said his earliest victories in the 6th District came when it was Democratic.