After years of representing a comfortably Republican swath of Maryland, U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett is trying to win an 11th term in a district that now leans Democrat.
Bartlett is facing Democrat John Delaney, a well-funded financier, and Libertarian Nickolaus Mueller, a research scientist.
One of the biggest factors in the race is the reversal in voter enrollment in the 6th District through redistricting, a process that was driven by Democrats in power in Annapolis.
Before the state’s congressional districts were redrawn last fall, 47 percent of the 6th District’s registered voters were Republicans and 36 percent were Democrats.
As of this month, the breakdown in the district was 44 percent Democrat and 33 percent Republican.
Previously, the 6th District had part or all of eight counties, including Washington County. Through redistricting, three counties were removed and much more of Montgomery County was added.
Bartlett, 86, of Buckeystown in Frederick County, has positioned himself as a conservative who favors limited government.
He has recommended having a flat tax on consumption and eliminating the income tax.
Some of his top issues over the years have been the need to find other energy sources because oil is a finite resource and the extreme danger of an electromagnetic pulse attack on the electric grid.
Delaney is running on his track record in the private sector — starting two lending businesses in Montgomery County that went public.
He founded Blueprint Maryland, a nonprofit organization that analyzed Maryland’s economic position and long-term outlook for jobs.
He has said he wants to lower the corporate tax to make the United States more competitive, cut deductions and raise the capital gains tax.
Mueller has said Republicans and Democrats are too similar in their reliance on government for solutions at the expense of personal freedom.
“Its legitimate role is to prevent individuals from initiating force on others,” Mueller wrote in an opening statement for a recent 6th District candidate debate, despite not being invited to speak. “Other than that, the government should simply leave individuals alone to pursue their own separate interests.”
Mueller favors a flat tax, with no deductions.
Delaney defeated four other Democrats in an April primary. One was state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola, who had the support of several of Maryland’s top Democrats, including Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Bartlett won a GOP primary over seven challengers, including two state legislators from Frederick County and a former state delegate from Montgomery County.
Bartlett is the only one of the three candidates who lives in the 6th District.
Constitutionally, representatives in Congress must live within the state they represent, but not the district.
Delaney, 49, of Potomac, Md., lives about a block outside the district.
Mueller, 27, lives in Baltimore.
The general election is Nov. 6.
Representatives in Congress are paid $174,000 per year. They serve two-year terms.