Shank, Myers show interest in 6th Congressional District race
Both Republican lawmakers consider run if 10-term GOP incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett retires
State Sen. Christopher B. Shank and Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr.
Even though Bartlett, 85, has said he's running for an 11th term next year, speculation is widespread in political circles that he will retire, particularly now that his recarved Western Maryland district has a larger chunk of Democrat-rich Montgomery County.
Some Republicans have wondered if Bartlett's tepid recent fundraising — $1,000 from July 1 through Sept. 30 — more clearly indicates his intentions than what he has said publicly.
Four Republicans have filed to run against Bartlett in 2012, while other established candidates are waiting to see if he's truly committed to seeking another term.
Myers, in his third term as a delegate, said he wouldn't challenge Bartlett. But, if Bartlett doesn't run again, Myers said he believes he would have the money, qualifications and support for a viable campaign.
At that point, a key question would be which other qualified candidates would emerge, he said. Some prospective candidates wouldn't want to face each other and might confer in advance on which of them should run.
Myers said he will make his mind up by Nov. 15, noting that there's not much time left for prospective candidates since the filing deadline is Jan. 11.
"I have not definitively ruled it out," Shank said Friday about a possible run for Congress. But, as with Myers, that would happen only if Bartlett isn't in the race.
Shank, 39, a first-term state senator after three terms as delegate, said a major question for him would be: "Is this something that's right for my family?"
Shank and Myers said the speculation in Annapolis — fueled by Bartlett's nearly inactive fundraising — has been that Bartlett eventually will decide not to run again.
In a statement his office released Wednesday, after the state legislature approved new Democrat-friendly boundaries for his district, Bartlett said: "I filed for re-election in June and approval of this map hasn't changed my plans to seek re-election to represent the residents of Maryland's Sixth District in the U.S. House of Representatives."
Asked Friday about the speculation about Bartlett's true intentions for 2012, spokeswoman Lisa Wright reiterated Bartlett's commitment to run again.
Although fundraising is "a dominant metric" for congressional watchers, it doesn't measure Bartlett's political course, Wright said.
"That is a conventional interpretation, and conventional interpretations do not apply for Congressman Bartlett," she said.
Although Bartlett raised only $1,000 in the last filing period, his campaign account had nearly $261,000 cash and no debts.
Shank said Bartlett must be much more active if he runs again because Democrats in the newly formed district will pour money, possibly millions, into the race.
Shank said he was disappointed Bartlett didn't spend time in Annapolis during last week's legislative special session pushing for fair 6th District boundaries — unlike Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards, who was vocal with her criticism of the new congressional lines.
Referring to a meeting Bartlett had with Gov. Martin O'Malley before the special session, Wright said: "The congressman understood precisely who the decision makers were, and he met with the decision makers."
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