David Brinkley

David Brinkley (The Sun)

State Sen. David R. Brinkley on Wednesday became the latest candidate to formally enter the race for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, arguing in a speech in Frederick that it is time for incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett – a fellow Republican – to “pass the congressional baton.”

Brinkley, a 52-year-old financial planner, made his announcement in front of Frederick’s City Hall, flanked by several state and local elected officials. He said Congress needs to get the nation’s fiscal house in order and argued that he is the best candidate to ensure that the 6th District stays in GOP control.

“It’s time to stop passing the buck and the bill to future generations. It’s also time to pass the baton,” he said, without mentioning Bartlett by name. “We’re on the same team. But the baton has to be passed before we’re overtaken and a conservative voice for Maryland is lost.”

Brinkley joins a crowded field of candidates from both parties, including Bartlett and, possibly, the state’s GOP chairman, Alex Mooney. Asked why it is time for Bartlett to give up the seat he has held for 10 terms, Brinkley noted that last year’s redistricting process left the district far more competitive than it has been in the past.

He also noted the recent departure of Bartlett’s chief of staff, who was considering a run himself.  “There was an indication that he might not run,” Brinkley said of Bartlett. “I have no idea what his final plans are going to be.”

Bartlett has adamantly denied rumors that he will step out of the race. He has filed with the State Board of Elections to put his name on the ballot and his campaign recently released an internal poll that showed him beating the presumed Democratic frontrunner, state Sen. Rob Garagiola, 43 percent to 36 percent. About 22 percent of voters in that poll were undecided.

“I fully intend to take my message of restoring America’s strength, both here at home and abroad, directly to the people of the 6th District,” Bartlett said in a statement Wednesday. “We will run a vigorous, well-funded and positive re-election campaign.”

Brinkley is likely to face scrutiny for not living in the district; under the new map, he resides in the 8th District. “They deliberately designed this to keep me out of it,” Brinkley said, referring to the Democrats who controlled redistricting in Annapolis. “The voters are also cognizant that this thing was gerrymandered in such an obscene fashion that their No. 1 concern is to have the best candidate represent them.”

Other Republicans who have filed to be on the ballot include Brandon Rippeon, Robert Coblentz, Robin Ficker and Joseph Krysztoforski.