By Glynis Kazanjian
Maryland’s 6th District incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett continues to publicly insist he is running for reelection next year. But his chief of staff and campaign manager, Bud Otis, has been seeking support from Republicans for his own congressional run should Bartlett bow out.
The conservative blog Red Maryland reported on Otis’s outreach Nov. 23 without naming sources.
Yesterday Washington County Del. Neil Parrott said he is one of those lawmakers Otis sought out.
Parrott said Otis contacted him shortly after a meeting he had in Frederick two weeks ago with the congressman about redistricting. “Otis called me to follow up on something from the meeting,” Parrott said. “He said, should Congressman Bartlett decide not to seek reelection for this term, could he count on my support?”
Parrott said he wasn’t surprised by the question because he had heard rumors that Otis would run in the event Bartlett didn’t.
According to Frederick County Del. Michael Hough, Otis contacted the same political consulting firm used by Bartlett to inquire as a candidate. Hough said he has firsthand knowledge of the conversation.
Additionally, a Republican fundraiser, who would speak only on background, said Otis contacted him last week by phone. When a conservation about 6th District gerrymandering turned to Bartlett’s reelection plans, the source said Otis said he wasn’t sure if Bartlett was going to run again or not, and then asked the fundraiser if he would support Otis if he didn’t, because it’s something he’s been thinking about for awhile.
Bartlett insists he’s running
Bartlett Communications Director Lisa Wright provided the following statement when asked about the congressman’s reelections plans and Otis’s outreach for support on a potential run.
“Bud Otis is the Chief of Staff for Congressman Bartlett. Congressman Bartlett reiterated his status as a candidate for reelection to represent the residents of the Sixth District in addition to answering additional questions by Herald Mail reporter Andrew Schotz that were published over the Thanksgiving weekend on November 26th . . . The other information is conditional IF Congressman Bartlett’s status changes.”
Bartlett officially filed for reelection with the state Board of Elections June 30, but a Nov. 7 letter from the Federal Election Commission told Bartlett that he needed to refile his candidacy with the commission or stop raising money.
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call published a story yesterday warning readers to be skeptical about reelection promises during a redistricting cycle and specifically mentioned Bartlett. “Don’t believe it when House Members insist they’re seeking re-election this cycle — at least until the ink is dry on their new districts,” the article begins.
“The GOP would rather give up the seat than try to fight for Bartlett in a hopeless effort,” Roll Call said.
Several Republicans said they would throw their hat into the ring if Bartlett backed out of the race.
Brinkley, Mooney willing to run
“If he is tempted or he is going to pull out, I’m definitely interested in running,” said Sen. David Brinkley, a Republican representing Frederick and Carroll counties. “The district can still be won by the right Republican, and if the congressman decides to step aside, I am the right Republican.”
State GOP Chairman Alex Mooney said, “There have been many people questioning whether Roscoe is really going to run, based on his actions, such as his lack of fundraising for his campaign.”
“Now that Bud Otis is reportedly considering running, I think the congressman ought to make it clear of what his intentions are,” said Mooney, who lost his reelection to the state Senate last year. “I’ve expressed openly to many people, I would seriously consider it myself.”