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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All Quiet in the MD 6th District

With only nine weeks to go before the Maryland Primary on February 12, 2008 it is eerily quiet in regard to the sixth District congressional race.

After eight consecutive victories at the Ballot Box, incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett is the odds on favorite to win again in 2008. Although he is facing a handful of challengers within his Party in the primary, none are considered a serious threat.

The redistricting that occurred in 2002 did not help Democrats as the sixth District became even more overwhelmingly registered Republican voters.

Outside of the 1996 race when Democrat Stephen Crawford raised approximately $400,000 and received 43% of the vote, no Democratic candidate has been able to do better since Bartlett's 1992 election in what is the largest geographically sized District in the state of Maryland.

Democrat Don DeArmon who is very knowledgeable on the issues, also did well in 2000. Although he tailed off somewhat when he was the Democratic nominee again in 2002. His campaign raised more money in 2000 than in 2002 and spent it very wisely, relying a lot on direct mail close to the date of the primary and general election.

An earmark of sorts for political junkies was the year Democratic candidate Timothy McCown received 38% of the vote in 1998. His campaign raised less than $10,000 so the political pundits realized the solid baseline vote for Democratic candidates in the sixth district was 38%. The key now to winning the district was figuring out how to win the other 13% of the vote.

In 2004 a slew of Democrats entered the Primary. All relatively new to politics, they split the vote across the district with Kenneth Bosley winning the primary with less than 30% of the vote.

For a Democrat to win the sixth district there must be appeal to Independents and moderate Republicans.

Meanwhile Congressman Bartlett has been ineffective for the voters in the sixth District now for sixteen years. He has been unable to successfully address basic transportation, housing and employment needs of the sixth district for all these years. His blind support of the Bush administration, including the President's veto of (S-CHIP), the State Children's Health Insurance Program, clearly indicates it is definitely time for a change in the sixth district.

This election cycle has five Democrats vying for the Party's nomination on February 12, 2008. They are Andrew Duck of Woodsboro who was the nominee in 2006 and received 41% of the vote, Jennifer Dougherty of Frederick, a former one-term Mayor of the City of Frederick. Robin Diebert of Fairplay, Rick Lank of Middletown, and Larry Smith of Cumberland.

Let's hope over the next nine weeks, a Democrat nominee emerges with the ability to unite Democrats along with Independent and Republican voters.

Sixteen years of ineffective sixth district representation in Washington is too long.

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