Last one to file is a rotten egg!

December 05, 2011|By TIM ROWLAND

Whew, what a week. First, my Frosty the Snowman costume gets trashed, then the 6th District congressional race gets even more trashed before it even starts.

Really, what was that? I know there'd been what the weather forecasters call an "upper atmosphere disturbance" on the Republican side as they sorted out the newly redrawn district, but how did that break out into a Category IV hurricane in a day? I haven't seen anything blow up that fast since Anthony Weiner's Twitter account.

It all started when state Democrats tried to sneak away with the district in the middle of the night like it was the Baltimore Colts or something. Establishment Republicans responded angrily, as you assume they would, except that their anger was somewhat muted by the fact that they were pretty tired of incumbent Roscoe Bartlett, as well, and started positioning themselves as his replacement.

This kind of thing used to happen in Rome all the time. Only difference was that Bartlett failed to stick to the script by eating the poisoned fig.

Bartlett's assistant, Bud Otis, announced that he was a candidate for the nomination, but only if Bartlett, 85, decided not to run for re-election — which was pretty weird, since R.B. had just announced that he would seek re-election two days prior. But before you can say "my fellow Americans," Otis had resigned from Bartlett's staff in haste. Those who are close to the situation suggest that the last thing Bud saw as he grabbed a sheaf of loose papers and jumped out his office window was Mrs. Bartlett coming at him with a rolling pin.

But never mind, because the trickle in the dam became a gusher.

Western Maryland Republicans who had been aching at a chance at Congress for any part of the last 20 years at first announced their steadfast dedication to Roscoe Bartlett and promised that as long as was in office and wanted the seat they would never ever think of ... of ...


Former senator and current GOP party chairman Alex X. Mooney announced that he was prepared to bravely abandon his dead-broke organization and bring his brilliant leadership skills to the people of Western Maryland. And joining him in the "exploratory committee" phase was state Sen. David R. Brinkley, exploratory being code for "print up the bumper stickers."

Left standing when the music stopped, apparently, was our own Sen. Christopher B. Shank, who got a little ahead of himself by blanketing the region with letters to the editor attacking state Sen. (and potential 6th District Democratic nominee) Robert J. Garagiola at a time when most people in Western Maryland don't know Rob Garagiola from Joe Garagiola.

Or, Shank might have simply concluded that the district is unwinnable for a far-right candidate, given that it now includes a big slab of immigrant-loving, gun-hating, never-been-evicted-and-had-your-stuff-heaped-on-the-street Montgomery County.

But all is not lost. Bartlett is promising that he will not drop out of the race, and will defend his seat "with some vigor."

Of course, when you're 85, it takes vigor just to put on your socks.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or by email at Tune in to the Rowland Rant on, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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