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Legislators back at work after 6th District losses

April 04, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — The three state legislators who lost in Tuesday’s 6th Congressional District primaries were back at work in Annapolis on Wednesday, as their parties tried to coalesce and focus on winning the Nov. 6 general election.

State Sen.Robert J. Garagiola, an early Democratic favorite, lost to John Delaney, 54 percent to 29 percent.

State Sen.David R. Brinkleyhad 20 percent in the Republican primary, losing to 10-term incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett, who had 43 percent.

Del. Kathryn L. Afzali, with 10 percent, was third in the GOP race.

Brinkley, R-Carroll/Frederick, was circumspect on Wednesday, shying away from saying too much.

“We have not done a postmortem at this point,” he said.

Brinkley said he congratulated Bartlett Tuesday night. Bartlett offered to meet and talk sometime, and Brinkley agreed.

In an email Wednesday afternoon, Afzali, R-Frederick, urged followers to back Bartlett in the general election.

Asked about the transition from criticizing Bartlett to recommending him, Afzali said, “I see what the alternative is,” referring to the Democratic nominee.

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She said she had no excuses for losing, but lamented that few people took an interest in the race, and candidate forums were sparsely attended.

“I couldn’t get the press to show any interest in the race,” she said. “The press wanted Bartlett to win. I was challenging him. It was just very hard to get traction. I sent out press releases every day practically. I could hardly get anybody to pay attention.”

Garagiola, D-Montgomery, had a one-word answer when asked about the difference in his race: “Money.”

“You know, I didn’t have 2 million (dollars) I could put in a race,” he said.

Garagiola said he ran a good campaign, but couldn’t match Delaney dollar for dollar on TV and radio ads, so he used his campaign money in other ways.

Delaney’s campaign manager, Justin Schall, disputed that money was the deciding factor.

“Resources matter, but I think the voters spoke, and they wanted someone with experience creating jobs and not a career politician,” Schall said.

Asked if he would support Delaney, Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, a Garagiola backer, said: “I haven’t even thought about it. I’ve never met the guy. I never talked to him.”

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who endorsed Garagiola, said Delaney and Garagiola waged a spirited campaign and were “very committed to serving the people of the 6th District.”

Brown said he offered Delaney his “full support” in the general election.

Gov. Martin O’Malley endorsed Garagiola, but also thinks well of Delaney, who helped his gubernatorial campaign, O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said. O’Malley and Delaney were both delegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Asked if Democrats would rally around Delaney, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., another Garagiola supporter, said: “Absolutely. I don’t know the gentleman, but if he contributed $800,000 for Hillary Clinton (in her presidential campaign), he’s all right with me.

“Although I would like to see him, now that the election’s over, show his income tax (returns) .... Rob Garagiola showed his. We knew what he was all about. He’s the ‘tool of the unsavory lobbyists.’ Let’s find out who this guy is hooked up with.”

Miller said Delaney, with so much campaign money, could define Garagiola in a negative way, but “nothing could be further from the truth.”

As a Brinkley supporter, Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, is among those now weighing a return to the Bartlett camp.

But, with so many people running against an incumbent, “it’s more on Congressman Bartlett’s people to reach out to individuals like myself who did support a challenger,” Myers said.

Myers said that months ago, Bartlett’s campaign team didn’t answer his questions about whether Bartlett truly was running.

In a lengthy emailed statement, Bartlett wrote: “I’ve always run as if I were 20 points behind. It would have been impossible for me to run hard without my opponents. They deserve the thanks of every Republican for having the courage to get into the political arena ....”

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