FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA) -- Roscoe Barlett is among the most endangered Republican congressmen in the country.
Democrats in Annapolis redrew his Western Maryland district, adding a whole lot of Democrats from Gaithersburg and Potomac. And the 86-year-old Republican is now facing a well-funded opponent named John Delaney.
Roscoe Bartlett may be the only Member of Congress with a survival cabin in the West Virginia woods -- just in case civilization implodes. In a film on YouTube called "The End of America -- Ready Or Not," Bartlett extols the virtues of his root cellar. "You're planning," he says of putting in a stock of food, "because the supermarket may not always be there."
The ten-term congressman from Frederick now finds his political future threatened. Delaney, a wealthy entrepreneur -- a Democrat -- with a big house just outside the district in Potomac -- is running big money, well-staffed campaign to unseat Bartlett.
"One of the problems with our political system these days," says Delaney, "is that people can make things up, with no bearing on the truth, completely false things, like Roscoe Bartlett says about me."
Bartlett's been running a tv commercial that starts, "What kind of congressman would John Delaney be? Delaney owned nursing homes where Medicare inspectors found mistreatment of seniors. "
Bartlett, the Republican, has tried to turn Delaney's business background against him. "These are not my words," he says. "What we are simply doing is what others have said."
"I'm actually very proud of what my companies have done," responds Delaney. "All the jobs we've created."
Bartlett's struggled with gaffes. He said federal student loans violate the Constitution, and suggested that's the kind of thing that lead to the Holocaust.
"The Holocaust was a little strong," Bartlett says now. He's apologized to anyone who was offended. "The only point I was making was, if you ignore the Constitution to do something good, tomorrow you may be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad."
Democrats have tried to tie Bartlett to Missouri Senate candidate Todd Aiken on the issue of abortions in rape cases. "All I said was rapes were a relatively small percentage of pregnancies and therefore abortions," says Bartlett. "And that's exactly true."
Bartlett says he's always supported an exemption in any abortion legislation for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.
Which he says now," says Delaney. "But he's voted historically that that exemption does not exist."
Bartlett's campaign has blasted Delaney for failing to vote in a couple of recent elections. The Bartlett campaign called voting "a basic civic duty."
It's probably Bartlett's toughest race ever, but he says he's confident he'll survive.
Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
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