FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney says he will not run for Congress in the state’s 6th District and has endorsed incumbent Roscoe Bartlett.

Mooney made his announcement at a news conference in Frederick on Tuesday morning.

Mooney, a former state senator, formed an exploratory committee to consider running for the seat amid speculation that Bartlett might retire. But Bartlett, 85, is running for an 11th term and has stepped up his fundraising.

Republicans face a tougher fight to retain the seat than in years past, because the redrawn 6th District now includes more of Democrat-heavy Montgomery County. State Sen. Rob Garagiola is the perceived front-runner among the Democratic candidates.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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