Skip to comments.Gilchrest votes make him a target
Posted on 05/23/2007 7:15:43 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued
House Republican Wayne T. Gilchrest's votes to stop funding the war in Iraq has challengers saying the long-term congressman may have run his course.
Two Democrats -- Eastern Shore lawyers Frank M. Kratovil Jr. and Christopher R. Robinson -- announced they will run for Mr. Gilchrest's seat, and state Sen. Andrew P. Harris, a Baltimore County Republican, is expected to announce that he is running.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
I am embarrassed to say that this RINO is my representative.
I wish Senator Harris well. Supporting the troops is paramount.
I would appreciate it if you would keep FR up on this race when you can.
Baltimore County ? But that's not even in the 1st, that's the Ruppersburger & Sarbanes, Jr's seats. How would he be able to make the case to dump Gilchrest not being from the Eastern Shore ?
I think he’s from the eastern fringe of Baltimore County. It’s a disadvantage, but not necessarily a fatal one.
From the looks of it, most of Harris’ 7th District Senate seat is in the 1st Congressional District. That at least is good news for him. It should be noted that should Harris get through to the General Election, by nailing down the more liberal Baltimore suburbs he puts himself in good shape to hold the district from a RAT interception. I dont see the Eastern Shore voting Democrat anytime soon.
You give me the opportunity to remember an awful event that happened in MD 34 years ago today (May 24, 1973), which I’ll mention in a bit...
The 1st will vote rodent under unusual circumstances. It was supposed to be a fairly solid GOP seat going back many decades. From ‘63 until ‘71 it sent Rogers Morton, whose brother, Thruston, was serving as the Senator from Kentucky at the time (Morton was then tapped by Nixon to become Interior Secretary).
In the special election in ‘71, it sent a Republican named Bill Mills. The story regarding Mills was a very sad one. A thoughtful, friendly, and sensitive man, he couldn’t have picked a worse time to serve in Congress. In the hyperpartisan atmosphere during the Watergate affair, it came out that Mills’ campaign had forgotten to report a loan made on behalf of Nixon’s CREEP fund via Morton, at worst, it was nothing more than an accidental oversight, and not a deliberate error.
However, to Mills, he considered his character and reputation to be the most important things he ever had, and even the slightest hint of impropriety, accidental or no, was an utterly unforgiveable sin. 34 years ago today, which was also a Thursday, Mills returned to his Eastern Shore home where he committed suicide.
An almost completely forgotten event now, it totally shocked Congress, most of whom couldn’t believe any member would kill themself over a minor matter. Mills, at only 48, would’ve likely settled in to a long career representing the Eastern Shore (probably would’ve remained until the ‘90s), but was not to be.
In the special election to succeed Mills that August, a young State Senator named Bob Bauman won by only a 51-49% margin over his Dem opponent, and was considered a victory by the administration. Bauman looked to be a real star, an outspoken Conservative who enjoyed being a gigantic pain in the ass to the Democrat leadership, but harbored a deep, dark secret. Eventually, just weeks before the 1980 elections, he was arrested for soliciting a 16-year old boy. He claimed he was an alcoholic, which had driven him to do that, but it turned out, at worst, he was only a moderate drinker (and most certainly not an alkie). What should’ve been a landslide victory for him turned into a narrow 52-48% loss, and the surprise winner was Roy Dyson, the first Dem elected to the seat since 1960.
Dyson should’ve been a one-term wonder, but when Bauman tried to seek a rematch in ‘82, things got so ugly on the GOP side that the eventual nominee was unable to make any headway. Dyson faced another lackluster opponent in ‘84 and ‘86, but only kept getting higher and higher percentages of the vote...
Now, then how did Gilchrest manage to knock off the popular Dyson ? Scandal again. Gilchrest was the nominee in 1988, and was considered to be a 3rd tier candidate sacrificial lamb, described as a “guidance counselor and summer-season house painter.” While the problem wasn’t with Dyson himself, the scandal that erupted centered on his top aide, a man with similar appetites and proclivities as ex-Congressman Bauman. The aide would insist on hiring young, naive men from small-town America, where they would, upon gaining employment, be forbidden from dating, allowed only to socialize with him, and at a special retreat, had one of the men do a strip-tease. Lurid and creepy stuff.
In any event, Dyson’s aide committed suicide himself as soon as the allegations came to light, and because Dyson had claimed he didn’t know what was going on (and a side-scandal, also linked to the same aide, had to do with paychecks going to his private company). The GOP badly wanted Gilchrest to stand aside for a name candidate, because Dyson should’ve been toast. Despite being outspent 6-to-1, Gilchrest held Dyson to a 50-50% victory (by only 1,540 votes).
When the next election came up in ‘90, Gilchrest was running again (but was described by Barone and local Republicans as a poor and “desultory” campaigner, and he scarcely raised enough $$ to be competitive). Dyson himself was almost defeated in the Dem primary that year. As if Dyson hadn’t enough problems stemming from his dead aide, it came out during the campaign that year that he had been a conscientious objector during Vietnam (and Dyson had always considered himself a pro-defense hawk). The fact that Gilchrest received a Purple Heart while serving in the Marines in Vietnam only helped enhance his image. Despite, again, being outspent (3-to-1, this time), Gilchrest won in a landslide of 57-43%.
Ironically, Dyson’s setback didn’t keep him out of politics permanently, as he went on to win a State Senate seat at the next legislative elections in 1994, and remains there today.
Gilchrest himself has only had one close call since his initial election, and that was in ‘92, when redistricting threw him in with ‘Rat Congressman Tom McMillen. McMillen massively outspent the always low-spending Gilchrest (by $1.6 million to $400k, 4 to 1), but because Gilchrest represented the bulk of the district and some nasty remarks by then-Gov. Bill Schaefer calling the E.S. a “$hithouse”, and Gilchrest prevailed by a narrow 52-48% margin.
Well, there’s the summation of the district to date. Hope I didn’t bore you guys to death. ;-)
That was an interesting walk down District One.
Sorry to hear about Mr. Mills. I take it that you may have known him?
I moved from NJ to Severna Park in 1988 - to be near my soon to be wife - I remember the campaign between McMillen and Gilchrest, specifically because I recalled McMillen was a basketball player I think he also served Jimmy Carter’s campaign (Physical Fitness). I was not politically in those days. I was all over the political map in terms of my ideas.
At the time, I worked as a junior graphic designer and photographer for a women’s retail called Annapolis Clothing Co. You’ll remnember the recession dragging businesses down and eventually closing many in AA county during 1990? I worked in Parole Plaza and watched as the stores closed up one by one. That company closed up shop and I had to get a handful of very humbling jobs including that of an all-around gopher at Sir Speedy Printers in Annapolis.
Gilchrest ran a bunch of his campaign material through that shop (the local Perot campaign did, too. One of my illustrious jobs was to hand photocopy every draft Perot list before anyone knew who the guy was. What a task!)
Anyway, getting back to Gilchrest, it seemed to me that he had a very common touch, and I mean this in a good way. He listened to constituents and he massaged their concerns, although “massage” may not be the right term, unlike many pols people came away with the feeling that he genuinely cared. The fact that he was not a lifetime politician only helped. It seemed to me that he knew how to build coalitions from the ground up and bar-b-ques and townhall type events. This is kind of old fashioned, but I think it’s a way that appeals to regular folks. It seemed to me to do the trick.
I haven’t lived in district one in 12 years. My wife and I live in Frederick. At one time I was proud to have voted for Mr. Gilchrest. Now, I actively plan to work against him.
Let me get my tin foil hat on, I think that folks like John McCain and Lindsay Grahm and Wayne Gilchest are like deep sleeper cells in the Republican party. I don’t think they are conservative at all and, in fact, I believe that they work toward undermining the party. The GOP needs to clean these skunks out.
Seriously, we could do worse than to have a moderate Democrat in that region rather than Wayne, but I hope Andrew Harris comes through.
No, I’m afraid I didn’t know Congressman Mills. I was born a year after his death. I own a copy of the Congressional memorial addresses for him, which gave me a better insight on the man and hinted at some of the reasons for the tragedy that happened this very day 34 years ago.
Although I’ve been to Maryland several times, I’ve never lived there, I’m a lifelong resident of Nashville (although being Southern born, my parents as Northerners helped give me an accent that most think I’m a native Marylander — too Northern to be Southern, but too Southern to be Northern !).
That’s an interesting theory about a “sleeper cell”, but is somewhat close to mine, in that I think there are active Republicans trying to undermine the party or the Conservative cause (basically your RINOs), some in a minor way, others in a major way. Some of the worst examples are many Governors, such as Weld in MA, Kean & Whitman in NJ, etc.
It’s rather remarkable what we as a party have tolerated from these individuals, which would see, if they were Democrats trying to undermine the liberal cause from within, rousted and run out of the party on a rail. Part of the reason stems from our generally being a minority party and having to take all the proverbial “comers”, so to speak. Unfortunately, this disease of RINOism has become an epidemic and in the short span of only 2 decades, even as we became a majority party nationwide, we ceased as a party becoming viable or competitive in several states, in the northeast, parts of the midwest, and the west coast.
As recently as 1988, we were competitive in every single state in the nation at the Presidential level (excluding DC). Today, we are competitive in only around 40 (with CA, CT, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, RI, VT, all essentially now being out of reach), and the number is dropping — Dubya carried just 31 states in ‘04, 1 more than he carried in ‘00 (which would’ve been 2 if he hadn’t dropped NH). In 1988, his father carried 40 (with only IA & WV, which Sr. failed to carry, going to Dubya in ‘04). More than a few of those states were ruined because of those RINO Governors and leaders.
You’ve pointed out that Gilchrest has become a part of the problem, part of it comes from the arrogance of incumbency (after Democrat Alan Goldsborough in the ‘20s and ‘30s, Gilcrest is the 2nd longest serving member from the 1st in MD history). Of course, compared to Mike Castle in the neighboring DE district, Gilchrest looks like Jesse Helms (Castle has been moving rapidly towards Jim Jeffords territory, and has crossed into nearly ultraliberal territory — and he, too, was one of those RINO Governors that helped put his state out of reach of GOP Presidential candidates).
Gilchrest may have the “hero” mantra from Vietnam, but no person should be given a free pass for their entire political career, especially when they go wrong. We’ve got one guy on FR who defends the erratic RINO SC Sen. Lindsay Graham based on his performance as a House manager during the Clinton impeachment, nevermind his apostasies since succeeding Sen. Thurmond. Remember that even the great Barry Goldwater, consumed by bitter jealousies of Reagan, and onset of senility, jumped the proverbial shark before his last Senate term, and should’ve been shown the door before he embarrassed himself and the GOP.
A small sliver of Baltimore and Anne Arundel couties are in the 1st.
“From the looks of it, most of Harris 7th District Senate seat is in the 1st Congressional District. That at least is good news for him. It should be noted that should Harris get through to the General Election, by nailing down the more liberal Baltimore suburbs he puts himself in good shape to hold the district from a RAT interception. I dont see the Eastern Shore voting Democrat anytime soon.”
The MD-01 is hyper Republican, and the only way I can see us losing it is if the general election becomes a geographic battle (with an Eastern Shore Democrat running against a Baltco Republican)instead of an ideological battle. But even if we place the odds of losing the CD in the general at close to 0, it may still be difficult for a Baltco Republican to defeat Gilchrest in the primary because Eastern Shore conservatives may be fooled into voting for “one of them” (meaning someone from the Eastern Shore) instead of their ideological twin from Baltco. I’d much rather have an Eastern Shore conservative run against Gilchrest in the primary.
I live in the 1st and I was under the impression that Gilchrest was not a true Eastern Shore native. I thought he was from Pennslyvania or somewheres up North. This was in the Annapolis Capital today.
Republican eyeing primary challenge of Gilchrest
Gilchrest has ruffled some Republican feathers for his opposition to the war in Iraq, Harris said. Earlier this year, Gilchrest was one of only two Republicans in Congress to vote for troops to return home from Iraq starting this fall.
Gilchrest has also opposed fellow Republicans on environmental matters. Harris said Thursday that many GOP members would be happier with a more conservative representative, even though the district is dominated by the Eastern Shore counties, and he is not from the Eastern Shore.
“I am actually more in step with the district than their incumbent,” said Harris, who was elected to the Senate in 1998.
Because state senators serve four-year terms, Harris will not have to leave his Senate seat to challenge Gilchrest. Maryland’s primary next year will be Feb. 12, the same day voters choose presidential candidates.
Gilchrest has faced a primary challenge every term but one since taking office, said Gilchrest chief of staff Tony Caliguiri.
Of Harris, Caliguiri said, “Anyone’s entitled to run for office, but we don’t believe his brand of extremist politics will appeal to Maryland voters.”
On the Net:
Wayne Gilchrest: http://gilchrest.house.gov
Andrew Harris: http://www.andyharris08.com
Castle is a founding members of the Main Street Garbage, but he’s the only R who can win in Delaware, so we have to put up with him.
“The MD-01 is hyper Republican, and the only way I can see us losing it is if the general election becomes a geographic battle (with an Eastern Shore Democrat running against a Baltco Republican)instead of an ideological battle.”
Good point. Also, if Harris were to lose, he would have to be a poor candidate. And he has won elections before, so if he had any fatal flaws, they would have shown up in previous elections.
I can live with Gilchrest occasionally breaking the party line, but his vote on the Peacenik resulotion cannot be ignored. Andrew Harris deserves a chance.
My thoughts exactly.
He's from Rahway, New Jersey.
Problem is, his movement to the left has seriously damaged the Republican party in the state, and it has shriveled badly on his watch (with them only tenuously holding onto the House). He should be dumped.
He should be, but that would mean a Democrat, since there’s no other Republican who can challenge him in a state that small.
With his declining percentages of the vote, he’s already paving the way for a rodent to take the seat. His age is becoming a factor, too, as he’ll be pushing 70 in the next election. And they need to aggressively challenge Biden next year, too (his percentages also have been declining). 36 years is long enough (he should’ve been taken out by Pete DuPont in 1984, the most premier opportunity).