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Gilchrest Endorses Democrat in 1st District

Republican congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest broke ranks with his party yesterday and endorsed Democrat Frank Kratovil as the candidate he thinks should replace him in Congress in the 1st District.

The endorsement came about seven months after Gilchrest lost a bitter Republican primary to State Sen. Andy Harris in the Eastern Shore district that also includes part of Anne Arundel County.

Today at a press conference on the City Dock in Annapolis, Kratovil, the Queen Anne County state's attorney, said Gilchrest's endorsement says as much about Harris as it does about Kratovil's campaign. He used the event to characterize Harris as an ultra-conservative who, as a congressman, would choose his party line over the interests of his district.

Harris's campaign, however, dismissed Gilchrest's endorsement as unsurprising. Gilchrest and Harris have not met or even talked by phone since the primary. Harris' aides said they had been expecting Gilchrest's endorsement of Kratovil for weeks and attempted to use Gilchrest's endorsement to paint Kratovil as representative of the old guard in Congress that needs to be changed.

Gilchrest said made his decision like he has made all his decisions in Congress, many of which crossed party lines. He said he decided to support Kratovil after probing the issues and weighing the integrity of both men.

-- William Wan

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 2, 2008; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Elections  
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Andy Harris does not represent Maryland's 1st District. Wayne served this district honorably during his tenure. He is a middle ground politician who reached across the aisle when needed. Harris is another fringe politician who has no regard for reality. Hot-button issues and dirty tactics have framed his campaign - precisely the tactics used to paint the honorable Wayne Gilchrest as a traitor. For shame.

Thank you Wayne for choosing to side with a true representative of the people, not just a blind vote for anything with an “R” attached.

Posted by: ES Resident | September 2, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't the 1st district also include parts of Baltimore and Harford counties? Please check your district maps.

Posted by: Geography Check | September 2, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if ES Resident would say the same thing about party line voting for Maryland Governors or the "D" attached. The reality is that most people vote party lines.

From what I understand, Harris provided a more conservative message in the Republican primary. Whether that works in the general election I just don't know. Gilchrest was fine imo, but its pretty typical for a politican spurned by his party to do drastic things.

Posted by: AustrianOak | September 2, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Gilchrist received less than 1/3 of the votes in the GOP Primary Election (an exceptionally bad showing even among the rare defeated incumbents since primaries were instituted a century ago), which should have been no surprise to someone who voted with the Democrats 48% of the time in the last term.

Posted by: Richard in Talbot Co | September 2, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

AustrianOak: I certainly hope that you put more time and effort into deciding your vote rather than checking off all the R’s or D’s. People used to chose a candidate because we liked their policies and ideas, while still respecting their opponents. Today America is torn in half by partisan politics and candidates like Harris that are absolutists. Andy Harris spent the entire primary (and so far the general) trashing his opponent(s) instead of expressing his goals. This type of politics sickens me, and other Republicans who wish to bring our country out of the political gutter. My party has abandoned me, small government and individual rights – and its because of extremists like Harris who do nothing but get in line and pander to the lowest common denominator. It insults my intelligence. I am voting for a different America this time around. One that compromises to best represent all of us - not just some.

Posted by: ES Resident | September 2, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Gilchrest could be described as a conservative Democrat or a liberal Republican, but whatever you call him you can't say he is a sellout to a party platform. Good for him and good for his district. He represented his constituents and not the DNC or RNC.

Posted by: Spell RINO | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The best thing that could ever happen for any candidate is to have a doddering old fool like Gilchrest be against you. Gilchrest lost because it was long past time for him to leave and he didn't know it. If ES Resident is just now noticing partisan politics he either flew in from outer space or is such a doctrinaire Demogag that he can't see anything else. Good riddance to that worthless old pos gilchrest.

Posted by: WS$ | September 2, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Judging from the vile in the WS$ post, he must be a Harris supporter. The fact is that on the ES, the GOP has held the seat because many Dems and Independents have crossed party lines to vote for moderate Republicans. Harris will need to get a lot of cross over votes in Harford and Baltimore County to win, because he sure won't get any in the remainder of the District.

And to Richard, Gilchrest won 33% to Harris's 43% (I believe that is a third of the vote). Considering 38% of the incumbent vote in past elections came from Dems, Harris will need 100% of the GOP in his home area, plus independents and some Dems to win. Are the Rockfish Repubs going to vote for Harris?

Posted by: vmi98mom | September 3, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Nope, I'm not a Harris supporter, just a Gilchrest detractor. It absolutely amazes me that 1) Gilchrest got as far as he did in the past few years and 2) that anyone other than doctrinaire democrats think he's worth having around.

Democrats love having him as the poster boy for bipartisanship--which in democrat parlance means agreeing with them... definitely never reciprocal. Republicans... huh?

The only way that representative government is going to be reestablished in Maryland (and it's a very slim chance) is for non-Dems to play no holds barred politics. The machine is too deeply entrenched here for anyone to play nice and hope to win. So, if that's what Harris did to beat a politician well past his prime, good. It should be instructive that there's so much hullabaloo at Gilchrest's passing. That in itself speaks volumes.

By the way, I'm not philosophically opposed to Democrats leading...just Democrats in power that don't lead. You eastern shore types are sure seeing the results of that leadership every time you cross the bridge (I assume you do once in a while).

Posted by: WS$ | September 3, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations to Frank Kratovil for recieving this endorsement from the Distinguished Congressman Gilchrest. The ES would be lucky to have a congressman the next 18 years execute the office like Gilchrest has done so well. If Wayne says he's the one to vote for, then Frank Kratovil is my guy.

Posted by: Joe | September 3, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the pastoral views and sounds of sheep grazing... so many sheep

Posted by: WS$ | September 4, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Wayne Gilchrest is another of the many, many examples of Congressmen who say one thing and do another. We need term limits in the peoples house! After 2-3 terms these guys start believing the #rap they say! Gilchrest voted with Democrats more then any other Republican, he deserves to be home alone! I will vote for Harris, but 2 times only. Got is Andy!

Posted by: ESJay | September 9, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

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