Earlier this month, the political career of Wayne Gilchrest ended with a resounding thud as he lost the GOP primary by nine points to Andy Harris. Even more shocking was the margin that he lost to Harris by on the western side of the bay.
So my antenna went up when I saw a story dated yesterday on The Hill newspaper’s website by Aaron Blake that quoted Gilchrest’s right-hand man Tony Caligiuri whining about a lack of polling and support from the National Republican Congressional Committee. While NRCC head Tom Cole personally endorsed Gilchrest in the race, Caligiuri noted:
“They never offered to do any polling for us or really do anything financially for us before the primary, yet they were polling the Harris-Kratovil race, which was kind of a curious thing. The fact that they spent however much it costs to test Harris in a poll without ever doing anything to support the incumbent is kind of a chilling message to incumbents.”
Tony blamed some of the lack of effort by the NRCC on the fact that Gilchrest wasn’t one to support the party through contributions from his own campaign, and also stated that it wasn’t likely Gilchrest would be active in the GOP after his term expired. For his part, NRCC Chairman Cole told The Hill that sharing the information with Gilchrest would have needed to be listed as an in-kind contribution; moreover, the NRCC wasn’t in a financial position to “save” its members in contested primaries.
The money quote from the story comes near its close though:
Caligiuri left open the possibility that Gilchrest might endorse Kratovil in the general election after a nasty primary battle with Harris. Harris defeated Gilchrest 43-33, bringing an end to the centrist incumbent’s 18-year House career.
Gilchrest has regularly won two-thirds of the general election vote, making his endorsement potentially key to an uphill battle for Kratovil. (Emphasis mine.)
So it appears that a guy who voted with Nancy Pelosi almost half the time in a survey last year could be endorsing someone who will vote with her at least 70% of the time, based on Democrat loyalty from that same sampling.
Speaking of Frank Kratovil, he appeared Monday morning on the AM Salisbury radio program with Bill Reddish. In a brief interview, Kratovil commented that the manner that the Republican primary was contested will have a “great impact” on the general election. And to make sure that occurs, I’m certain their campaign has video of every commercial and a copy of every mailing produced and sent out by Wayne Gilchrest and E.J. Pipkin.
In stressing his experience with the immigration issue from the point of view of someone trying to enforce laws, Frank talked about working to make driving without a valid license a jailable offense, so the ICE agents would at least have an opportunity to deport scofflaws in the country illegally. Prior to that, they’d pay the fine and not be heard from until the next time they were stopped. It’s an issue he’s running far to the right of most Democrats on, at least until he’s told what’s what by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer after he wins in November.
Reddish also asked about Kratovil’s Iraq policy, where he once again trotted out his standard line that going into Iraq was a “mistake” and told the radio audience he thought the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group should be followed, using “carrots and sticks” as needed to get other countries to share the Iraqi load. The failure of diplomacy was a “fair criticism” of the Bush Administration.
Frank concluded by alluding to Harris’s “dismal” record on the environment, and he seems to have a friend here. To get a perfect Maryland LCV score last year, Andy would have had to vote for a ban on coastal dredging, a ban on detergents containing phosphorus, for adding solar energy to the renewable energy portfolio utilities in Maryland are now mandated to have, for the Clean Cars bill, for more restrictive stormwater management, and against weakening energy efficiency standards. He scored 18%, getting credit for the 47-0 passage of the stormwater regulations. Personally I would have gotten a zero for that crap because had I been in the Senate that vote would have been 46-1.
But Frank has no score because he’s not in the General Assembly, so we’re only led to assume that he would be for what he claims Harris is against – the perfect blank slate. We just have to infer his positions on a number of issues by the company he keeps, notably Martin O’Malley. As the campaign goes on, though, some of us will be paying attention.
Crossposted on Red Maryland.