While the rumors had been swirling for some time, over the last 48 hours the official transformation of Wayne Gilchrest to Republican In Name Only became complete as he endorsed Democrat Frank Kratovil for his current Congressional seat. Naturally, the Kratovil people wasted no time getting the word out and the Baltimore Sun cooperated with this story in today’s edition by Chris Guy. More importantly, they rolled out a new TV commercial dubbed “Reach”:
Naturally Andy Harris’s campaign fired back by bringing up the opposition of both Glichrest and Kratovil to common-sense energy policies and mentioning some other endorsements which have been made on Kratovil’s behalf:
“Voters want a change from the failed policies of Congress of raising taxes, increasing wasteful spending, and failing to solve our energy crisis. Andy Harris represents a change, Frank Kratovil obviously represents more of the same. If you are tired of the way business is done in Washington, then Andy Harris is your candidate.
“Voters are tired of politicians who put the radical environmental special interest groups ahead of the needs of Maryland families. Sadly both Gilchrest and Kratovil oppose expanding domestic exploration of oil and natural gas. Both oppose expanding capacity at domestic refineries. Both support raising energy taxes. In contrast, Andy Harris supports a comprehensive energy solution that includes expanding domestic exploration of oil and natural gas, developing the next generation of alternative energy technology, and more conservation.”
Kratovil has also received endorsements from liberals like Martin O’Malley, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Chris Van Hollen. This support shows he is clearly out of touch with the values of the district.”
Obviously Frank Kratovil is playing up the similarities that Gilchrest and he have on several areas of common interest, particularly the environment. (You’ll notice that Wayne did his portion of the spot out by some wetland someplace.) Also, while Gilchrest mentioned his party affiliation the spot never does call Frank Kratovil by his affiliation but as “independent.” Without question this is a bid to peel moderate Republicans away from Andy Harris by aligning the two together.
Personally, my main differences with Wayne Gilchrest have come on two fronts: his opposition to the Long War – which included votes to defund the troops – and his fervent opposition to securing our own domestic energy supplies. These two issues show that Gilchrest and Kratovil indeed can both be called “peas in a liberal pod.”
But this strategy of using Gilchrest comes with some risk. Prior to this, both Kratovil and Harris had been running as Washington outsiders, but gaining the support of a man who originally promised not to be a career politician but instead stayed 18 years may backfire on Frank. No longer can he truly portray himself as an outsider, even though Gilchrest has had the reputation for bucking the party line (which now has been shown to be true in spades.) By touring the district with Kratovil, Wayne may be campaigning harder in this election which he’s not a part of than he did for most of his nine terms.
One other question that needs to asked is what Newt Gingrich and Michael Steele think about a man who they supported in the Republican primary election turning around after his defeat and, in the ultimate case of sour grapes, crossing party lines to endorse the Democrat? It’s one thing for disgrunted workers or minor county officials to endorse across the aisle, but having these two heavyweights be associated with a Congressman who does that means that Lucy has some ‘splainin’ to do.
While it’s Wayne’s right to reach across the aisle and endorse the Democrat in the race, it’s worth pointing out that, for Republicans reaching across the aisle in Congress, reaching across means more often than not you end up with a bloody hand full of teeth marks and a larger, more intrusive federal government. Bear that in mind when you vote November 4th.
Also, reaction from the Maryland GOP:
“While Congressman Gilchrest’s action is certainly not a surprise to us, it is disappointing. The Maryland Republican Party and Republicans in the 1st Congressional District have supported Wayne for years and many Republicans will view his decision as a betrayal of that support,” said Chairman Pelura.
“Voters clearly want a change in how Washington D.C. does business. John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Andy Harris are going to go to Washington and fight to reform the way our government does business,” Pelura concluded. “The Obama/Biden/Kratovil team represent business as usual in Washington D.C. Frank Kratovil will vote with Nancy Pelosi a majority of the time. McCain as President and Andy Harris as Congressman will ensure tax relief, energy independence, and a strong national defense for citizens of the 1st Congressional District and our country.”
Crossposted on Red Maryland.