Outgoing Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (District 1) threw his support behind Barack Obama for president this week, saying that the Obama-Biden ticket will do more to rebuild America’s image abroad. A moderate Republican from the Eastern shore, Gilchrest lost to State Sen. Andy Harris in the primary. Gilchrest’s support of Obama follows his recent endorsement of another Democrat, Frank Kratovil, who is running against Harris for the District 1 seat.
The pair will appear in a forum at Harford Community College tonight from 7 to 9 p.m., and will square off in a debate Sept. 30 at Salisbury University.
Gilchrest split with the Republican party largely over the Iraq war, which he voted for in 2002. Now on his way out in a district that trends conservative, Gilchrest’s brand of moderate Republicanism seems to have landed him squarely in league with the Democrats. For his part, Harris seems to be carrying the mantle – and the money – of the Ron Smith/Bob Ehrlich Republicans of Maryland. His signs, stickers, and buttons are everywhere, and in July, when Harris had a strong presence at every Independence Day parade in the district, he proudly announced on his website that he had $150,000 more cash on hand than the Kratovil campaign. Harris is down on illegal immigrants, thin on education, and absolutely hates human cloning, as evidenced in his sponsorship of the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2007, which died an early, unceremonial death without ever reaching the state house floor last year. As a practicing physician, Harris surely knows how serious the threat of human cloning is, and how pressing an issue its outlaw is to Marylanders.
Kratovil is close to Harris on immigration, as he has to be to stand a chance of winning in District 1.