Kratovil = Gilchrest = O'Malley?
The Andy Harris campaign is attempting the 1st District version of Barack Obama's current John McCain = George Bush line of attack by sending around an e-mail with the news that Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, who is crossing party lines to endorse Democrat Frank Kratovil, voted in 2006 for Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, instead of Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich. According to an article in The Capital, Gilchrest made this admission while accepting the John V. Kabler Award from the League of Conservation Voters at its annual dinner Monday night.
It's not so shocking that Gilchrest would have voted for O'Malley -- there's been bad blood between Gilchrest and Ehrlich ever since the congressman testified against Ehrlich's slots plan in 2003. It's also not so shocking since, as the Harris e-mail points out, Gilchrest is supporting Obama for president; the guy's evidently not so into the straight party ticket.
Harris campaign manager Chris Meekins writes: "O'Malley, Kratovil and Gilchrest support higher taxes, more wasteful government spending, and amnesty for illegal immigrants - that's liberal."
All in all, the result of the 1st District race will be a pretty interesting test case in how damaged the Republican party brand is. Harris has been running hard to the right in this district from the start (recall the "Gilchrest and Pipkin -- two peas in a liberal pod" line from the primaries and the current "liberal policies never work" tagline in some of his ads), betting that it's not as moderate as Gilchrest's long record of success there would suggest. In 1994, when Republicans were sweeping nationwide, that strategy would definitely have worked. In 2008? We'll soon find out.