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Ehrlich to Host Event for Gilchrest Primary Foe

Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) is aiding state Sen. Andy Harris (R) in his primary challenge of Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R).

Ehrlich, a former Congressional colleague of Gilchrest’s, has stopped short of endorsing Harris outright, however.

Ehrlich announced Wednesday that he’ll be hosting a fundraiser in October for Harris, who entered the race at the beginning of the summer and last month was endorsed by the anti-tax group Club for Growth. The Oct. 16 event will take place in Queen Anne County, in Gilchrest’s figurative backyard.

“Andy Harris has been a consistent leader in promoting our Republican values and beliefs,” Ehrlich said in a statement Wednesday. “His leadership on fighting for lower taxes, eliminating wasteful spending and support for honest government is legendary in the legislature. I am proud to offer my help.”

Chris Meekins, Harris’ political director, conceded that the former governor has not endorsed the challenger yet.

“This is a courtesy for Andy, who raised a lot of money [for Ehrlich’s unsuccessful re-election bid] last year,” Meekins said. “Anything he’s willing to do for us we’ll take and we’ll take graciously.”

Although Ehrlich is not yet endorsing Harris, some of his top financial supporters have done so already.

Harris is the latest in a string of conservative primary challengers to Gilchrest, who has become increasingly critical of President Bush’s Iraq War policies.

Tony Caligiuri, Gilchrest’s chief of staff, called Ehrlich’s decision to aid Harris “old news.”

“I know the governor has a lot of irons in the fire and he’s looking at a political comeback, but I’m not real familiar with what the governor’s political tactics are because he really didn’t interact with us during his re-election campaign,” Caligiuri said. “So we don’t have a great familiarity with how he operates or what his plans are.”

— John McArdle

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