Maryland: Bush Endorses Gilchrest, Despite Iraq Differences

Posted January 18, 2008 at 6:21pm

A busy week in the 1st district Republican primary ended with President Bush endorsing Rep. Wayne Gilchrest in a letter to Eastern Shore Republicans on Friday.

“I am writing to ask for your support of Republican Wayne Gilchrest in the upcoming February 12th Primary election,” Bush wrote. “Wayne is an example of what’s great about America. His re-election is important to regaining our Republican Majority.”

In a statement released by the campaign, Gilchrest, who has criticized Bush’s Iraq War policies over the past year, said he was “deeply honored to have the continued faith and support of President Bush” and cited his support of the president in cutting taxes and curbing illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, one of Gilchrest’s top challengers, state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R), informed his competitors earlier in the week that he had crossed the self-funding threshold and triggered the “Millionaires’ Amendment” in the increasingly bitter primary.

Pipkin loaned his campaign $248,000 last week, bringing his self-funding total to $548,000 to date, according to paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission. As a result, all the Republicans running can now take up to $6,900 from individuals for the primary.

In addition, another GOP state Senator, Andy Harris, announced last Thursday that he had raised more than $1 million in his bid to knock off Gilchrest.

Harris’ campaign counted more than 5,500 unique donors, according to a news release, and campaign manager Chris Meekins said the campaign had a little more than $500,000 in cash on hand as of the end of 2007.

Gilchrest is in the fight of his political life in the Feb. 12 primary, but some political analysts have speculated that Pipkin’s late November entry into the race might actually have helped the Congressman by splitting the anti-Gilchrest vote.

Harris’ campaign has tried to change the theme of the primary campaign from incumbent vs. challengers to liberal vs. conservative and has tried to paint both Gilchrest and Pipkin as too far left for the conservative district.

Mfume Backs Edwards Over Ex-Colleague Wynn

Kweisi Mfume (D), the ex-Congressman and former NAACP president who narrowly lost a Senate primary bid in 2006, has decided to forsake his former colleague, Rep. Albert Wynn (D).

Mfume will endorse lawyer and community activist Donna Edwards this week in her tight battle against Wynn in the 4th district Democratic primary.

Mfume lost to now-Sen. Benjamin Cardin in the Senate primary by fewer than 20,000 votes despite being outspent by close to a 4-1 margin.

With the primary set for Feb. 12, Edwards and Wynn are entering the home stretch of their rematch. Edwards lost by fewer than 3,000 votes in 2006.
— John McArdle