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Ex-Gilchrest Finance Aide Joins Democratic Campaign

In the wake of February’s particularly nasty Republican primary on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a top campaign aide for defeated Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.) has crossed party lines and joined the staff of 1st district Democratic nominee Frank Kratovil (D).

According to a release Thursday from the Kratovil campaign, Lynn Caligiuri, who has served as finance coordinator for Gilchrest since 1999, will now serve in the same role for Kratovil’s campaign. Caligiuri had served on Gilchrest’s staff since his 1994 campaign.

Citing her disappointment with Gilchrest’s defeat at the hands of conservative state Sen. Andy Harris (R) in February, Caligiuri said Kratovil offers voters the best chance to continue Gilchrest’s moderate vision in Congress.

“We now have an opportunity to send someone to Washington to continue to represent our values and end the partisan attacks and divisiveness that has rendered Congress ineffective and unresponsive,” Caligiuri said. “Frank Kratovil is the right choice.”

In the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how many of Gilchrest’s old financial supporters Caligiuri will be able to bring over from the Republican fold. Last month, another top Gilchrest aide began organizing “Republicans for Kratovil” in an attempt to draw former Gilchrest supporters to the Kratovil camp.

Harris’ campaign manager Chris Meekins shrugged off the news release from Kratovil on Thursday.

“What we’ve seen is that the people who have joined Kratovil all have received a paycheck from Gilchrest,” Meekins said. “People that have received money from Gilchrest in the past aren’t happy that they won’t receive a paycheck anymore. I’ll leave it at that.”

In other 1st district news, Kratovil filed an amended Federal Election Commission report this week that showed he did not actually beat Harris in cash-on-hand totals for the first quarter as originally reported. Kratovil’s amended report showed he ended the quarter with $182,000 cash on hand, $23,000 short of Harris’ $205,000.

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