E.J. Pipkin To Run?
Shortly after my fellow District 1 voters sent Wayne Gilchrest back to Washington, I started contemplating who could possibly give him a run for his money in 2008. I figured a fair share of elected state delegates and senators may give it a shot whereas it would be a safe run. Bearing in mind it’s almost impossible to unseat an incumbent outside of a major scandal, I still felt two republicans had a legitimate shot at knocking off Wayne Gilchrest. First, I identified Steve Schuh. Although he’s from the Western Shore, he’s charismatic and good looking. In turn, he’s very sensible when talking issues. To that end, I felt he could convince a lot of Congressional District 1 voters to come into his camp much the same way he won over Legislative District 31 in 2006.
The other person I identified was E.J. Pipkin. Clearly, the guy had a lot of positives going in. If anyone paid his dues, it was E.J. He ran a spirited but unsuccessful campaign against Barbara Mikulski in 2004. During that campaign, he won over a lot of voters from both sides with his common sense approach. Even those I spoke to that didn’t vote for him felt as though he was a likable candidate. Perhaps if he weren’t challenging an incumbent, things may have turned in a different direction.
Besides being a popular senator, E.J. Pipkin has that one thing many Eastern Shore voters like. He’s one of them. That puts him on an equal playing field with Gilchrest. Make no mistake, Gilchrest still has the advantage, but he has less of a hill to climb than Harris. And while the Harris faithful may claim more voters live on this side of the bridge, you can bet Eastern Shore voters will turn out in greater numbers in February.
It’s now rumored that Pipkin will make a last minute entry into this race. Although this will certainly tick off the opportunists in the Harris camp, it’ll also make the race far more interesting. Normally, a race with multiple challengers benefits an incumbent. Still, Pipkin is a wild card by virtue of being an elected official from the Eastern Shore as well.
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If this comes to fruition, this race may actually be worth watching on the evening of February 12th. If E.J. gets in, it goes from a Gilchrest vs. Kratovil fight to a TBD vs. Kratovil battle. Stay tuned.