Pat Toomey Pounds Wayne Gilchrest at National Review

Club for Growth President Pat Toomey takes Wayne Gilchrest to the woodshed.

NRO Editor Kathryn Jean Lopez: Which Republicans must be defeated in 2008?

Pat Toomey: If there is one Republican who must be shown the door, it is Representative Wayne Gilchrest (Md., 1). Representing the conservative First Congressional District in Maryland, Rep. Gilchrest is one of the most economically liberal Republicans in Congress, ranking 212th on the Club for Growth’s 2006 scorecard.

His anti-growth votes read like a “RINO of the Year” award. He recently broke his anti-tax pledge, not once, but twice, voting for the Farm Bill, including a tax hike on foreign companies, and for a tax hike on oil companies. He feels no compunction about wasting taxpayer dollars, whether he’s voting for mohair and Viagra subsidies or against every anti-pork amendment (for which he was present) in 2007 and 2006. In a blow to political free speech, Gilchrest supported McCain-Feingold and the so-called 527 Reform Bill last year. Of course, there’s his vote to increase the minimum wage and his vote against an amendment restricting eminent domain abuse — and well, I could go on for a long time.

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In contrast, his opponent, Maryland State Senator Andy Harris, has a long record of fighting for taxpayers at the local level, leading the fight against the Wal-Mart Tax Bill in the Maryland State Senate and sponsoring repeal of the Maryland inheritance tax. Harris has successfully ousted a Republican incumbent before, has been endorsed by former Maryland Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich, and is outraising Gilchrest. A Harris victory in the February primary will be a decisive victory for the conservative movement.

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