So what’s in it for Newt?
I noted this back on Friday, but Wayne Gilchrest put out the press release yesterday:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will travel to Maryland next month to offer his personal endorsement of US Rep. Wayne Gilchrest and headline a fundraising banquet for the Gilchrest campaign.
Gingrich will be joined by former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele and an honorary host committee including Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, and Harford County Executive David Craig for a dinner and reception on behalf of Gilchrest.
“This is a most distinguished gathering of state and national Republican leaders, and I am deeply honored to have them come together for this important effort,” said Gilchrest.
Speaker Gingrich is widely hailed as the architect and leader of the 1994 Republican revolution, charting the course for Republican control of Congress for the first time in more than a generation. He continues to be a national leader on key conservative causes and recently declined a national effort to draft him for a Presidential run.
Michael Steele served with distinction as both the Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party and as Lt. Governor in the Ehrlich administration before making an unsuccessful run for the United States Senate in a campaign hailed nationally as a flawless and well-run effort. Steele now chairs GOPAC – a national organization founded in part by Newt Gingrich – to promote the election of Republicans to office on all levels.
County Executives John Leopold and David Craig hold the distinction of being the highest locally elected Republicans in the First Congressional district, and both have offered their strong endorsement of Gilchrest.
“Wayne Gilchrest has a reputation of integrity and he’s a person of conscience who makes decisions on what he believes is in the best interest of our nation. That’s why I am proud to support him,” said County Executive John Leopold.
“I support Wayne because Wayne is one of us. And I don’t support him because he is an incumbent, but because he is a good person. He takes care of the people back home, he understands what public service is about, and he has served us honorably,” said Harford County Executive David Craig.
The dinner will be held Thursday, January 10th at the Westin Park hotel in Annapolis. For more information, contact the Gilchrest campaign at 410-778-1573.
Birds of a feather do tend to flock together. On the Harris side, we have many of the State Senators who work with Andy on a regular basis, while Gilchrest is getting support from his bailiwick, the halls of Congress. Meanwhile, John Leopold is fairly well-known as a moderate so his support of Gilchrest isn’t surprising. I’m not so sure about David Craig, but perhaps he feels that Gilchrest is the known quantity or just doesn’t get along with Andy Harris despite the fact Harris represents part of his county in the State Senate.
Most surprising to me is Michael Steele throwing his support behind Gilchrest rather than supporting one of those who would be on the “farm team” for a future run. Isn’t that the purpose behind GOPAC, to build a base of candidates for future runs? Many in the First District think it’s time for a Congressman who is more attuned to our views. It also splits Steele from his former boss, Bob Ehrlich, an avowed Harris supporter.
Then again, I notice that neither Gingrich or Steele is actually quoted in the release. Maybe they feel it’s loyalty to a fellow Republican that brings them to Annapolis to stump for Gilchrest; however, I don’t plan on paying the freight to find out what either will say on Wayne’s behalf.
Another thing about the Gingrich influence. It’s proven by the ACU ratings that when both he and Wayne Gilchrest served in the House, Gilchrest was at least a somewhat reliable conservative vote. Wayne has only topped the 60% ACU rating mark 8 times in 16 rating years (1991-2006) with 6 of those years spanning from 1990-97, a period that saw Newt’s rise and fall in the House. Conversely, in 4 of the last 9 rating years Wayne has failed to top 50 percent, including the last two years. It would be nice if Gingrich would talk a little bit of conservative sense into Wayne, but I’m not so sure Newt has maintained himself as the purest example of small-government conservatism. One thing that disappointed me about Winning The Future (although it’s still a fine book) is a touch too much reliance on federal solutions for my taste.
Most of all, this simply proves is that Gilchrest and Gingrich are friends. Readers may recall a letter I cited last spring from Wayne that read in part:
I was recently talking to my friend, former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich, and he agreed that our best – and possibly only – hope is to clearly articulate our positive vision for America, and to return to the core principles of our party which brought us the trust and confidence of American voters.
Wayne, if you’re going to return to the core principles of our party, it may help to start voting with them on a more regular basis – particularly the Republican Study Committee wing.
Crossposted on monoblogue.