Revenge of the mavericks

Lots going on today as Mitt Romney exited the Presidential race during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), all but ceding the GOP nomination to John McCain. His announcement was met with a smattering of boos and groans, and the CPAC attendees were asked not to give John McCain a similar treatment when he addressed their convention. (I’d just like to thank Mitt for making me a liar in record time after my post last night. Not.) McCain did attempt his best mea culpa at CPAC today. I’ll leave it up to the reader whether to believe the words or his deeds.

Because of that, McCain has taken Mitt Romney’s place at the Baltimore County Lincoln Day dinner this evening. Rumor has it that the big endorsement scheduled for tonight will be Governor Ehrlich throwing his support behind the Arizona Senator – we’ll all find out probably about the time this post is put to bed and up on monoblogue. As many may recall, Ehrlich was an early backer of Rudy Giuliani so the progression is logical there.

Another candidate who drew the support of Bob Ehrlich wasn’t as fortunate when it comes to newspaper endorsements. Today Wayne Gilchrest picked up the nod of two of the district’s major papers, which the campaign crowed about:

U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest’s solid sweep of local newspaper endorsements continued today with endorsements by the Annapolis Capital and the Baltimore Sun.

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“Our support for Mr. Gilchrest is based on how well he represents a conflicted district split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans. A decorated Vietnam veteran, he is an intelligent, thoughtful congressman who has a stellar record fighting for the environment and Maryland’s best interests,” said today’s Capital editorial.

“Not only do Mr. Gilchrest’s fiscally conservative views reflect his constituents’ but his pro-environmental positions that have sometimes put him at odds with the prevailing GOP views in Washington are nonetheless well-suited to this rural but increasingly suburbanized region so closely linked to the Chesapeake Bay,” wrote the Sun in an editorial today.

“Mr. Harris started this internecine war with personal attacks that didn’t belong in any campaign, let alone one being fought within the same party. His use of half-truths and vitriol – a trait that has isolated him in the legislature and would similarly isolate him in Congress – speaks volumes,” said the Capital editorial.

Both editorials had kind words for opponent E.J. Pipkin as well, with the Sun suggesting Pipkin as the eventual successor to Wayne Gilchrest, while the Capital piped, “(I)f Republicans feel (Gilchrest) is just not conservative enough, Mr. Pipkin is by far the better alternative.” Neither showed much love for Andy Harris, blaming him for the negative, scorched-earth tone of the campaign. Look for the Daily Times to endorse Gilchrest as well, but bear in mind the husband of Gilchrest’s Communications Director is the paper’s editor.

Gilchrest even got the bloggers into the act with another press release:

U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest won two endorsements from 2 highly regarded conservative blogs this week, which called on conservatives to re-elect the Congressman based on his character and his honest approach to his job.

“Wayne Gilchrest is a good man, a man of character. Sure, I may not agree with him all of the time on the things that he has done and the votes that he has made, but he has served in Congress with honor. With Wayne Gilchrest, you know what you are going to get, and that consistency is not a bad thing under our current circumstances,” wrote blog author and conservative activist Brian Griffiths.

The blog “Conservative Refuge” administered by conservative political activist Greg Kline also endorsed Gilchrest, urging listeners to his regular podcasts to reelect Gilchrest.

Griffiths credited State Senator E.J. Pipkin with running a strong campaign and making valuable contributions in the Maryland legislature, while criticizing the conduct of Senator Andrew Harris.

“There is just something about him that makes me feel very uncomfortable sending him to Congress,” Griffiths said of Harris. “He just reminds me of the type that you can’t trust, and that he would ‘go native’ in D.C. quicker than you can blink. I look at Senator Harris and see the type of politician we should not send to Washington. Yes, Andy Harris is the most conservative candidate in the race. But character counts for a lot, which is why Wayne Gilchrest has my support.”

“I think that this is an important endorsement that shows I can bring together the various perspectives within the Republican party, and I am grateful for these endorsements,” said Gilchrest.

A little love for a couple of my Red Maryland cohorts, even though I think they’re wrong in their endorsement of Gilchrest at this time. It’s worth noting that three contributors (including me) endorsed Harris in the race, giving him the overall endorsement from the site.

I also caught the usual Gilchrest biweekly interview with Bill Reddish on the AM Salisbury radio program this morning. Wayne cited one of the more unusual endorsements he’s gotten this morning, claiming that he had the endorsement of Ron Paul. That may be big news to Joe Arminio, who announced back in December he was running on the Ron Paul “ticket.”

Meanwhile, Andy Harris can’t catch a break either. I received this from Pat Toomey of the Club For Growth:

(Mississippi State Senator Charlie) Ross has been a vocal advocate of less spending while serving in the Legislature, so we are confident he would continue to fight for limited government in Congress, where wasteful spending is rampant. Ross even voted against a popular spending bill despite heavy criticism from the press.

This is a strong Republican seat — Bush won the seat with 65% of the vote and the retiring Republican incumbent was reelected with 80%. The winner of the March 11 primary will be nearly certain to win in November. This is our top priority race right now. (Emphasis in original).

Now I would think with five days to go that the First District race would be their priority, so either the Club For Growth thinks they have this in the bag or they’re going on to yet another “sure thing” like Harris was supposed to be. But they do maintain the Harris race as a high profile one on their website so we’ll see next Tuesday how much help they were.

Indeed, since I’m not at work this is crossposted on monoblogue.

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