Roy Dyson was the only Maryland congressman defeated yesterday, and one doesn't have to look far for the reason. The five-term representative had been on a downhill slide for at least two years, an unraveling that began with the suicide in New York City of a trusted aide and continued with allegations of campaign funding irregularities, an indifferent environmental record and a cozy relationship with defense industry lobbyists.
Dyson barely managed to fend off those charges in 1988, when a folksy Republican unknown named Wayne Gilchrest came within 1,500 votes of unseating him. This year, dogged by new questions regarding Dyson's personal integrity raised by the revelation that he sought conscientious objector status to avoid military service during the Vietnam War, and with the GOP mounting an all-out campaign for Gilchrest with White House backing, Dyson finally succumbed 56 percent to 44 percent.
Now that Gilchrest has won what began as a virtal one-man crusade, we are confident that the former Vietnam veteran, high school teacher and part-time house painter will make good on his campaign promise to restore "honesty and integrity" to government by providing the 1st District with diligent, thoughtful representation in Congress.