Gilchrest relaxing, enjoying his victory

November 08, 1990|By John Fairhall | John Fairhall,Evening Sun Staff

"The Dyson people are really upset this morning," a radio DJ in Ocean City was saying. "They're still trying to figure out who planted the rumor that Roy Dyson wanted to be re-elected."

So it goes in politics: Win, and the news media will beat a path to your door, as they did yesterday for Wayne T. Gilchrest. Lose, and you're the butt of cruel jokes.

Gilchrest, a Republican, clobbered five-term Rep. Roy P. Dyson, D-1st, Tuesday. Yesterday he began to enjoy the spoils of victory.

"It feels good, I can tell you that, fellas," Gilchrest said to reporters at his campaign office in Chestertown.

For the first time in a long time, Gilchrest could dress down, without worrying about campaign appearances. He had on old jeans, a work shirt, tennis shoes, a corduroy jacket and a day's growth of beard.

His most pressing business was trying to decide where to go on a short vacation. His kids were dreaming of a wilderness cabin in Idaho, where the family spent several months four years ago. His wife was thinking warmly of Florida.

As reporters asked Gilchrest about his plans, an aide handed him a congratulatory telegram from chicken magnate Frank Perdue, who has plants on the Eastern Shore.

Gilchrest has a little time left before he gets swept up in congressional life. After Thanksgiving all new members of Congress are invited to Harvard University for seminars intended to prepare them for their lawmaking jobs; they take office in January.

But he already is thinking about committee assignments he'd like and other issues, such as his plans for the pay raise House TTC members are due in 1991.

Some of his thoughts:

* The list of committee assignments he'd like includes agriculture, armed services and merchant marine and fisheries, on which Dyson holds seats, and two others, veterans' affairs and energy and commerce.

* When congressional pay increases from $96,600 to about $125,000 (the exact amount depends on an inflation-related formula), he might give the raise to some good cause in his district. "I would never give it back to the government because it would be wasted," he said.

Even without the raise, the congressional salary would be a considerable increase from Gilchrest's high school teaching job. wife wants a new car," he said. "She drives a '76 Pontiac."

* He plans to work for campaign finance reform and the elimination of special interest, political action committee contributions. But he has not ruled out accepting PAC contributions, which he took during the 1990 campaign.

* After accusing Dyson of abusing Congress' free mail privileges, Gilchrest says he won't make district-wide mailings of newsletters. "I think district-wide mailings are a waste of money," he said.

"My goal is to send letters to people that write to me," he said, and rely on press releases, letters to the editor and town meetings to inform constituents.

Asked about his lopsided, 57-to-43 percent victory, Gilchrest said he was surprised by the margin. He attributed it partly to a backlash against Dyson's campaign attacks and to reaction against Dyson's belated disclosure that he received a conscientious-objector draft exemption during the Vietnam War.

Gilchrest said he was angry about the attacks, but that he will accept Dyson's offer of support and meet with him. But not right away. The Gilchrest family vacation, somewhere, comes first.

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