WORTON -- Congressional politics in Maryland's new 1st District showed promise of shifting to a higher gear yesterday when more than 600 voters showed up at a debate here to see for themselves if there is any difference between two incumbents running for one seat.
What they got from Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, a Republican from Kent County, and Rep. Tom McMillen, a Democrat from the other side of the Chesapeake Bay, was mostly double servings of the same views.
Mr. Gilchrest said he favored a balanced budget amendment to help control federal spending. Ditto from Mr. McMillen.
Mr. McMillen said he considers global warming, ozone depletion and nuclear weapons to be the top three problems facing the environment.
Almost ditto from Mr. Gilchrest, whose third environmental concern was what to do about the loss of important wetlands in the bay region.
On education, Mr. Gilchrest said that even the youngest baby must be nurtured "to have a sense of wonderment about the curiosities of life."
Mr. McMillen's position varied only slightly. "Most of all," the Democrat said, "we need to turn to our parents and say, 'Make your kids study more.' "
Both candidates even agreed at the start of last night's two-hour debate to take off their jackets because the high school auditorium was so warm.
The debate was sponsored by the Kent County League of Women Voters and the local Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Gilchrest and Mr. McMillen are running in the new 1st Congressional District in a battle of incumbents.
Mr. Gilchrest currently represents the Eastern Shore portion of the trans-Chesapeake district, while Mr. McMillen has been representing the portion across the bay in Anne Arundel County.
The redrawn district includes the Eastern Shore, part of Anne Arundel and a few South Baltimore districts.
As many as 15 more side-by-side road shows have been scheduled by the campaign teams.