Readers Speak Out On The 1st Congressional District Race

November 15, 2008

I feel sorry for state Sen. Andy Harris and his campaign managers because they still don't know why he lost to Queen Anne's County State's Attorney Frank M. Kratovil Jr. in the 1st Congressional District ("Narrow victory," Nov. 12).

It had nothing to do with the "unified voice across the country," or the swinging of the political pendulum, as Mr. Harris states. Rather, it had everything to do with the vicious, misleading and negative campaign ads that were prepared by his party and which he approved.

His tactics successfully destroyed his challenger in the Republican primary, incumbent Wayne T. Gilchrest, who has well represented his district and his country in Congress since 1991. Fortunately, the majority of voters recognized that the time for smear campaigns is over. This is the lesson that Andy Harris and the so-called conservatives within the Republican Party should learn from their well-deserved loss.

Donald T. Torres, Ellicott City

Now that the race for the 1st Congressional District is over, it is pretty clear what has happened ("Narrow victory," Nov. 12).

The Republicans have an independent moderate in the seat, Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest. He is pro-business but also pro-environment. Also, like the majority of Americans, he wants the U.S. out of Iraq.

The leader of my party, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., agreed with the extremist Club for Growth that the Republican Party is not big enough to include an independent moderate such as Mr. Gilchrest in it. So they drove him from office.

Then, having successfully purified the party, they lost the seat to another independent moderate. But this independent moderate is a Democrat.

So congratulations, Bob Ehrlich, you have successfully shrunk the party.

Dave Cleveland, Hampstead

While I am delighted that Frank M. Kratovil Jr. prevailed in the mudslinging race conducted by state Sen. Andy Harris for Congress in District 1, I have to disagree with Matthew Hay Brown's analysis of the victory ("Kratovil celebrates victory," Nov. 13).

Mr. Kratovil won because he convinced the voters that he would be the best representative for this strongly conservative district, not because of Barack Obama's coattails.

I believe that people on the Western and Eastern Shore split their ticket and voted for Mr. Kratovil because Mr. Harris, the principal naysayer in the Maryland Senate, consistently said "no" to protecting the Chesapeake Bay and because his brand of ultra-right partisanship was out of step with our desire for our representatives to work together for the good of the country.

Peggy Sange, Severna Park

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