|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 1st district
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Roy Dyson|
|Succeeded by||Frank Kratovil|
April 15, 1946 |
Rahway, New Jersey
|Alma mater||Wesley College, Delaware State University|
|Occupation||high school teacher|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1964-1968|
Navy Commendation Medal
Wayne Thomas Gilchrest (born April 15, 1946) is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives who represented Maryland's 1st congressional district. In 2008, the moderate Gilchrest was defeated in the Republican primary by State Senator Andy Harris.
Early life and education
Born in Rahway, New Jersey, Gilchrest was the fourth child of Elizabeth and Arthur Gilchrest's six boys. After graduating high school in 1964, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. His tour of duty saw action during the invasion of the Dominican Republic, and ultimately the Vietnam War. He earned the rank of Sergeant in Vietnam where, as a platoon leader, he was wounded in the chest. Gilchrest was decorated with the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Navy Commendation Medal. Today he is a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Military Order of the Purple Heart.
In 1969, he received an associate's degree from Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. He then spent a semester in Kentucky studying rural poverty in Appalachia. He went on to receive a bachelor's degree in history from Delaware State College in 1973. Since then, he has done some work towards a master's degree at Loyola College in Baltimore.
While teaching at Kent County High School on the Eastern Shore, Gilchrest ran against four-term 1st District Democratic incumbent Roy Dyson in 1988. Dyson was plagued by allegations of improper contributions from defense contractors and questions about his sexual orientation. Despite being badly outspent, Gilchrest nearly unseated Dyson, losing by only 460 votes. He sought a rematch in 1990; this time soundly beating Dyson by 14%. In 1992, he survived a close contest against Tom McMillen, who had represented the 4th District before being drawn into the 1st District. Gilchrest won by only 3%, largely by swamping McMillen on the Eastern Shore. He wouldn't face serious opposition again for over a decade.
Gilchrest is a moderate Republican, and he broke ranks with his party more often than any other House member in 2007. While Democrats and Republicans are nearly tied in registration (183,332 Democrats to 180,856 Republicans ), the district has a strong tinge of social conservatism that usually favors Republicans. The 1st has a Cook Partisan Voting Index rating of R+13, indicating that it is a strongly Republican district, and supported President Bush's re-election with over 60% of the vote.
Gilchrest is a member of many moderate Republican groups such as the Republican Main Street Partnership, Republicans for Environmental Protection, and the Republican Majority For Choice. He was also the co-chairman of the Congressional Climate Change Caucus together with Democrat John Olver (MA-1). Gilchrest was a Republican co-sponsor of Rep. Marty Meehan's "Military Readiness Enhancement Act" which would have repealed the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. Gilchrest also spoke in favor of same-sex marriage while the Maryland Legislature was considering legalizing it, calling same-sex marriage a matter of "social justice, civil rights and a more viable democracy."
Aside from his socially moderate stance, Gilchrest has drawn attention for his stance on the Iraq War. Though he initially supported the war, Gilchrest's support waned as the occupation became increasingly violent, expressing his support for the Iraq Study Group Report and called on setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Gilchrest also joined 16 Republicans and 229 Democrats voting in favor of House Concurrent Resolution (H.CON.RES) 63, a non-binding resolution expressing disapproval for the Iraq War troop surge of 2007.
Gilchrest's moderate voting record resulted in vigorous primary challenges from Republicans who considered him a Republican in Name Only. However, none were successful until 2008. That year, State Senator Andrew Harris, State Senator E. J. Pipkin, Joe Arminio, and Robert Banks challenged Gilchrest in the 2008 Republican primary. Harris was strongly supported by the Club for Growth.
Harris defeated Gilchrest in the Republican primary, with Pipkin finishing third. After Gilchrest's loss in the primary, he broke with his party and endorsed Queen Anne's County State's Attorney Frank Kratovil, the Democratic nominee, in the general election, being quoted as saying, "Let's see, the Republican Party, or my eternal soul?" and "Party loyalty, or integrity?" when questioned. Kratovil won the election.
On September 18, 2008, Gilchrest made radio comments praising the Democratic Presidential ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, causing some media outlets to claim his endorsement of the Democratic ticket. However, Gilchrest quickly clarified these comments, saying that they did not amount to an endorsement. Despite the fact that he did not officially endorse Obama, in an October 2 Washington Post article, Gilchrest sharply criticized his own party and their presidential nominee, fellow Vietnam veteran John McCain. Gilchrest said that the Republican party "has become more narrow, more self-serving, more centered around 'I want, I want, I want.'" and said that McCain "recites memorized pieces of information in a narrow way, whereas Barack Obama is constantly evaluating information, using his judgment. One guy just recites what's in front of him, and the other has initiative and reason and prudence and wisdom." Gilchrest later told WBAL-TV that he voted for Obama in the November election.
Committee and caucus membership
- Committee on Natural Resources
- Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans (Chairman 2001-2007)
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
- Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
- Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
- Founder and Co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force
- Co-founder and Co-chair of the Congressional Climate Change Caucus
- Co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus
- Chairman of the House Corps Reform Caucus
- Co-founder and Co-chair of the House Organic Caucus
- Co-founder and Co-chair of the House Dialogue Caucus
|1990||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||88,920||56.84||Roy Dyson||Democratic||67,518||43.16|
|1992||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||120,084||51.27||Thomas McMillen||Democratic||112,771||48.15|
|1994||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||120,975||67.65||Ralph Gies||Democratic||57,712||32.27|
|1996||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||131,033||61.55||Steven Eastaugh||Democratic||81,825||38.44|
|1998||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||135,771||69.19||Irving Pinder||Democratic||60,450||30.81|
|2000||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||165,293||64.4||Bennett Bozman||Democratic||91,022||35.46|
|2002||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||192,004||76.67||Ann Tamlyn||Democratic||57,986||23.16|
|2004||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||245,149||75.77||Kostas Alexakis||Democratic||77,872||24.07|
|2006||Congress, 1st district||General||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||185,353||68.80||Jim Corwin||Democratic||83,817||31.11|
|2008||Congress, 1st district||Primary||Wayne Gilchrest||Republican||23,797||33.08||Andy Harris||Republican||31,180||43.34|
- bio on H.R. web site retrieved Oct 18, 2007
- Party Unity Scores CQ Politics. Retrieved September 26, 2008
- "Meet Our..." Republican Majority for Choice. Retrieved September 28, 2008
- Climate Change Caucus Members John Olver's Congressional Website. Retrieved September 28, 2008
- "Meehan Seeks To Overturn 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" The Politico, February 7, 2007
- H.1246 Full text of bill, via THOMAS
- Gilchrest Votes for Use of Force Against Iraq Congressman Gilchrest's Official Website, October 10, 2002
- "Congressman Gilchrest's Statement on Iraq (as of May 2006)" Congressman Gilchrest's Official Website, Retrieved September 28, 2008
- "Gilchrest Statement on Iraq Resolution" Congressman Gilchrest's Official Website, February 22, 2007
- H. CON. RES. 63 THOMAS Retrieved September 28, 2008.
- Roll Call No. 99 Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved on September 28, 2008
- "Maryland Primary Election Results". The Washington Post.
- Gilchrest crosses party lines, endorses Democrat Kratovil, even cutting an ad for him (baltimoresun.com)
- Edge, Wally (2008-02-29). "Top Gilchrest staffer kicks-off 'Republicans for Kratovil'". Politicker MD. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
- The Crypt: Republican congressman endorses Obama
- "Gilchrest Says Radio Comments Were Not Endorsement of Obama" CQ Politics, September 18, 2008.
- "Gilchrest Unloads on Know-Nothing Pols and the Rest of Us", Washington Post, October 2, 2008.
- Gilchrest 'Happy' To Retire (WBAL-TV)
- National Journal - The Centrists
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Profile at SourceWatch Congresspedia
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 1st congressional district
January 3, 1991 - January 3, 2009