Playing off Steve Chapman's new column… When I asked Rep. Wayne Gilchrist if he worried about a primary challenge (he's faced stiff ones before after pissing off the NRA and the Club for Growth) he demurred.
I don't worry about a primary challenge. It's inconvenient. My eternal soul will last a lot longer than my short, pathetic political career.
What we both knew was that Gilchrist probably will face his third primary challenge of the decade. Playing Lee Van Cleef to Gilchrist's Clint Eastwood will be a state senator named Andy Harris, whose reason for running is… well, take a guess.
Many Republicans say Mr. Gilchrest's support of the Democrat-backed Iraq war resolution in March and District of Columbia voting rights are the latest in a series of votes that have alienated him from the Republican base.
"People are really sick and tired of him," said Joan Harris, a Republican activist in Mr. Gilchrest's district and vice president of Citizens for Jessica's Law in Maryland, an organization that advocates tougher sex-offender laws.
Mr. Gilchrest was one of two Republican congressmen to vote with the Democrats to set a troop-withdrawal date in Iraq. The other was Walter B. Jones of North Carolina.
"That one vote has generated more anti-Gilchrest letters to the editor than all the other votes since he's been in Congress," said state Sen. Richard F. Colburn, an Eastern Shore Republican who ran against Mr. Gilchrest in 2004.
Nobody's got a divine right to be in Congress, but those are the issues Republican voters consider purge-worthy? Keeping troops in Iraq and preventing Eleanor Holmes Norton from saying "aye" and "nay"?