Wayne Gilchrest Finds It’s Not Easy Being Green

Statement of David A. Ridenour, Vice President, The National Center for Public Policy Research on the election loss of Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), a “green” Republican, in Tuesday’s primary in Maryland:

Politicians who have been cowering ever since Rep. Richard Pombo’s narrow loss at the polls two years ago at the hands of environmental activists now have a new reason to cower…

…Rep. Wayne Gilchrest’s landslide loss at the hands of conservatives.

In 2006, a half dozen self-described “environmentalist” organizations poured more than $3 million into a campaign to defeat Congressman Richard Pombo, then chairman of the House Resources Committee, in his re-election bid.  They succeeded in ousting Pombo, largely through advertisements focusing on government ethics.

Since then, greens have been using the successful effort against Pombo to intimidate some of the more freedom-oriented members of Congress, warning them that they could be Pombo-ed if they are too aggressive in defending property rights and individual liberty.

As a Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen noted in a press statement, “Pombo’s defeat… serves as notice that extreme anti-environmental positions can be an extreme liability on the campaign trail.”

Lawmakers need no longer be worried about being Pombo-ed.  They need to worry about being Gilchrest-ed.

Yesterday, Wayne Gilchrest was denied the opportunity to seek his tenth term in Congress as Maryland’s First Congressional District’s Republican nominee after receiving less than one-third of the primary vote.  Endorsements he received from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the Sierra Club, the Council for a Livable World and Newt Gingrich, who touted Gilchrest’s environmental credentials, didn’t help him.

They hurt him.

Wayne Gilchrest was among the most rabid environmentalists in Congress, with a lifetime LCV score of 63 — higher than such Democrats as John Murtha (57), William Jefferson (50) and Alan Mollohan (57).

But these numbers don’t begin to tell how significant of an ally he was to the environmental movement because they only measure the votes LCV chose to score.  Here’s what they don’t tell you…

* Gilchrest introduced the “Climate Stewardship Act,” a bill that would give Washington the power to regulate 85% of the nation’s energy (one of the means of production), harming the economy and especially the disadvantaged and restricting American freedom.

* Gilchrest repeatedly voted against providing the U.S. with greater energy independence, voting against environmentally-responsible energy production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf.

* Gilchrest voted to create the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, a designation that would create de facto federal zoning along a 175-mile corridor running from Gettysburg to Charlottesville, violating ownership rights in the process.

* Gilchrest voted against the Private Property Rights Implementation Act of 2006, which would have merely given property owners their day in court when the federal government takes their property for public use.

To borrow from Defenders of Wildlife’s Rodger Schlickeisen, Gilchrest’s defeat serves as notice that extreme environmentalist positions can be an extreme liability on the campaign trail.

For more information, contact The National Center for Public Policy Research at (202)507-6398.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.