CENTREVILLE, Md. – Against a backdrop of horseshoe games and banjo music at Rep. Wayne Gilchrest’s annual bull roast Sunday, Sen. Majority Leader Robert Dole will kick off his presidential campaign in Maryland.
Dole, R-Kan., will address a crowd of about 1,000, whose $25 ticket purchases will raise campaign funds for Gilchrest, an Eastern Shore Republican and Maryland chairman of Dole’s campaign.
Gilchrest said he decided to support Dole because he’s a “pragmatic, moderate-to-conservative Republican, and I like him as a person.”
He added, “I think he’s more warm and congenial than he’s perceived to be. He’s got a good sense of humor and a good wit.”
Gilchrest said he supports Dole’s positions on the budget, economic development, welfare reform, environmental protection and foreign policy. He said Dole would be a strong leader internationally “because of his stature, his character [and] his experience.”
Other Republican contenders for the presidency include former U.N. Ambassador Alan Keyes of Maryland and Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, who named unsuccessful gubernatorial nominee Ellen Sauerbrey as his Maryland chairwoman and has the backing of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick.
“[Bartlett] has said many times that Sen. Gramm’s philosophy is closest to his own and that’s why he was one of he first 10 members of Congress to endorse” him, said Lisa Lyons Wright, Bartlett’s spokeswoman.
Gramm will campaign in Salisbury on Monday, visiting James M. Bennet High School to teach a government class to juniors and seniors.
Others running for the GOP nomination include Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania; former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander; columnist Pat Buchanan; Steve Forbes, son of publisher Malcolm Forbes; and Rep. Robert Dornan of California.
Gilchrest said coordinators in every county will begin drafting a Dole campaign plan next week. Small group discussions, fund-raising efforts and campaign literature distribution will be included in these plans.
The official presidential ballot for Maryland will not be released until the end of December, but 170 people have reported campaign activity to the Federal Election Commission. Only 22 of those candidates have raised $5,000 or more in campaign contributions. While President Clinton is among those who have begun fund raising, he has not yet named a Maryland chairman for his re- election campaign. -30-