Posted: Nov. 21, 2005


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

In a move that could have come from a civics book, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner will elevate Chief Deputy Carl C. Danberg to run the state Justice Department after Attorney General M. Jane Brady becomes a judge. 

Appointing Danberg represents a logical and safe way to sanitize the ending of what has been a thundering political deal, linking the Democratic governor and the Republican attorney general together for all time, as well as lapping at the noted Democratic name of Biden, father and son. 

Danberg, a likeable, homegrown lawyer without political taint, will spend about a year filling in for Brady, who would have been up for election in 2006 but will join the Superior Court on Dec. 7 instead. 

Minner announced the appointment Monday in a press release, saying, "[Danberg's] experience, combined with his extensive knowledge of Delaware law, makes him an excellent candidate to lead our Department of Justice.” 

If anyone was the right person in the right place at the right time, it was Danberg. He is a Democrat who was appointed chief deputy by a Republican and comes with ties to the Biden political operation. Professionally and politically, Danberg is almost too good to be true.

If this was fiction, it would not be believable. It creates an appointment on the merits and also virtually bulletproof politically, no matter what anybody thinks about what led up to it. 

The vacancy occurred because Minner was willing to make a judge out of Brady in an arrangement that freed Brady from perilous re-election prospects and gave Minner the opening to name a Democrat as a replacement. 

It also appeared to pave the way for Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, the senator’s son, to be appointed attorney general, because he was going to be the Democratic candidate in 2006, anyway. 

Instead, as the Republicans opened up an attack, saying Biden would not be considered if he were “Beau Smith,” he let it be known he was interested in being elected attorney general, but not appointed. 

For the Democrats, Danberg comes with a guarantee that he will not get in Biden’s way with thoughts of running for the post himself. Danberg used to work on Joe Biden's campaign staff.

“I am a supporter of Beau Biden. He has announced that he’s running, and I am glad to support him,” Danberg said. 

Danberg, 41, of Newark, has been Brady’s next-in-command since August 2004. Previously he was a top aide in the Corrections Department and a deputy attorney general. He is a major in the Delaware Army National Guard and a graduate of the University of Delaware and Widener University law school. 

Danberg comes from a family long involved in Democratic politics. Although he knows well that politics can take the strangest twists, he did not see this one coming. 

“This is not what I expected when I went to work for Attorney General Brady,” Danberg said.