Posted: July 28, 2004


Oliver is in the fold

The suspense is over. Wilmington Councilman “Stormin’” Norman M. Oliver, the lone holdout in an otherwise unanimous Delaware delegation, will be casting his vote Wednesday evening with everyone else for John F. Kerry.

Oliver came to Boston for the Democratic Party’s national nominating convention as a delegate for the Rev. Al Sharpton, who had earned himself a vote based on the returns of the state’s presidential primary in February.

Sharpton met Tuesday with Oliver, the man he calls “Storm,” and about two dozen other supports from Michigan, New York and Washington, D.C., at the Boston Park Plaza, the hotel that is the base for both Sharpton and the Delaware delegation.

Sharpton told the group that he had accomplished what he wanted to do – give voice at the convention to advancing the cause of African-Americans, Latinos and women – and would release his delegates to vote the way they wanted at the point he gives his speech Wednesday evening.

“It makes me feel good that my work didn’t go without notice,” Oliver said. “He was thankful to the people of Delaware, particularly the city of Wilmington, which delivered me up as a delegate.”

Delaware’s vote will be announced by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, and then her work at the convention is done. She is going home to attend Governor’s Day at the Delaware State Fair on Thursday in Harrington.

“The fair means a lot to Delaware, and as one who from the time I was a child went there and exhibited there, I know how important it is to be there with Delawareans,” Minner said.

Particularly in an election year when the governor is up herself.

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Carper goes conventional, but not Markell

U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper and state Treasurer Jack A. Markell have taken different routes to have their say in Boston.

Carper went the traditional way. He gave a speech. Markell is trying something more on the cutting edge. He became a blogger for the week.

Carper delivered pre-prime time remarks on energy to the convention, turning the $35 bill he paid to gas up his minivan into a reason to vote for Kerry.

“That $35 isn’t all that bothers me, though. I’m troubled that more than half the oil we use in America is imported, and by a trade deficit that will exceed half a trillion dollars this year. I’m troubled that a third of that deficit flows from the oil we import. Most of all, I’m troubled that some of my $35 will end up in the hands of people who’ll use it to harm our nation,” Carper said. 

“America can do better.  With John Kerry as our leader, we will.  He’ll put America on the road to energy independence once and for all.”

Markell is writing a blog, an online journal formally known as a Web log, which he is posting on the site. Markell began his accounts a little tentatively, but the Delaware delegation’s frustration with its seating at the FleetCenter made his writing more muscular, as he wrote:

“The aisle in front was clogged virtually the entire night. It made viewing the stage difficult – but into the lurch stepped the Delaware Democratic Party’s very able executive director, Nicole Majeski, who has secured better seats for Tuesday night’s session. The Delaware delegation loves Nicole and party technology chief Nina Bawa; New Yorkers, on the other hand, may feel differently, as Nicole, with the help of the Convention Staff, only found the better seats by bouncing New Yorkers to make way for Delaware.”

All right, so Markell is not exactly up to talking trash, but what do you expect? There is nothing more self-censoring than the wish for higher office.

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Stars in their eyes

One of the favorite activities at a national convention is celebrity spotting. Some of the Delawareans have gone one better, actually having close encounters.

Mary C. Davis, a Dover lobbyist who is here as a guest with the delegation, toted her book jacket from Living History to Boston to get Hillary Rodham Clinton to sign it. Davis left the book itself at home, because it was too bulky, but she brought the cover and caught up with Clinton on Thursday morning when she was speaking to her home delegation of New York.

Davis did not just get Clinton to sign. She got the senator to sign with one of Gov. Minner’s signature pens, brought along specifically for that reason. Mission accomplished.

The most-sought celebrity among the Delawareans seems to be actor Alec Baldwin.

Jill Morrison, a Platform Committee member, spied Baldwin as he was leaving the Park Plaza Hotel. She got him to pause long enough to have her picture taken with him.

Baldwin also turned up when U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. was speaking Wednesday morning to the Florida delegation. The way the story is told by Valerie Biden Owens, the senator’s sister who runs his campaigns, Baldwin was about to sit next to her when he was intercepted by Margaret Aitken, the senator’s press secretary.

There is nothing wrong with Baldwin’s eyes. He sat next to Aitken.

Aitken insisted afterwards that any attraction was purely political.

“He’s a political person who really likes Joe Biden,” Aitken said.

“He likes Margaret,” Owens said.

“He likes Joe Biden,” Aitken said.