A CANDIDATE FOR ALL PARTIES
Posted: Nov. 13, 2015
Change can be good. But change in voter registration by someone running in a six-way Democratic primary for lieutenant governor? Maybe not so good. Maybe even less good for someone who has switched parties more than once.
. . . AND HALL-LONG MAKES FIVE
Posted: Nov. 10, 2015
The Delaware General Assembly is alive with legislators who would rather be something else. Bunches of them want to run for higher office in 2016, even though recent history says anyone not named Ruth Ann Minner will have a hard time of it.
AN IMPROBABLE ODYSSEY FROM OUT-OF-STATE TO INNER SANCTUM
Posted: Nov. 6, 2015
When Tamika Montgomery-Reeves takes her oath later this month for the Court of Chancery, it will represent an historic journey that began for her as a girl in Mississippi. Naturally there had to be a Delaware connection along the way.
Posted: Nov. 4, 2015
"Delaware Notebook" is a collection of items from around the state. This one looks at Colin Bonini's situation as a Republican candidate for governor and an extraordinary pardon granted posthumously to a Delawarean who was a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
A LONG TIME COMING
Posted: Oct. 29, 2015
History was regrettably delayed but finally not denied, when Tamika Montgomery-Reeves burst through gender ceilings and racial barriers to be confirmed as a vice chancellor on Delaware's famous Court of Chancery.
THE OLD REVERSE PLAY
Posted: Oct. 26, 2015
Dennis Williams, the Democratic mayor of Wilmington, may have set a new standard in Delaware when he went back and forth last week on his presidential endorsement, but he is hardly the only one in the state to flip and flop.
Posted: Oct. 21, 2015
Call it a tiny little sound heard 'round Delaware, as Joe Biden stood in the Rose Garden for the closing act of a political life that has taken this state along for a wild ride of more than 40 years from the New Castle County Council to the vice presidency.
Posted: Oct. 19, 2015
"Delaware Notebook" is a collection of items from around the state. This one looks at the transformative nature of an appointment to the Court of Chancery and a not-so-transformative event for the state Republican Party.
NO MORE BUMPER-STICKER JUSTICE
Posted: Oct. 16, 2015
Matt Denn, now nine months into his term as the Democratic attorney general, is ready to make his mark on the criminal justice system by taking on all those tired cliches that have found their way into law, like "Three Strikes and You're Out."
EARLY LINE 2016
Updated: Oct. 13, 2015
The way candidacies get going is people hear about them on the Grapevine, and now there is the possibility of a Democratic candidate who could end the state's streak of never electing a woman to its federal delegation, namely, Lisa Blunt Rochester.
Posted: Oct. 9, 2015
"Legislative Notebook" is a collection of items involving the Delaware General Assembly. This one looks at an attempt by EMILY's list to talk Valerie Longhurst, the House's Democratic majority leader, into running for congresswoman and the fire at Legislative Hall.
AS THE STATE SENATE CHURNS
Posted: Oct. 7, 2015; updated: Oct. 8, 2015
The state Senate has been mostly a model of decorum, but it could be tested with the 2016 election coming on and three of its members, two Democrats and one Republican, looking at statewide office. Already there are ripples.
THE ERA OF BIPARTISAN POLITICS IS OVER
Posted: Oct. 1, 2015
What a perfect little swing state Delaware used to be. It had a history of bipartisan politics for decades, but not any more. Straight-ticket voting has taken over, as can be seen by tracking the vote for president and state representative. It is all to the Democrats' advantage.
JOHN CARNEY AND HIS SIX SHADOWS
Posted: Sept. 28, 2015
As the Democratic candidate for governor, John Carney was the star for the Democrats attending a Truman-Kennedy Dinner on Saturday evening in Sussex County, but he did not go there alone. Plenty of shadows came along with him.
Posted: Sept. 24, 2015
The Judicial Notebook is a collection of items about the Delaware judiciary. This one looks at who the finalists are said to be for an opening on the Court of Chancery and the governor's mammoth number of appointments to the state's three major courts.
EARLY LINE 2016
Updated: Sept. 22, 2015
The way candidacies get going is people hear about them on the Grapevine. Now that John Carney has come clean about running for governor, there has been a major shakeup in the statewide offices up for election next year.
A SPECIAL ELECTION IS NOTHING SPECIAL AS DEMOCRATS WIN
Posted: Sept. 12, 2015
The Democrats did what they were supposed to do. They took their outsized edge in voter registration and ran with it to win a special election Saturday and keep a seat on their side of the aisle in the Delaware House of Representatives.
Posted: Sept. 8, 2015
As the speculation about the 2016 election intensifies, it would probably be wrong to think Joe Biden was speaking offhand during his Labor Day trip to Pittsburgh when he reacted to a shout urging him to run for president.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR LITE
Posted: Sept. 3, 2015
Of the four races on Delaware's statewide ballot for 2016, the election for lieutenant governor has attracted the most candidates, such as they are. There are already five candidates, all Democrats so far, and the field is probably not set even yet.
FOOTNOTES IN THE SAND
Posted: Aug. 31, 2015
The crowd had eyes only for Joe Biden during a vice presidential drop-by Saturday at the Sussex County Democratic Jamboree to say his thanks in Beau's memory. It turned everyone and everything else at the annual beach event into footnotes.
THE JAMBOREE TURNS ITS LONELY EYES TO JOE AND JOHN
Posted: Aug. 27, 2015
The Sussex County Democratic Jamboree ain't what it used to be. Nor will revival come this Saturday, when the annual beach event is held at Cape Henlopen State Park without Joe Biden or John Carney, about whom speculation swirls for the 2016 election.
CONSTITUTIONAL CHECKS OUT OF BALANCE
Posted: Aug. 25, 2015
There are three branches of government. They are set up to check and balance one another. They are co-equals, but the leader of one branch here in Delaware is acting a little more co-equal than the others. Hint: He is the one in the robe.
DISTRICT IN PLAY
Posted: Aug. 20, 2015
Despite an overwhelming Democratic voter registration, the Democrats took 28 years to win back the 18th Representative District from the Republicans in 2008. That seemed to be that, but now there is a special election coming.
ELECTION? WHAT ELECTION?
Posted: Aug. 18, 2015
In the dog days of summer in an odd-numbered year, two candidates are nevertheless tasked with trying to get the voters' attention for a special election, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12, to fill a vacancy in the state House of Representatives.
"DOWN A VERY DARK PATH"
Posted: Aug. 14, 2015
Federal prosecutors are trying to put away Jeffrey Brian Cohen, a disgraced insurance executive, for a very long time after they found evidence he had a high-tech rifle and directions to the homes of Matt Denn, the attorney general, and Travis Laster, a vice chancellor.
CANDIDATES ARE BUSTING OUT ALL OVER
Posted: Aug. 11, 2015
With two more people playing footsie with running, one for lieutenant governor and one for insurance commissioner, there are now potentially four for governor, four for the congressional seat, five for lieutenant governor and four for insurance commissioner. Yikes.
NOT CHRIS COONS FOR PRESIDENT
Posted: Aug. 6, 2015
For the first Republican presidential debate, the lineup included the junior senators from Florida, Kentucky and Texas. Whenever the Democrats hold their first presidential debate, the junior senator from Delaware will not be there.
CASH AS CASH CAN
Posted: Aug. 4, 2015
There are a lot of Delawareans who are scuffling along, catch as catch can. Then there are a bunch of state legislators who figured out how to turn their office into pay dirt on the public payroll, cash as cash can, as Mike Barbieri has just demonstrated.
EARLY LINE 2016
Updated: July 30, 2015
The way candidacies get going is people hear about them on the Grapevine, although sometimes people hear about the end of a candidacy on the Grapevine, too. As it so happens, the Democrats now have one fewer candidate for lieutenant governor.
JITTERS FOR A SPECIAL ELECTION
Posted: July 14, 2015
No matter what the registration edge is, the political party of a legislator who resigns mid-term to force a special election has a right to be cautiously pessimistic. The latest to make his party jittery is Mike Barbieri, a Democrat leaving to take a six-figure state job.
Posted: July 10, 2015
"Political Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware politics. This one takes a look at the General Assembly's resident budget grump as well as the 2016 campaign bottleneck that does not appear to be ending anytime soon.
"A LOT OF MOVING PARTS"
Posted: July 8, 2015
Before the Delaware General Assembly could quit for the year as June 30th stretched into July 1st, it was in such disarray that it was going to take some wheeling and dealing -- literally -- by the governor and the legislators to get out of Dover.
WAIT A SECOND, JUNE 30TH WENT LONGER THAN USUAL
Posted: July 1, 2015
There was no way the Delaware General Assembly was going to get out of its last session in Dover without an all-nighter, not with all the legislators had left to do. It turned out to be absolutely cosmic because of a tiny time warp in the universe.
EARLY LINE 2016
Updated: June 29, 2015
The way candidacies get going is people hear about them on the Grapevine, although truth be told, the 2016 campaign season cannot really get going in earnest until John Carney gives the word about his plans for governor.
CHRIS BULLOCK MAKES HIS MOVE
Posted: June 24, 2015
All things considered, Chris Bullock decided he would rather be in Dover. Bullock, the one-term president of the New Castle County Council, is telling other Democrats he has made up his mind between running for lieutenant governor and congressman.
Posted: June 23, 2015
With a decision from Don Parsons to come off the Court of Chancery when his term is up in the fall, it means Jack Markell as the Democratic governor will appoint or reappoint that entire bench. Not that it is turning out to be anything unusual for him.
Posted: June 19, 2015; updated: June 21, 2015
The Democratic and Republican parties figured the time has come to up the limit on state campaign contributions, which have not been reset in decades, but even a bipartisan agreement is easier said than done when legislators have to get into the act.
THE BIDEN EFFECT
Posted: June 17, 2015
Delaware politics carries indelible imprints put there for more than 40 years, beginning with Joe Biden as a senator, presidential candidate and vice president and then joined by Beau Biden as attorney general and candidate for governor.
THE MORE THE JUDGES CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
Posted: June 11, 2015
The upper chambers of the Delaware judiciary have all but been fitted with a revolving door in the time since Jack Markell became the Democratic governor in 2009, but the ones coming in continue to look a lot like the ones going out.
THE POETRY OF JOE BIDEN
Posted: June 9, 2015
Poetry has always flowed through Joe Biden in both his personal and his political life in good times and bad times. He turned to it again last week as he reached for a way to memorialize his son for the ages.
THE LAST HOMECOMING
Posted: June 5, 2015
Beau Biden lay in honor Thursday in Dover at Legislative Hall, a place that has been a touchstone for him as a political figure and a National Guardsman, and so it was fitting he was brought there for his final homecoming.
Posted: May 31, 2015
The statement from the vice president's office late Saturday evening brought word that Beau Biden, who had come through wars in politics and Iraq, was felled by his own with brain cancer. And the world was too much with us.
OVER DEATH DO THEY PART
Posted: May 27, 2015
A bill to repeal the death penalty has parted Karen Peterson, the Democratic senator who is the chief sponsor, and Pete Schwartzkopf, the Democratic House speaker, but it looks like it might not stop at that. Next up: maybe highway money.
DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT A SALES TAX
Posted: May 21, 2015
Delaware could do with some new ideas about how to finance the state government, and an advisory council has taken a crack at thinking some up. It was pretty smart about it. For one thing, when it came to a sales tax, the members knew not to go there.
THE POLITICAL CAPITAL IN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Posted: May 18, 2015
The debate about repealing the death penalty in Delaware has spilled out of Legislative Hall into Democratic statewide politics for 2016. As divided as the General Assembly is, the would-be candidates are not. This should not be unexpected.
THE VOTE THAT WAS NOT THERE
Posted: May 14, 2015
Nobody should pay any attention to the recount that found the election to be a tie between Betty Lou McKenna, the Democratic recorder of deeds in Kent County, and La Mar Gunn, the Republican candidate. The Delaware Supreme Court has spoken.
Posted: May 12, 2015
Political shell games are played to keep the public from knowing what is going on. Not too many people are wise to what is happening in Delaware in presidential politics with Hillary Clinton or judicial politics with Chandlee Johnson Kuhn on the Family Court.
THE "OPEN SESAME" CAMPAIGN
Posted: May 7, 2015
Take a former Cabinet secretary. Add in appearances throughout the state from Sussex County to Wilmington. Combine in the tantalizing draw of a congressional seat. It looks like someone is trying to bake up a candidacy, although certainly not without competition.
GRIDIRON GOES WITH "TEAM ELLEN"
Posted: May 4, 2015
Party politics gave way to proxy politics at the First State Gridiron Dinner & Show, held Saturday evening at the Riverfront in Wilmington, where Ellen Kullman and DuPont were the focus of the annual roast for Delaware's political set.
THE ZEN OF KEN SIMPLER
Posted: April 30, 2015
Now that Ken Simpler has spent his first "100 Days" in office as the state treasurer, he has circulated an e-newsletter that shows Delaware got what it wanted. Something different than the one it had before.
"POTTERY BARN" POLITICS
Posted: April 28, 2015
When the actions of political folk backfire, that is "Pottery Barn" politics, so named for the expression made famous by Colin Powell. In recent days it has been happening in Delaware in Legislative Hall in Dover and in court.
RICHARD KORN GETS HIS
Posted: April 23, 2015
Sam Glasscock III, the vice chancellor in the Court of Chancery, has figured out what should be done about the money, the condo and the cemetery plot in the lawsuit filed by Richard Korn, the failed candidate, against his mother.
Posted: April 21, 2015
"Political Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware politics. This one takes a look at John Carney, the dancing congressman, and Matt Denn, the new attorney general reflecting on the completion of his first "100 Days" in office.
THE LONGEST COUNT
Posted: April 16, 2015
The 2014 race for the Kent County recorder of deeds is the election that will not die. It has now gone all the way to the Delaware Supreme Court after a recount ended in a tie between Betty Lou McKenna for the Democrats and La Mar Gunn for the Republicans.
THE ABSENTEE CANDIDATE
Posted: April 13, 2015
When the Sussex County Democrats got together Saturday evening in Bridgeville for their annual spring dinner, it was no surprise the event was a magnet for potential candidates in 2016. Who was not there meant as much as who was.
UPDATE: EARLY LINE 2016
Posted: April 10, 2015
The way candidates get going is people hear about them on the Grapevine, and candidacies are busting out all over, although not so much for the election that should be the race to watch in 2016. That would be the one for governor.
DAVE MCBRIDE TO THE RESCUE
Posted: April 8, 2015
The bill for repealing the death penalty would not have made it through the state Senate last week if Dave McBride, the Democratic majority leader, did not vote for it. His background did not make him an obvious candidate to do it.
FIRST TIME AS CONSCIENCE, SECOND AS POLITICS
Posted: April 3, 2015
Legislative Hall in Dover has its own rhythms, as it showed again Thursday when a bill that would repeal the death penalty in Delaware came up for debate for the second time in the state Senate with a repeat result.
Posted: April 1, 2015
Reader beware. Strange tales can be told on a day like today. Here is one about Tom Carper, the Democratic senior senator who calls himself a recovering governor. Maybe he can find a loophole in Delaware's constitution. . . . .
DARK OF JUSTICE
Posted: March 27, 2015
Darkness has settled over Dana Long and the case of the disappearing Republican political signs, which he took in the last days of the 2014 re-election campaign of his wife Bethany Hall-Long, the Democratic state senator, and was caught on tape.
Posted: March 24, 2015
A study of congressional roll calls in 2014 shows that the Delaware delegation of Tom Carper and Chris Coons, the Democratic senators, and John Carney, the Democratic representative, could not break with their party even if they tried.
LONG TIME PASSING
Posted: March 19, 2015
Delaware past eerily met Delaware present in Legislative Hall in Dover, as the state Senate took confirmation votes on Wednesday for a series of judicial nominations, most notably the one for C.J. Seitz to be a justice on the state Supreme Court.
A WAY TO THE BENCH GOES THROUGH LEGISLATIVE HALL
Posted: March 3, 2015
Jeff Clark would be on his way to the judicial branch, if the state Senate confirms him for a judgeship on the Superior Court, but his family history is rooted in the legislative branch with the Delaware General Assembly in Legislative Hall.
Posted: Feb. 26, 2015
Joe Biden did himself in again, this time at the swearing-in for the new defense secretary, as he found himself called out for crossing into halt-who-goes-there territory with the secretary's wife. Naturally one prime deconstructionist was Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show."
MARKELL GOES FIVE-FOR-FIVE
Posted: Feb. 24, 2015
Jack Markell's extreme makeover of the Delaware Supreme Court continued with his appointment of C.J. Seitz, a corporate lawyer with judicial bloodlines. It was the fifth nomination to the court for Markell, the Democratic governor, and there are not many governors who have filled the state's entire top bench.
THE CURIOUS SCALES OF JUSTICE
Posted: Feb. 20, 2015
Within the Delaware judiciary, there is a curious balance that is reflected by the occupants of its top leadership, namely, Leo Strine Jr. on the Supreme Court, Andy Bouchard on the Court of Chancery and Jan Jurden on the Superior Court.
Posted: Feb. 17, 2015
"Judicial Notebook" is a collection of items about the Delaware court system. This one takes a look at Jan Jurden's investiture as the Superior Court's president judge and the candidates who are said to be under consideration for a Kent County seat on the Superior Court.
FOR WHOM THE COURT BELL DID NOT TOLL
Posted: Feb. 13, 2015
Jack Markell, the Democratic governor, is about to make someone a justice on the Delaware Supreme Court. It is an appointment that might have gotten as much attention for who it will not be than for whoever it turns out to be.
Posted: Feb. 5, 2015
Jack Markell cannot be running for governor again. John Carney can be running for congressman again. Funny, then why are so many people thinking about going for the congressional seat in 2016? This is all about you-know-who.
EVERYBODY'S OWN FACTS
Posted: Feb. 3, 2015
Delaware was a contradiction in terms after what Jack Markell, the Democratic governor, said in the annual State of the State and budget remarks he delivered last month in Dover and what the Republicans said in response.
THE SORCERER'S AMENDMENT
Posted: Jan. 30, 2015
The campaign finance system is such a morass, there is a move in the Delaware General Assembly to call for dealing with it in a federal constitutional convention. File this one under be-careful-what-you-wish-for, because it could be like "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."
THE JUDGES ARE COMING! THE JUDGES ARE COMING!
Posted: Jan. 27, 2015
After a flurry of new judgeships, including a chief justice, a chancellor and a president judge, during 2014, the pace continues into the new year, and so does the dread of special sessions that can be needed to confirm them.
Posted: Jan. 15, 2015
"Political Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware politics. This one takes a look at a Republican event with pretentions and the enduring heart of John Brady, the Democratic clerk of the peace in Sussex County.
WORST TURNOUT EVER
Posted: Jan. 20, 2015
When Delaware voters shunned the polls in droves on Election Day 2014, it was a political gift for the Republicans. A new report from the election commissioner's office shows how the worst turnout ever, since record-keeping began, was worse for the Democrats.
LEGISLATIVE VITAL STATISTICS
Posted: Jan. 15, 2015
The new term for the Delaware General Assembly brought 62 legislators to Legislative Hall in Dover this week. They come from two parties, three counties and one city, and four different generations. Here are their legislative vital statistics.
A SINISTER ELECTION CONNECTION
Posted: Jan. 13, 2015
When Matt Denn and Ted Kittila were running to be Delaware's next attorney general, they had more in common than their candidacies for the same office. It involved a murderous plot federal prosecutors said was spinning out in Maryland.
Posted: Jan. 7, 2015
As Matt Denn cut short his tenure as the lieutenant governor to be sworn in as the Democratic attorney general, his third statewide office, where else should Delaware's chief legal officer take his oath than Wilmington, also known these days as "Murder Town USA?"
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Posted: Jan. 5, 2015
The New Year brings change to Delaware's political lineup, so here are some ways and means to help Tom Carper, Jack Markell, John Carney, Ken Simpler and others as they go forward into the newly defined reality of 2015.
ROLL CALL: 19-2
Posted: Dec. 19, 2014
Judges, ex-judges, lawyers and courthouse staffers rallied around in an extraordinary showing to undo the controversy threatening Jan Jurden's nomination to be the president judge of the Delaware Superior Court and see her confirmed by the state Senate by 19-2.
ONE REDEEMING VOTE
Posted: Dec. 17, 2014
The state Senate's vote to confirm Jan Jurden as the president judge of the Superior Court was a resounding repudiation of the ugliness and misinformation that sprang from a sentence she handed out in a child sex-abuse case. The confirmation was also historic.
THE CURSE OF THE MID-TERMS
Posted: Dec. 11, 2014
As goes the country, so went Delaware in the 2014 mid-term election, when the president's party paid the price and lost congressional seats in Washington and legislative seats in Dover. Not that Barack Obama and the Democrats could not have seen it coming.
'TIS THE SEASON
Posted: Dec. 9, 2014
'Tis the season for speculation in the Delaware General Assembly about which legislators could be endangered in 2016, which legislators could think about retiring, and which legislators are looking in the mirror and seeing a future statewide officeholder.
A SIMPLER EXPLANATION
Posted: Dec. 4, 2014
There are political explanations to account for Ken Simpler's breakthrough win last month in the treasurer's race that made him the first new Republican elected statewide since 1994, but Pete Schwartzkopf, the House speaker, can make it simpler.
JURDEN JOINS THE LIST FOR JUDICIAL PROMOTIONS
Posted: Dec. 2, 2014
There have been so many high-ranking judicial openings, the governor can hardly make promotions fast enough. His latest is a nomination for Jan Jurden as the Superior Court president judge, although it will take a complicated Senate session to get her there.
GOTTA GETTA GOVERNOR
Posted: Nov. 19, 2014
Nothing gets Delaware's political class going like an open election for governor, as it will be in 2016 when Jack Markell cannot run for a third term as the Democratic governor. Delaware Grapevine charts the Democratic and Republican fields.
STUPID POLITICAL TRICKS
Posted: Nov. 30, 2014
The 2014 campaign season had more than its share of candidates suffering self-inflicted wounds. Here is a review of the offerings from a smorgasbord of bloopers and blunders that deserve to be immortalized in Delaware politics.
IN & OUT IN DOVER
Posted: Nov. 12, 2014
The turnover in the Delaware General Assembly puts a dent in the Democratic majority and brings in six new members, two because legislators lost in the general election, two because legislators lost in the primary election, and two because legislators did not run.
Posted: Nov. 10, 2014
"Judicial Notebook" is a collection of items about the Delaware judiciary. This one looks at the names in the running for Superior Court president judge and a new Supreme Court retirement, all of it colored by the continuing revenge of an ex-justice.
Posted: Nov. 6, 2014
On Thursday after the election in Delaware, the center of the political world is Georgetown in Sussex County, where the rituals of Return Day mark the transition from campaigning to peacemaking with a parade of winners and losers together, and the political calendar turns.
AN ELECTION OF STEPCHILDREN
Posted: Nov. 4, 2014
Election Day failed to give clear satisfaction to either the Democrats or the Republicans here in Delaware, where the voters set a record for the lowest turnout since the state set up a registration system. Call it an election of stepchildren.
THOU SHALT NOT STEAL
Posted: Oct. 29, 2014; updated: Oct. 30, 2014
Delaware politics was in an uproar after two Republican operatives set up a stakeout to try to find out who was stealing their signs and caught it on video. It led to an investigation by the Middletown police into the husband of Bethany Hall-Long, a Democratic state senator.
Posted: Oct. 27, 2014
Link Halloween with Election Day, set it in the city, and what emerges is a political gathering that has everything to do with getting the Democratic vote out, especially for Margaret Rose Henry and some other state legislators, and nothing to do with pumpkins in flight.
HEY, BIG SPENDERS
Posted: Oct. 23, 2014; updated: Oct. 27, 2014
From Chris Coons with the most to Rose Izzo with the least, the statewide candidates have been pulling in campaign contributions. John Carney has not only been taking in money, but very publicly giving it away. As for Tom Wagner, what is he thinking?
Posted: Oct. 21, 2014
With Election Day now two weeks away, the Delaware Democrats began their countdown Monday evening with their annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. It was not only a countdown but a count-up, that is, how many of their voters can they get to the polls?
THE CAUSE ENDURES
Posted: Oct. 15, 2014
Jack Markell is the newest member of Delaware's leadership class to draw one of the hardest assignments in state politics. The Democratic governor was invited to give a speech that was worthy of Jim Soles, the late political science professor.
TALES OUT OF SCHOOL
Posted: Oct. 13, 2014
Ken Simpler, the Republican candidate for treasurer, had a run-in with the legal system when he was a student at Princeton. Not that he is the first politician to be asked about what he did while he was still young enough to be in school.
Posted: Oct. 9, 2014
The progression of Jim Vaughn Jr. from Kent County lawyer to Superior Court judge to president judge to his confirmation Wednesday as a Supreme Court justice would never have started but for another judge. Hint: He sits on the Delaware Supreme Court, too.
TWO FOR THE MONEY
Posted: Oct. 6, 2014
Before either of the candidates for state treasurer can get around to running the state's accounts, they have to focus on their own campaign accounts, and so they are, Sean Barney for the Democrats and Ken Simpler for the Republicans.
CONSIDER THE SENATE
Posted: Oct. 2, 2014
The state Senate will make a brief return to Dover next week to consider a short list of nominations, Jim Vaughn Jr. for the Supreme Court among them. This special session comes a month before the election when the voters will be considering the Senate.
A BIDEN AND SUSSEX, TOGETHER AGAIN
Posted: Sept. 29, 2014
There is no place like Sussex County for the Biden family, and it worked to the advantage of the Sussex Women's Democratic Club and five Democratic women who are candidates trying to buck the odds by running against Republican officeholders in the county.
SURPRISE! VAUGHN VAULTS TOWARD THE SUPREME COURT
Posted: Sept. 25, 2014
Out of four candidates whom Jack Markell, the Democratic governor, was supposed to be considering for a new Supreme Court justice, it was not necessarily expected to be Jim Vaughn Jr., the Superior Court president judge, who would emerge. Yet here he is.
DOUBLE THE MONEY FOR SEAN BARNEY
Posted: Sept. 23, 2014
Candidates who win primary elections can collect contributions from the same people all over again for the general election. What about Sean Barney, who had the Democratic primary for treasurer disappear with only 12 days to go?
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Posted: Sept. 15, 2014
The Delaware Republicans finally got around to holding a convention Saturday in Dover to endorse their statewide slate, after Primary Day made it a done deal. It was still early enough to bash away at the Democrats, though.
WHOSE NAME WILL REIGN SUPREME?
Posted: Sept. 11, 2014
The machinations are under way for a new Supreme Court justice to replace Carolyn Berger, whose last day was Sept. 1, with a list of names, some rather familiar, going to the governor this week to be considered for the nomination.
Posted: Sept. 9, 2014
A yawner of a Primary Day failed to bring out the voters, but the ones who did come out were establishment types who delivered the Republican race for treasurer to Ken Simpler and the Democratic race for auditor to Brenda Mayrack. They also ousted a legislator or two.
SHAGGY DOG POLITICS
Posted: Sept. 5, 2014
In a strange twist, a strategy by the Delaware Republicans to try to appeal to more African-American voters could wind up having dire consequences for Republican candidates in two races that are the party's best hope for winning statewide office.
THE LAST BAMBOOZLE
Posted: Aug. 29, 2014
Until the bitter end, Chip Flowers fostered a political guessing game about whether he would try to withdraw his withdrawal from the Democratic primary for state treasurer and foil Sean Barney's nomination-by-default.
PRIMARIES TO WATCH
Posted: Aug. 26, 2014
Delaware Grapevine charts the primaries to watch when the Democrats and the Republicans go to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 9, to vote for the nominees who will fill out the ballot for Election Day, coming two months later on Nov. 4.
CHIP FLOWERS IS NOT GOING QUIETLY
Posted: Aug. 21, 2014
Not that anyone should have expected anything else, but Chip Flowers is causing considerable consternation among state election officials with a long good-bye from the Democratic primary for state treasurer.
OUR LONG DELAWARE NIGHTMARE IS OVER
Posted: Aug. 18, 2014; updated: Sept. 3, 2014
Chip Flowers, the Democratic state treasurer, found a personal way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's departure from the presidency by deciding to take himself out of Delaware politics.
Posted: Aug. 12, 2014
A mass mailing into the 10th Representative District in Brandywine Hundred from Dennis Williams, the three-term Democrat there, was not intended to raise a ruckus, but it certainly turned out that way.
THE RISE OF THE REPUBLICAN MILLENNIALS?
Posted: Aug. 7, 2014
When the going gets tough, why not have a party? A Republican Millennial has decided a gala at Dover Downs next week is the way to bring on his generation as a means of getting the Delaware Republicans out of the dumps.
SOMETHING FISHY THIS WAY COMES
Posted: Aug. 4, 2014
Inquiring minds wanted to know what was really going on, when Becky Walker waited until two days after the candidates' filing deadline to declare she would not be running for a third term as a Democratic state representative.
FROM TRIALS OF PORN TO KORN v. KORN
Posted: July 16, 2014
Not a week after Richard Korn, the onetime serial candidate, was acquitted of kiddie porn charges, he was back in court to represent himself in the lawsuit he filed to sue his own mother for money after she cut him off.
NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS
Posted: July 8, 2014
When the candidates' filing deadline came and went on Tuesday at noon, there was nothing to suggest there would be any change in the political fortunes of the Democrats and the Republicans here in Delaware in the 2014 election.
WHEN JUNE TURNS INTO JULY
Posted: July 1, 2014
Dover kicks up its heels a little bit when the Delaware General Assembly heads into its last session of the year in Legislative Hall, and the political set cannot resist stopping by to see for itself what is going on.
THE POLITICAL HARDBALL BEHIND AN ELECTION BILL
Posted: June 27, 2014
The reason there is election legislation awaiting the governor's signature is not necessarily evident from reading the bill. It requires a look at the politics behind it, particularly what has been going on in Kent County.
FLIPPING THE SUPREMES
Posted: June 26, 2014
The Delaware Supreme Court got itself a new justice when the state Senate voted on Wednesday to confirm Karen Valihura, but it nevertheless left the court's membership and political balance in a state of flux.
Posted: June 19, 2014
If there was a fable for this campaign season, it would not be "The Tortoise and The Hare," but "The Tortoise and The Tortoise." All of the statewide races in 2014, from U.S. senator through state auditor, are exhibiting only occasional flashes of life.
Posted: June 17, 2014
No way should all sorts of strange stuff be happening, like a bridge threatening to fall down, a Supreme Court justice sending a message and making sure people get it, and a dustup over military service in the Democratic primary for state treasurer.
THE DOVER DOZEN
Posted: June 12, 2014
With the candidates' filing deadline less than a month away, here are the top twelve races to date for the Delaware General Assembly in Dover. Not surprisingly, a lot of them involve legislators who scratched out close elections two years ago.
IS THE SUPREME COURT BURNING?
Posted: June 9, 2014
Carolyn Berger, the only woman up until now to sit as a Supreme Court justice, is sending shock waves with an untimely retirement, just after Leo Strine Jr. arrived as the new chief justice and Karen Valihura was nominated for the state's highest bench.
Posted: June 5, 2014
"Political Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware politics. This one looks at the state Senate's confirmation vote on Ferris Wharton for a judgeship and Christine O'Donnell's mischievous e-mail that had people doing a double-take.
A SUPREME SELECTION
Posted: June 2, 2014
Four candidates have been recommended to Jack Markell, the Democratic governor, by his Judicial Nominating Commission for a Supreme Court opening created by the upcoming retirement of Jack Jacobs. They are a diverse lot.
Posted: May 21, 2014
"Delaware Notebook" is a collection of items about the state and its politics. This one looks at the only Republican willing to be a first-time statewide candidate and a judicial appointment that once again evokes the murder trial of Tom Capano.
Updated: May 19, 2014
When the Democrats sound like the Republicans, and the Republicans sound like the Democrats, it can make for an odd debate in Legislative Hall with the question of how to replace a lieutenant governor at stake.
Posted: May 14, 2014
"Political Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware politics. This one looks at the campaign dynamics for Brenda Mayrack, a Democratic candidate for auditor, and at the passing of Bill Wood, a lobbyist who represented more than his clients.
COLM CONNOLLY SAYS NO
Posted: May 7, 2014
The Republicans lost their first choice for attorney general when Colm Connolly, the former prosecutor, took himself out. For now, it leaves only Matt Denn, the lieutenant governor, who jumped in on the Democratic side when Beau Biden jumped out.
A BAD-ASS GRIDIRON
Posted: May 5, 2014
Jack Markell stole the show when he transformed himself from the gentleman governor into Bad-Ass Jack, complete with black leather jacket, at the First State Gridiron Dinner & Show, the annual political roast, held Saturday night at the Wilmington Riverfront.
LEGISLATIVE HALL NOTEBOOK
Posted: May 1, 2014
"Legislative Hall Notebook" is a collection of items about what is going on in state government with the Delaware General Assembly in Dover. This one takes a look at some past legislators who had their portraits painted and a future judge.
IF THERE IS NO LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, DOES IT MAKE A SOUND?
Posted: April 29, 2014
If Matt Denn is elected as the Democratic attorney general, his current office of lieutenant governor would be left vacant for two years, because there is no constitutional way to replace him. Guess what? It was supposed to be that way.
Posted: April 24, 2014
"Political Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware politics. This one looks at the way a special session for the state Senate is being avoided and the difference between what the Democrats and the Republicans are showing in the congressional races.
BEAU BIDEN OUT, MATT DENN IN
Posted: April 21, 2014
Matt Denn, the lieutenant governor, pulled a fast one on himself by filing first thing Monday as a Democratic candidate for attorney general in place of Beau Biden, whose withdrawal late last week is creating messy political and constitutional fallout.
BEAU BIDEN STRIKES AGAIN
Posted: April 17, 2014
When Beau Biden makes up his mind, it always seems to be a bolt that blows up Delaware politics, none more than his decision to bypass the 2014 election, when he was expected to run for a third term as the Democratic attorney general, and go for governor in 2016.
REPUBLICAN RELIEF RUNS UP AGAINST REGISTRATION
Posted: April 15, 2014
The Republicans helped their own cause for the 2014 election by sidestepping the possibility of a primary for treasurer, but no matter what they do, the voter registration numbers are stacked against them and getting worse.
SPEED-VOTING FOR CHANCELLOR
Posted: April 10, 2014
The state Senate zipped through the nomination of Andy Bouchard almost as fast as it would vote for a resolution supporting motherhood and apple pie. Bouchard will be the new chancellor in charge of Delaware's prestigious Court of Chancery.
"I HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THIS"
Posted: April 8, 2014
What Judge Jan Jurden said when she sentenced Robert H. Richards IV, the defendant with the privileged background, in a sex abuse case involving his daughter is not necessarily what people have been led to think she said. A court transcript shows it.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE FOLLIES
Posted: April 4, 2014
Through the years, money has come into politics in many different ways. It has bought votes. It has sluiced through campaign finance laws. It had another makeover this week from the U.S. Supreme Court and the Delaware General Assembly.
MEET THE MONEY CANDIDATES
Posted: April 2, 2014
The Democrats had a forum to hear from the candidates running in their primaries for treasurer and auditor. Funny how all of the candidates had something to say about Chip Flowers, the Democratic treasurer who have given people a lot to talk about.
THE BONINI BILL
Posted: March 27, 2014
Colin Bonini has been wondering whether or should run for re-election as a Republican state senator or for treasurer, as he did in 2010, or possibly for both? His fellow legislators have passed a bill making his decision-making even harder.
LEGISLATIVE EARLY LINE 2014
Posted: March 25, 2014
Candidates who are serious about taking on sitting legislators in 2014 are getting their campaigns together, either for Primary Day on Sept. 9 or Election Day on Nov. 4. Here are some of the races rounding into action.
THE NEXT CHANCELLOR IS NO SURPRISE
Posted: March 20, 2014
Andy Bouchard looks like he knew what he was doing when he stepped down as the chair of the Judicial Nominating Commission, which screens applications for judgeships for the governor, to become an applicant himself to lead the Court of Chancery.
POLITICS, PROCRASTINATION AND PRISON? OH MY!
Posted: March 18, 2014
Politicians that neglected to file their campaign finance reports by last month are about to find out the hard way about a new law. Believe it or not, it subjects them to jail time and fines. The cost is already at $900 and counting.
Posted: March 13, 2014
"Legislative Notebook" is a collection of items about the Delaware General Assembly. This one looks at legislators who look like they voted $50-a-day fines on themselves and also at a standout Republican vote.
A MAN FOR ALL CONTINENTS
Posted: March 10, 2014
Chris Coons, the Democratic senator, landed the best keynote speaker he could for a conference about Africa he hosted Monday in Wilmington. He brought in Bill Clinton, a man who seems at home everywhere.
THE PRIMARIES, THEY ARE A-COMIN'
Posted: March 7, 2014
Primaries are becoming a way of life in Delaware politics. With Primary Day set for Tuesday, Sept. 9, there are some statewide and legislative match-ups that are already emerging as contests that bear watching.
AND THEN THERE WERE TWO
Posted: March 5, 2014
Today is the deadline for applying to be the next chancellor, now that Leo Strine Jr. has been elevated to chief justice, and in defiance of conventional wisdom, someone not named Andy Bouchard is also said to come forward.
LEO STRINE AND THE LEFTOVER JUSTICES
Posted: Feb. 28, 2014
Delaware got its eighth chief justice of the modern era of the Supreme Court when Leo Strine Jr. took his oath Friday, amid a lot of speculation about how someone as singularly forceful as he is will fit into a collaborative bench.
WHO ELSE BUT CHRIS COONS?
Posted: Feb. 25, 2014
Not for the first time, something out of the ordinary happened when Chris Coons took a turn presiding over the Senate earlier this month. In this case, the Democrats and the Republicans conspired to break a filibuster over the debt ceiling with a "silent vote."
DOLLARS FOR DEMOCRATS
Posted: Feb. 21, 2014
The Democrats made a push to put the top statewide races in Delaware farther out of reach for the Republicans, as a new round of campaign finance reports show. For the rest of the statewide ballot, it is more of a scramble.
THE MOST INTERESTING VOTE IN LEGISLATIVE HALL
Posted: Feb. 18, 2014
Before the Delaware General Assembly left Dover last month for a six-week break, there was a strange roll call that left people wondering what was going on with the House of Representatives and the speaker.
AUDITOR RACE ALERT
Posted: Feb. 13, 2014
When Tom Wagner, the Republican state auditor who is up for election, filed his campaign finance report for 2013, it was cause for setting off alarm bells, although it appears to have set them off for the wrong campaign.
BIG BUCKS FOR BEAU
Posted: Feb. 11, 2014
Beau Biden has delivered up campaign finance reports that are bound to rekindle the speculation that he has more on his mind than running for a third term as the Democratic attorney general in 2014, particularly without an opponent in sight.
LONG TIME PASSING
Posted: Feb. 6, 2014
The time has come for farewells for one of the most remarkable class of legislators ever to enter public life. When they came along, they were called babies. They had to mature fast, and they sure did.
GANGWAY FOR STRINE
Posted: Jan. 30, 2014
When Leo Strine Jr. was confirmed by the Senate as the next chief justice, it immediately became clear the Delaware Supreme Court and the entire state court system will not be fading into any kind of sleepy third branch of government.
WE THE PARTY
Posted: Jan. 28, 2014
The Delaware Republicans were so badly burned by the infighting around the senatorial primary between Mike Castle and Christine O'Donnell, they are taking a drastic step four years later to prevent any similar recurrences.
THE STATE OF THE GOVERNOR
Posted: Jan. 24, 2014
The state Constitution requires the governor to give a State of the State speech every year. It seems like as good a time as any to take a glance at the state of the governor, as well, as Jack Markell begins his sixth year as Delaware's Democratic chief executive.
Posted: Jan. 21, 2014
What happens when someone, who went to war with the Marines in between working for Jack Markell in the Democratic governor's office and Tom Carper in the Democratic senator's office, sets his sights on running in a primary for treasurer?
Posted: Jan. 16, 2014
The usual political alliances are being scrambled as a result of an independent counsel's report. It was on display when Norman Veasey, the former chief justice responsible for the report, addressed a task force on election law.
THE GENERATIONS, THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'
Posted: Jan. 13, 2014
The nomination of Leo Strine Jr. is bringing youth, relatively speaking, and generational change to the office of chief justice. As a matter of fact, there is generational change rolling all through politics and government in Delaware.
THE CORPORATE-LEGAL COMPLEX
Posted: Jan. 9, 2014
With the nomination of Leo Strine Jr. as the next chief justice, Delaware renews its allegiance to its franchise of corporate law, although Strine being Strine, the state might also have to cross its fingers that all goes well.
NOT WITH A BANG BUT A WHIMPER
Posted: Jan. 7, 2014
Bring in a former chief justice of Delaware. Take two years. Spend more than a million dollars in billable hours. So what exactly did the state get for that kind of an effort into an investigation of money and politics?
WHAT TO RESOLVE FOR 2014?
Posted: Jan. 3, 2014
A New Year is full of resolutions, and so is politics. Put them together, and here is what Delaware can look forward to, as it goes into 2014 with much to resolve about Chip Flowers, the General Assembly and the attorney general's race, among other things.
2013: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Posted: Dec. 17, 2013
As 2013 winds down, it is time to recall what a political feast it was. Here is the year in food, as experienced by a host of political figures like Chip Flowers, Richard Korn, David Grimaldi and others. Bon appetit.
THE AGONY OF THE MID-TERMS
Posted: Dec. 12, 2013
The mid-term elections customarily put not just the congressional seats held by the president's party at risk, but also the legislative seats here in Delaware. At least, they used to, for the better part of half a century, until Christine O'Donnell came along.
DOWN ON THE BALLOT
Posted: Dec. 9, 2013
These days politics is taking a pass on Delaware, until it gets way down on the ballot. Way, way down on the ballot, it got quite lively for two New Castle County councilwomen, one from each party.
A DATE WHICH WILL LIVE IN DELAWARE
Posted: Dec. 5, 2013
As any Delawarean knows, December the 7th is the date for both Delaware Day and Pearl Harbor Day, but what other dates on the state's calendar bring about other famous convergences, some regularly and some not?
CHIEF AMONG THEM
Posted: Dec. 3, 2013
Somewhere among a list of finalists, there is a new chief justice ready to be named by Jack Markell, the Democratic governor, now that the Judicial Nominating Commission has looked the four candidates over.
GUESS WHAT? A REAL RACE FOR AUDITOR
Posted: Nov. 27, 2013
The race for auditor has been the race that Delaware forgot. Tom Wagner has kept himself in office as the Republican auditor against Democratic candidates ranging from forgettable to notorious, but it looks he is getting a serious challenge in 2014.
BEING TREASURER IS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU'RE SORRY
Posted: Nov. 22, 2013
Chip Flowers, the state treasurer, is still on the travel circuit, but this time he is making the rounds of party meetings with his fellow Delaware Democrats, just to make sure they know he is running for re-election and not about to back away.
MORE FLAK FOR CHIP FLOWERS
Posted: Nov. 19, 2013
A standoff between Chip Flowers, the Democratic state treasurer, and a board that oversees the state's investments is going the board's way and giving Flowers a new set of political woes as he prepares to run for re-election next year.
LOOKING FOR A LEAD FOR THE SUPREMES
Posted: Nov. 14, 2013
There are untold ways to decide who should be Delaware's next chief justice, once Myron Steele retires at the end of the month, but what is already clear is that a friendly Senate awaits, no matter which of the four applicants the governor nominates for confirmation.
Posted: Nov. 11, 2013
Double Down, the new book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann on the 2012 presidential election, veers off the campaign trail long enough to pose a curious description of Beau Biden's stroke in 2010.
LOOKING A GIFT DEMOCRATIC DONKEY IN THE MOUTH
Posted: Nov. 7, 2013
The one-party system the Democrats have going on here in Delaware is doing what one-party systems do best, trying to self-destruct, but it will not matter unless the Republicans can do something about it.
Posted: Nov. 5, 2013
The state Senate is on track in the next election a year from now to do what it does best. Reduplicate itself. This applies to both the 40-year-old Democratic majority and the overall membership in the upper chamber of the Delaware General Assembly.
NO BUMS HERE
Posted: Oct. 31, 2013
Delaware voters might want to throw the bums out of office, if only they could find some. A poll taken for the University of Delaware shows a general regard for the state's most prominent officeholders, despite a general disregard for government.
"CRUZ"-ING FOR A BRUISING
Posted: Oct. 29, 2013
The frustration from the 16-day government shutdown had the Delaware Democrats venting Monday at their annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner about the famous Tea Party senator with a Delaware connection.
SO LONG TO THE "SALUTE"
Posted: Oct. 23, 2013
The Delaware Republicans have waved good-bye to the governorship, to membership in the congressional delegation, to power in the General Assembly, and now they are saying so long to the "Salute at Vicmead," their premier event since the 1980s.
THE NUMBERS GAP
Posted: Oct. 10, 2013
Nothing that plans to haunt Halloween can be a forbidding as the numbers gap between the Democratic and Republican voters on the Delaware registration rolls. The Democrats are on their way to more than doubling their advantage from 2004 to 2014.
WHEN DELAWARE'S GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN
Posted: Oct. 8, 2013
Like the federal government, state governments can shut down. Delaware had its own budget crisis that was so traumatic, it has never happened again. This is the story of the Great Budget Veto and Override of 1977.
TOP TEN EFFECTS OF THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IN DELAWARE
Posted: Oct. 2, 2013
If the federal government is going to be shut down by the Congress for silly reasons, there might as well be a Top Ten list for the silly ways Delawareans are going to experience it. Delaware Grapevine is here to provide one.
FROM BEAU, NOT A PEEP
Posted: Sept. 30, 2013
A campaign fund-raiser for Beau Biden brought a sight of him to high-dollar contributors attending the event, hosted Saturday by his vice-presidential father at home in Greenville, but no new health information.
STILL VOTING LIKE IT'S 1999
Posted: Sept. 26, 2013
The last major modernization of Delaware elections was the introduction of the electronic voting machines in 1996, but change looks to be on the way because of the work of a new task force set up by the General Assembly.
INCOMING! THE JOCKEYING FOR CHIEF JUSTICE
Posted: Sept. 19, 2013
The choice of a new chief justice has been known to lead to the legal version of palace intrigue, and there is no reason to think it will be different this time, as Myron Steele retires in about two months and the governor prepares to find a replacement.
SEPT. 17: 226 YEARS AND COUNTING
Posted: Sept. 17, 2013
At an event designed for thinking about the Constitution and Jim Soles, the late political science professor, it was Chris Coons, the Democratic senator, who was asked to give the Soles Lecture on the Constitution and Citizenship at the University of Delaware.
RICHARD KORN'S LEGAL BOOMERANG
Posted: Sept. 13, 2013
Richard Korn, the fallen political candidate, decided to sue his own mother, only to have the case come back and burden him as he contests criminal charges of dealing in kiddie porn. He asked for a judicial lifeline, anyway.
BETTER KNOW A SUPREME COURT
Posted: Sept. 10, 2013
The Delaware Supreme Court as people know it soon could be history. Not only has Myron Steele decided to retire as the chief justice, but all four justices have been around long enough to follow him out whenever they want.
CHIEF JUSTICE STEELE TO RETIRE
Posted: Sept. 6, 2013
After 25 years on the bench, Myron Steele has notified the governor he intends to step down as chief justice on Nov. 30. Although Steele's term is not up until 2016, he says it is time for him to take his leave.
BREAKFAST WITH BEAU
Posted: Sept. 5, 2013
There was a semi-public sighting of Beau Biden, about two weeks after he returned from a still-mysterious medical treatment in Houston, for a breakfast meeting to discuss fund-raising for his re-election campaign for attorney general.
THE BIG FIX
Posted: Sept. 4, 2013
No matter how many times the Delaware election law has been patched, it still allows oddities like one candidate running for more than one office. Now there is going to be a serious attempt at an extreme makeover.
Posted: Aug. 29, 2013
"Political Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware politics. This one looks at Chris Coons' institutional evolution as a senator and John Carney's up-close-and-personal focus on college education as a congressman.
Posted: Aug. 26, 2013
At the Sussex County Democratic Beach Jamboree, held annually at Cape Henlopen State Park, it is always important to notice who is there and who is not there and what it means for the future of Delaware politics.
Posted: Aug. 22, 2013
Beau Biden returned to Delaware after four days in Houston, but the medical reasons that were serious enough to send him there and have his father-the-vice-president cancel his schedule to go along are still unknown.
"THE IRISHNESS OF LIFE"
Posted: Aug. 20, 2013
For the second time in three years, there has been a public announcement from the Attorney General's Office about medical complications for Beau Biden, who is part of a family that has already been through much too much.
Posted: Aug. 16, 2013
Joe Biden's past, present and political future were on full display in a profile last month in GQ magazine, which also unknowingly let readers in on a private family matter involving the wife and daughter who died from a car accident.
ONLY BEAU KNOWS
Posted: Aug. 14, 2013
Beau Biden looks like he has more in mind than getting re-elected as attorney general, but his approach to talking about it is nothing like his father's. Joe Biden wears everything on his sleeve, while Beau Biden would rather keep something up his sleeve.
THE FATE OF THE DEATH PENALTY BILL
Posted: Aug. 9, 2013
The legislative angst over a bill that would repeal the death penalty has not let up and only figures to increase when the Delaware General Assembly returns next year. The bill, which was passed by the Senate, is stuck in committee in the House of Representatives.
AN OPEN AND SHUT DEBATE
Posted: Aug. 6, 2013
When the legislature redistricts itself, should the map making be out in the open or shut away from the public eye? The issue has been opened by the president pro tem of the Senate but could be shut by the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Posted: July 16, 2013
Never mind all the angst about the filibuster in the U.S. Senate or all the instant celebrity from the filibuster for a Texas state senator in her running shoes. The filibuster has no staying power here in Delaware.
Posted: July 11, 2013
"Political Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware politics. This one looks at what happens when the weight of politics and the weight of pounds build up on a state senator and the passing of a Kent County stalwart.
Posted: July 9, 2013
The conclusion of the Delaware General Assembly's first session brought peril to Chip Flowers, the Democratic treasurer. In an usual display of bipartisanship, it did the same for Colin Bonini, the Republican state senator who might run against him.
THE GREAT PRETEND
Posted: July 1, 2013
On the last night of the 2013 legislative session in Dover, the Democrats and the Republicans went their separate ways in the Delaware General Assembly, which once thought of itself as a big bipartisan collaboration.
NO EASY WAY
Posted: June 27, 2013
The Republicans in the state House of Representatives have to start somewhere if they want to get out of the minority, so they started with money. They held a fund-raiser, but as successful as it was, it also served to show the plight they are in.
THE REPUBLICAN SKY IS FALLING! THE REPUBLICAN SKY IS FALLING!
Posted: June 24, 2013
Is the Delaware Republican Party on the verge of having no money, no staff and no headquarters, or is the word of its collapse being greatly exaggerated? Either way, the party is having its troubles.
A POCKET HISTORY OF DELAWARE AND GAY RIGHTS
Posted: June 20, 2013
A lightning round of legislative sessions to make gay rights, civil unions, gay marriage and transgender rights the law in Delaware came after a long lead-up, which seemed virtually futile when it began 15 years ago with a lone sponsor.
SORRY, WRONG SENATOR
Posted: June 17, 2013
Karen Peterson, the Democratic state senator from Stanton, was mailed a letter of dubious origin with vicious content that made no sense to be aimed at her. Sure enough, there was an explanation for it.
Posted: June 13, 2013
One of the foremost advocates for a transgender rights bill, now being considered by the Delaware General Assembly, is Sarah McBride, who is "trans" herself. She is helping the cause through a serious background in state politics.
YES & NO IN DOVER
Updated: June 11, 2013
A bill on civil rights for transgender Delawareans has been added to the list of legislation to watch in the General Assembly. One senator's vote stood out when the measure was passed with 11 votes, the bare minimum, and sent to the House of Representatives.
GIFT OR GRAB?
Posted: June 6, 2013
Richard Korn's pursuit of politics has given way to the pursuit of a lawsuit against his mother over money, her condominium and her final resting place. Their dispute had a partial airing Thursday in the Court of Chancery.
NEVER FEAR, THE FAMILY IS HERE
Posted: June 4, 2013
When John Sigler suddenly resigned last week as the Republican state chair, barely a month into a new term, the party was left scrambling to find a replacement. It looks like it may find one in the usual place.
Posted: May 30, 2013
Not that Delawareans should be superstitious, but there has been a lot of voodoo in the politics here in '13, the latest manifestation being the sudden vanishing of John Sigler as the Republican state chair.
CALL THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR AND ASK HIM WHAT HE IS DOING
Posted: May 28, 2013
What does it mean when the subject line of an e-mail turns out to be utterly divorced from the subject matter of the e-mail? That is the situation with Matt Denn, the Democratic lieutenant governor, and a recent blast e-mail from him.
NEVER SAY ORGANIZE
Posted: May 13, 2013
Will Rogers sounded like a sage all over again, as the Delaware Democrats organized themselves, so to speak, for the upcoming rounds of campaigning, as they held their state convention and elected officers Saturday in Dover.
FINALLY, WEDDING BELLS RING FOR ALL
Posted: May 8, 2013
Just two years after gay Delawareans won the right for civil unions, they exchanged it for the right to marriage during a dramatic and historic day of debate and a bill-signing ceremony at Legislative Hall in Dover.
GRIMACES FROM THE GRIDIRON
Posted: May 6, 2013
At the First State Gridiron Dinner & Show, the annual political roast held Saturday evening in Wilmington, it was good to be Beau. It was not good to be The Mayor or the fightin' chief aide in New Castle County or Fisker or . . .
YES & NO IN DOVER
Posted: May 1, 2013
Delaware Grapevine introduces a new standing feature to keep track of the roll calls in the General Assembly on the death penalty repeal, gay marriage, gun legislation, tax legislation and the minimum wage, all of them politically perilous votes.
ALL THAT RIGHT STUFF
Posted: April 27, 2013
The Republican state convention, held Friday and Saturday in Wilmington, was just more of all that right stuff, as the party's tea party wing continued to assert itself in putting together a new slate of party officers and setting party rules.
LEGISLATIVE HALL NOTEBOOK
Posted: April 25, 2013
"Legislative Hall Notebook" is a collection of items from the Delaware General Assembly in Dover. This one looks at the finalists for a Superior Court judgeship and the return of Bob Gilligan, the Democratic ex-speaker.
HOUSE MEMBERS SAY "WE DO" TO GAY MARRIAGE
Posted: April 24, 2013
The state House of Representatives had a throwback of a debate before it voted Tuesday to pass a gay marriage bill and send it to the state Senate. Arguments that were dormant for decades were oddly given an airing.
A CONSTITUTIONAL SHOWDOWN FLARES OVER THE STATE'S MONEY
Posted: April 18, 2013
As sleepy as the name "Cash Management Policy Board" sounds, the panel nevertheless had a rip-roaring session with Chip Flowers, the Democratic state treasurer, over the power to invest the state's money.
HIKING THE COMEBACK TRAIL
Posted: April 16, 2013
Political comebacks are popping up in strange ways around the country. Delaware has had its share through the years, as well, for everything from governor to state representative. Here are the five most memorable.
SEND LAWYERS, GUNS AND LOVERS
Posted: April 12, 2013
The Delaware General Assembly is getting legislation ranging from get-tough-on-prosecuting criminals with guns on the right to legalizing gay marriage on the left, all part of a flurry of high-profile bills in Legislative Hall in Dover.
THE GAY DIVIDE
Posted: April 9, 2013
The great divide over gay marriage could not have been on starker display than it was Monday evening in a coincidental pairing of political events, one upstate with Equality Delaware and one downstate with the Sussex County Republicans.
HOUSE BRACES FOR THE BILL ON REPEALING THE DEATH PENALTY
Posted: April 4, 2013
After a one-vote margin in a Senate roll call, a bill that would repeal the death penalty has moved to the House of Representatives, to be considered after the legislature's spring break. A House vote is also expected to be close -- if there is a vote.
Posted: April 1, 2013
April Fools' Day is too good of an opportunity to pass up the chance of playing a joke or two on some of Delaware's best-known politicians. Here are some to try on Joe Biden, Tom Carper, Tom Gordon and several others.
DUPONT COMPANY ENDORSES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Posted: March 29, 2013
The DuPont Company has joined the list of prominent Delaware people and organizations to encourage the General Assembly to legalize same-sex marriage, two years after the legislature voted to allow civil unions.
A CAPITAL DEBATE
Posted: March 27, 2013
For more than two hours, the state Senate showed why the death penalty is one of the most emotional questions in public policy. It was a close call as the senators voted 11-10 for a bill to repeal it and sent the measure to the state House of Representatives.
Posted: March 22, 2013
Legislators may be proceeding at their peril, as the Delaware General Assembly embarks upon a series of votes that could turn into a field day for opposition researchers in the next election cycle. It has happened here before.
HOPE IN SPRING IS ETERNAL
Posted: March 19, 2013
Even in Sussex County, where Christine O'Donnell and the Tea Party Republicans rolled to victory, the local Democrats can have hope in the springtime when they hold a seasonal dinner in Georgetown.
SECRETS OF THE SEATING CHART
Posted: March 15, 2013
Who knows what lurked in the minds of the legislators in Dover as they filled out the seating chart for the Delaware General Assembly's current session? Delaware Grapevine knows, and it is saying.
TICKET SPLITTERS, NO MORE
Posted: March 12, 2013
Delawareans have switched from their ticket-splitting ways to a more partisan mode as the century turned, a trend that is evident in the state election results for president, governor and the state House of Representatives.
A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL
Posted: March 7, 2013
Sometime this spring, a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage is expected to be introduced in the Delaware General Assembly. It is being preceded by a rollout that looks like the equivalent of a political campaign.
JOHN MODICA, 1931-2013
Posted: March 4, 2013
An art teacher, football coach and past chair of the New Castle County Democrats, John Modica brought the art of teaching to Delaware politics, where he would save people from themselves. He died Friday at 81.
THE PRIMARIES, THEY ARE A-CHANGING
Posted: March 1, 2013
Statewide primaries have evolved since Delaware started holding them in 1970. Once they meant dire repercussions in the general election, but the same is not necessarily true today. It depends on the political party.
Posted: Feb. 26, 2013
"Political Notebook" is a collection of news items around Delaware. This edition looks at the way a wickedly funny political sticker came to be and the governor's unusual toast at a black-tie dinner at the White House.
AS GOES CONNECTICUT, SO GOES TOM CARPER
Posted: Feb. 22, 2013
In a nod to Delaware's glory days, when either Joe Biden or Bill Roth chaired a Senate committee, Tom Carper has taken the gavel at Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Another state had a lot to do with it.
THE SIX-YEAR ITCH
Posted: Feb. 20, 2013
Through the years, the president's political party has learned to be wary of the election coming midway through a second term -- like the one in 2014 -- because it tends to go badly. Maybe not this time around in Delaware, however.
RUN TO RESIGN
Posted: Feb. 15, 2013
There is a hole so big in the state election law that even Colin Bonini, who is bigger than the average state senator, could get through and possibly turn the next campaign season into an unusual bid for office.
THE DELAWARE REPUBLICANS ON LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY
Posted: Feb. 12, 2013
Republicans throughout the country celebrate their first president's birthday, which is today, and the ones here in Delaware found their own way to observe it at the customary dinner commemorating Abraham Lincoln.
Posted: Feb. 7, 2013
Tom Wagner, the Republican state auditor, is ready to amend his ways and build up his campaign treasury for 2014. Almost all of the other sitting statewide officeholders who are up for election have been working at theirs for some time.
RICHARD KORN SUES THE HAND THAT RAISED HIM
Posted: Feb. 5, 2013
Richard Korn, who has run unsuccessfully for New Castle County executive, state representative and state auditor, is now running to court to try to get money out of his mother, weeks after he was arrested on child pornography charges.
BEAUCOUP BUCKS FOR BEAU
Posted: Feb. 1, 2013
Beau Biden did some strategic fund raising in 2012, as he set up a political action committee to help out his fellow Delaware Democrats and also salted away some contributions toward his own re-election campaign for attorney general in 2014.
THE HALF-MILLION DOLLAR MEN
Posted: Jan. 29, 2013
The Delaware General Assembly had its first half-million dollar race in 2012, and the candidates who ran in it were predictable, even if the amount trumped expectations. The big spenders for state senator were Greg Lavelle and Mike Katz.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Posted: Jan. 24, 2013
There is nothing like being at home in the state Senate for nominees to the court, as it was amply shown by the confirmation of Carl Danberg to the Court of Common Pleas, as well as Vivian Rapposelli and Paul Wallace to the Superior Court.
Posted: Jan. 22, 2013
The Biden name is having an effect as Delaware grapples with what action it should or should not take about gun laws in the aftermath of the killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month in Connecticut.
THE BALLOT OF THE POLITICAL OUTCASTS
Posted: Jan. 18, 2013
In a twist of timing, the state Supreme Court delivered an opinion involving Eric Bodenweiser, the ex-candidate indicted for child sex crimes, in the same week police said they had arrested Richard Korn, another ex-candidate, for dealing child pornography.
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY
Posted: Jan. 15, 2013
An inauguration that was made for the great outdoors was shuffled off by not much more than a little mist to a school auditorium, where Jack Markell and Matt Denn took their oaths Tuesday for their second terms as the governor and lieutenant governor.
NO RUSH TO JUDGESHIPS
Posted: Jan. 10, 2013; updated: Jan. 11, 2013
After five months in limbo, the nominees for two new judgeships on the Superior Court are on their way from the governor to the state Senate for a confirmation vote. A new appointment for a judge on the Court of Common Pleas is ready, too.
A POLITICAL SURGE
Posted: Jan. 8, 2013
When the political analysts say an election hinges on turnout, they are not kidding. The state elections commissioner has compiled a report that shows the way the Delaware Democrats put together their statewide sweep on Election Day.
THE END OF THE WORLD
Posted: Dec. 21, 2012
If this date of 12-21-12 is the end of it all, instead of just the winter solstice, then Delawareans are never going to find out what would have happened to the political futures of Joe Biden, Jack Markell and others.
Posted: Dec. 19, 2012
The ballot took a battering in the 2012 election season. It can happen when a candidate gets indicted and the parties go to court to decide if he can be replaced. It can also happen when candidates run for more than one office.
THE PINK SLIP FROM HELL
Posted: Dec. 13, 2012
Within the cozy confines of Legislative Hall, the dismissal of a part-time legislative aide from the Democratic staff in the House of Representatives is boomeranging around and causing all manner of angst.
"EVERYBODY KNOWS PRISCILLA"
Posted: Dec. 10, 2012
Everybody from the vice president to campaign interns knows Priscilla Rakestraw, who spent more than 37 years as the Republican national committeewoman, and there was a roast-and-toast Saturday evening at the Riverfront in Wilmington to prove it.
WHY, THEY ALL CAN GET ALONG
Posted: Dec. 6, 2012
The state Senate hardly seemed like itself, when it met Wednesday in Dover for a one-day special session, called by the governor to consider judicial appointments. It was good-humored. It worked by consensus. It was as close to efficient as it could conceive.
A HISTORY-MAKING PRESIDENT PRO TEM
Posted: Dec. 4, 2012
The state Senate will be reorganizing itself when it meets Wednesday in Dover for a special session on judicial appointments, and history is in the offing with Patti Blevins poised to become the president pro tem.
THE UPSIDE OF DOWNSTATE
Posted: Nov. 30, 2012
The legislative leadership is set for the next session of the Delaware General Assembly, and it should come as a surprise to nobody that the four caucuses voted to put a lot of downstaters in charge.
Posted: Nov. 27, 2012
Tom Carper went through a trying campaign season on his way to a third term as a Democratic senator, but it looks like he found a subtle way to take his revenge in the weeks following the election.
Posted: Nov. 14, 2012
"Political Notebook" is a collection of news items around Delaware. This edition looks at the gender equity in the choices for the next Senate president pro tem and House speaker, as well as the names for a Republican judgeship on the Superior Court.
COUNTING UP THE ELECTION RETURNS
Posted: Nov. 12, 2012
To recover from a campaign season, it is not a bad idea to count slowly from one to 10. Here is the election in Delaware by the numbers, 10 ways the voters and the candidates made their mark on the state.
REFLECTIONS ON RETURN DAY
Posted: Nov. 9, 2012
Return Day is the way Delaware celebrates itself. On the Thursday after the election, small-state politics has its day in Georgetown, the Sussex County seat, to end one campaign season and teasingly start another.
IN AND OUT IN DOVER
Posted: Nov. 7, 2012
There are so many new legislators in the Delaware General Assembly, they might need name tags to start the next session in Dover. The Senate has six new members, and the House of Representatives has nine new ones. Here is how they got there.
Posted: Nov. 6, 2012
So many candidates, so much money, so many political spots and robo-calls, and Delaware was virtually left with the same political landscape it had before the election. It looks like the fight just went out of the electorate.
SOMETHING ABOUT TOM CARPER
Posted: Nov. 2, 2012
As Tom Carper appears on the statewide ballot for the 13th time, it is nothing new for him to be dealing with the sorts of smears coming from Alex Pires, the minor-party candidate, as he runs for a third term as a Democratic senator.
SKELETONS HAUNT DELAWARE POLITICS
Posted: Oct. 31, 2012
Between Halloween and the political season, there is enough out there to scare any Delawarean. A lot of strange happenings have frightened away candidates and made the campaign of 2012 one to remember.
Posted: Oct. 25, 2012
"Political Notebook" is a collection of noteworthy news items around Delaware. This edition looks at the effects of the political calendar on the selection of judges and quite possibly on the next administration in New Castle County.
RACES-2-WATCH: LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Posted: Oct. 23, 2012
One bruising race upstate and one preposterous race downstate top the chart of the 2012 races to watch on Election Day, now just two weeks away, to settle the membership for the Delaware General Assembly.
CANDIDATES ARE OUT AND ABOUT IN SUSSEX COUNTY
Posted: Oct. 19, 2012
Of the three counties in Delaware, Sussex County with its conservative brand of politics is not exactly the one that would be predicted to be a draw for gay candidates on the ballot, but it is happening there, nevertheless.
PLEASE DO NOT TIP THE JUDICIAL BALANCE
Posted: Oct. 16, 2012
If there is one open judgeship that does not need any complications, it is the one where John Henriksen became a judicial RINO (Removed In Name Only.) So naturally it is front and center in a brouhaha about the political balance of the courts.
BELLYING UP TO THE BAR
Posted: Oct. 12, 2012
The vice presidential debate was nothing like the presidential debate. It was not stiff. It came without pretense. It was as if Joe Biden and Paul Ryan were having it out, Democrat to Republican, as they bellied up to the bar.
THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
Posted: Oct. 11, 2012
Five chiefs of staff and one ex-governor came together to tell on their governors and themselves during a panel discussion Thursday at the Wilmington Rotary Club. Every administration from Pete du Pont to Jack Markell was represented.
DRAFTING A FANTASY POLITICAL TICKET
Posted: Oct. 9, 2012
Political parties are supposed to put together tickets, but there is a twist on it for the 2012 election. Candidates are making up their own slates, as though Delaware politics was just another fantasy football league.
Posted: Oct. 5, 2012
Surely there could not be a scheme to take the Delaware judiciary, a model of bipartisanship with a political balance between Democrats and Republicans, and have the Democratic governor and the Democratic Senate majority pack it with Democrats, or could there?
FOR THE COURT
Posted: Oct. 1, 2012
"Judicial RINO," a column about John Henriksen's removal-in-name-only from the Family Court, brought a statement from a committee of the Delaware State Bar Association. It responds because judges generally are not in a position to answer themselves.
CANCELED IN THE NICK OF TIME
Posted: Sept. 28, 2012
When a past chair of the Delaware Republicans agrees to host a fund-raiser for a Democratic candidate running for the state Senate, there are bound to be complications, but when the complications involve taxes, it can make the event disappear.
JUDICIAL RINO (REMOVED IN NAME ONLY)
Posted: Sept. 25, 2012
The last weeks are coming to a close on the truncated judicial tenure of John Henriksen, the Family Court judge who was ordered off the bench but allowed to stay around to collect his salary and qualify for his pension. It did not have to come to this.
INTRODUCING BEAU PAC
Posted: Sept. 20, 2012
Here in Delaware, there is a new arrival prospecting for political contributions. It is called "Beau PAC," a political action committee that is already showing it will have no trouble taking up a collection for you-know-who.
Posted: Sept. 18, 2012
With the primary out of the way, the focus is finally on the main event. Election Day 2012 is approaching with the Democrats in prime position to continue their lock on the state. Here are the races to watch.
ALL OVER BUT THE GLOATING
Posted: Sept. 14, 2012
Before the wreckage of Primary Day is swept away and Delaware looks toward the main event in November, it is worth a look back at some of the lasting impressions showing who came out on top Tuesday in the voting.
Posted: Sept. 11, 2012
Jack Markell waded deep into the Democratic primaries Tuesday and came out with little to show for it. Candidates favored by the governor were often on the losing end. Among them was Tony DeLuca, soon to be the state Senate's former president pro tem.
TOP TEN PRIMARY RACES
Posted: Sept. 6, 2012
Delaware's Democratic and Republican voters will be going to the polls on Primary Day on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Here are the top races to decide on the nominations for statewide office and the General Assembly.
Posted: Sept. 4, 2012
Sher Valenzuela, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, went to the Tampa convention and talked about herself, not only about the family business in her speech on "We Built It" night, but the abortion she had years ago.
HERE COME THE JUDGES
Posted: Aug. 30, 2012
A whole host of judgeships are waiting for nomination and confirmation at a most inconvenient time. The governor and the Senate are going to have to deal with them, anyway, and a lot of the reason for it is Tom Carper.
STORM AND DUNES
Posted: Aug. 27, 2012
The Democrats are showing a real knack for scheduling the Sussex County beach jamboree during storms. Not only did they contend with a rainstorm at Capel Henlopen State Park, but the storm over the health of Tom Carper, the Democratic senior senator.
Posted: Aug. 24, 2012
When politics gets rough-and-tumble enough, it has no equal as the national pastime. Folks flocked to the Hockessin fire hall to watch the candidates in the Democratic primary for New Castle County executive, as well as two lesser races.
THE LOT OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Posted: Aug. 21, 2012
Announcements for lieutenant governor can repeat themselves, the first time and the second time as farce. It has just happened to Matt Denn, the Democratic lieutenant governor, and Sher Valenzuela, his Republican opponent.
TOP FIVE ENDANGERED INCUMBENTS
Posted: Aug. 17, 2012
For Delaware's officeholders, a great list of "Endangered Incumbents" is one they are not on. Here are the officeholders who would rather not have the recognition, as the primary and general elections come nearer.
CAN'T ANYBODY HERE RUN THIS PARTY?
Posted: Aug. 15 2012
The Delaware Republicans ran into a complication when it came time to file some financial reports. They had to take some emergency action, all because of the last thing anyone could have ever expected to happen.
THE TERRIBLE TWOS
Posted: Aug. 10, 2012
Once a decade, when the Delaware General Assembly redistricts itself in time for the election year ending in a "two," it can pack incumbents from the same party into a single district and make them run against each other, a dire situation happening now.
THE OLD SWITCHEROO
Posted: Aug. 8, 2012
A Sussex County legislative race has had it all. It went from having a Republican primary, to having the incumbent state representative running unopposed, to having a standard-issue election between a Republican and a Democrat. Really.
YOU CAN'T BEAT SOMEBODY WITH NOBODY
Posted: July 19, 2012
The Delaware Republicans went into the election year with thoughts of picking up seats in the General Assembly, maybe even enough to take over the Senate, but it looks like they have done themselves in with poor recruiting.
LONGEVITY GETS SHORTER
Posted: July 17, 2012
Longevity in Delaware politics ain't what it used to be. With officeholders like Bob Gilligan, the Democratic speaker, retiring after 40 years, some of the most senior politicians in office weigh in with fewer than 20 years.
"BRANDRIA" RUNS FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE
Posted: July 13, 2012
What happens when the husband promises not to run for the state House of Representatives, only to have the wife file, instead? The result is a candidate that might as well be known as "Brandria."
CANDIDATE FILING DEADLINE AND SNOOZE BUTTON
Posted: July 10, 2012
Delaware has had its share of high-profile races during the last couple of elections, but not this time. As the candidates' filing deadline passed Tuesday at noon, the statewide campaigns looked lethargic and only a handful of legislative seats had a chance of flipping.
ODD MAN IN
Posted: July 6, 2012
The House of Representatives has said its farewells to the members who are not running for re-election, so why does the one guy with the most compelling reason to get out still have his name on the ballot?
THE NIGHT BELONGS TO THE SPEAKER
Posted: July 1, 2012
On the last night of the Delaware General Assembly, a night long celebrated for twists and surprises, the stunner this year came from Bob Gilligan, the Democratic speaker, as he called it a career after a record 40 years
SOMETHING SCREWY THIS WAY COMES
Posted: June 28, 2012
The bill legalizing online gambling here in Delaware was the cause of a strange vote in the state Senate and a madcap dash to get the legislation delivered to the governor's office so it could be signed into law, pronto.
Posted: June 26, 2012
Joe Hurley, the flamboyant defense attorney, is riding to the rescue of Vance Phillips, the Sussex County councilman accused in an anonymous letter of an improper relationship with a 17-year-old. Hurley issued a press release, as only he can.
SIGNS AND WONDERS IN THE LAND OF VICMEAD
Posted: June 20, 2012
There was no accounting for some of the strange occurrences emanating from the Delaware Republicans' annual salon and fund-raiser at the Vicmead Hunt Club in Chateau Country, an event known as the "Salute."
THE CASE OF THE ANONYMOUS LETTER
Posted: June 18, 2012
Take an anonymous letter, salt it liberally with charges about a politician engaging in sex with a 17-year-old, serve it up to every legislator in the Delaware General Assembly, and sure enough, it is a recipe for an investigation by legal authorities.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR THEM LATELY?
Posted: June 14, 2012
Karen Weldin Stewart, the Democratic insurance commissioner running for re-election, was denied her party endorsement, which went to Mitch Crane. It was a lesson showing that politicians need to take care of the people who take care of them.
A SHAGGY DOG SPEECH
Posted: June 11, 2012
The Delaware Democrats got themselves an unusual type of keynote speech for their Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, which brought more than 500 of them Saturday evening to Dover. It also led to a discussion about the right way to say "Newark."
LEGISLATORS VOTE THEMSELVES OFF THE AISLE
Posted: June 8, 2012
This election year is taking a hearty toll on state legislators, even though a vote has yet to be cast. A lot of them are deciding not to run to keep their seats, the latest being Terry Schooley, a Democratic representative who told her colleagues on Thursday she would not be back.
BRAD BENNETT GOES QUIETLY
Posted: June 6, 2012
The political system got the outcome it wanted when Brad Bennett, a two-term Democratic state representative from Dover, told his colleagues he would bow out as he dealt with his second charge of drunken driving.
THE DEMOCRATS STRIKE BACK
Posted: June 1, 2012
An election for a state Senate district that is usually an afterthought looks like it could turn into one of the top competitive races, as the Delaware Democrats move to keep their majority in the chamber and put the Republicans on the defensive.
SHER THE UPHOLSTERER
Posted: May 30, 2012
Someone who has become known mysteriously as the "Woman Whose Husband Took an Upholstery Class" finds herself being mentioned a lot in the presidential campaign, but not identified. Actually, she is right here in Delaware. Not only that, she is running for office.
HOW A CANDIDATE SPENDS $10,000 AGAINST HIMSELF
Posted: May 18, 2012
Fools are not the only ones parted from their money. So are candidates who decide to take on the party structure. They get a quick lesson in the odds against them, as in the case of a Democrat who wants to run for the Senate seat that Tom Carper plans on keeping.
UPDATE: EARLY LINE 2012
Posted: May 14, 2012
The way candidacies get going is people hear about them on the Grapevine. The Democrats and the Republicans are putting together their tickets and turning their attention to races for statewide offices and the Delaware General Assembly.
THE MOST BORING STATE IN THE WORLD
Posted: May 7, 2012
A special guest who came from 3,000 miles away offered an outsider's take on Delaware during the First State Gridiron Dinner & Show, the annual political roast, held Saturday night at the Wilmington Riverfront.
OUTTAKES FROM THE REPUBLICAN STATE CONVENTION
Posted: May 2, 2012
The Delaware Republicans' state convention last weekend in Rehoboth Beach got some attention from Joe Biden, showed some wry appreciation for a Sussex County Republican and inspired a new way to refer to the party.
THE SYSTEM WAS BLINKING YELLOW
Posted: April 29, 2012
The Delaware Republicans were in danger time and time again of splitting the party at their annual state convention, held Friday and Saturday at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, but they settled for an uneasy truce.
RAKESTRAW POWERS DOWN
Posted: April 25, 2012
Priscilla Rakestraw, one of Delaware's most iconic Republicans, is giving up her post as the national committeewoman after 36 years, instead of chancing it to a vote Friday at the party's state convention in Rehoboth Beach.
THE GINGRICH WHO COULD NOT STEAL DELAWARE
Posted: April 24, 2012
Mitt Romney collected the delegates from the primary here, too, in his romp to the Republican presidential nomination, even though Newt Gingrich did everything but set up housekeeping in his unsuccessful attempt to become the Gingrich who stole Delaware.
POLITICS GIVES A WINK AND REPEATS ITSELF FOR GINGRICH
Posted: April 19, 2012
If history can repeat itself, then politics can, too, and it gave it a try when Newt Gingrich came to Delaware and spoke to a local political club Wednesday evening, as he looked for votes in the Republican presidential primary next week.
BENNETT'S NEW CHARGE FOR DUI (DRINKING UNDER INCUMBENCY)
Posted: April 17, 2012
Brad Bennett, the Democratic state representative from Dover, has brought double trouble upon himself with a second drunken-driving arrest, accumulating them with the same regularity he comes up for election.
Posted: April 13, 2012
The Delaware General Assembly can count on having a host of new legislators in its next session. Redistricting and retirements are the prime reasons for the turnover, all of this coming before the voters have the last word about the new membership on Election Day.
WRETCH A SKETCH
Posted: April 11, 2012
Mitt Romney made his way to Delaware on the same day Rick Santorum got out of his way for the presidential nomination, but what was a good day for Romney was not necessarily so for his fellow Republicans here.
R.I.P. (REPUBLICANS IN PERIL)
Posted: April 5, 2012
As much as the Democrats in the state Senate have tried to turn over the majority, the Republicans are trying not to take it. The latest blow is the departure of Liane Sorenson, the Republican minority whip, who has decided not to run for another term.
HISTORY IS BORN
Posted: April 2, 2012
To a pioneering list that includes Florence Hanby, a state representative from the 1920s, and Vera Davis, a state treasurer from the 1950s, and Ruth Ann Minner, the governor from the 2000s, it is time to add a new name for something that surprisingly has not happened before.
TAKE THEM TO A LEADER
Posted: March 29, 2012
The Republicans in the state House of Representatives are looking at a leadership vacuum in the next session, when both the minority leader and the minority whip could be sitting in the state Senate. There is already talk of how to fill it.
NEWS OF NEWT
Posted: March 27, 2012
Delaware Republicans craving a piece of the presidential action turned out in handsome numbers to see Newt Gingrich on Monday in advance of the primary here on April 24. The candidate and the state both could use the attention.
EARLY LINE 2012: LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Posted: March 22, 2012
The Democrats currently control both chambers in the Delaware General Assembly, but they are in a dogfight to keep the state Senate, so much so that neither party has much energy or attention left for the state House of Representatives.
A ROSE AND A DARE
Posted: March 20, 2012
When the Delaware Republicans hold their convention next month, their sagging status and increasingly conservative leanings could turn into a combustible election for national committeewoman, a post that has long been synonymous with Priscilla Rakestraw.
MARCH MADNESS, LEGISLATIVE STYLE
Posted: March 15, 2012
Seats in the state Senate are in play, the majority could be up for grabs sooner or later, and so March Madness has descended in all its frenzy on Legislative Hall in Dover with people poring over the matchups for the upcoming races.
THE MORE ELECTIONS, THE MORE THINGS STAY THE SAME
Posted: March 13, 2012
There will be a number of streaks on the line when Delawareans go to the polls this year. Joe Biden and Tom Carper are responsible for two of them, naturally. Karen Weldin Stewart could keep two other streaks alive by herself. The state also has one that is nothing to brag about.
WHAT THE HECK IS THE ALLIANCE FOR FAIR TAXATION-ISSUES?
Posted: March 9, 2012
Delaware radio stations are playing a political spot about Kevin Wade, the Republican senatorial candidate, from an out-of-state entity calling itself the Alliance for Fair Taxation-Issues. Take it as a sign of the new politics.
Posted: March 7, 2012
Joe Farley Sr., the past Democratic state chair, was the focus of attention when he won a community service award. Even without it, his name was being mentioned behind the scenes because of a little political dustup that could be characterized as the great print shop migration.
BETTER KNOW A DELEGATION
Posted: March 2, 2012
Delaware is still getting accustomed to its congressional delegation, which has only had its current membership for a little more than a year. The three-member contingent of all Democrats has a million dollar man, a strong man and a talking head in it.
Posted: Feb. 28, 2012
A little self-reflection would have gone a long way before everything from a financial institution to the governor and the state treasurer and a former chief justice found themselves in places that were better avoided.
HALF A PRIMARY IS BETTER THAN ONE
Posted: Feb. 24, 2012; updated: Feb. 27, 2012
Delaware's presidential primary, scheduled for April 24, is about to be cut in half, because the Republicans have multiple candidates but the Democrats do not. The filing deadline for the candidates to get on the ballot was Friday.
HONEST, ABE, SUSSEX COUNTY LOVES YOU
Posted: Feb. 21, 2012
The Sussex County Republicans held a Lincoln Day Dinner, a staple event for their party, but it was not as straightforward as it might seem, not with Abraham Lincoln's election record in Delaware and the odd misquotation here and there.
HOW DID COLIN BONINI RAISE $608,000?
Posted: Feb. 15, 2012
When Colin Bonini was the Republican candidate for state treasurer, he set up an account called the Responsible Delaware PAC to attract some political contributions, and did he ever. There were big amounts that rolled in, some of it as mystery money.
A LITTLE SIDE ACTION
Posted: Feb. 10, 2012
Jack Markell does not have just a campaign account to collect contributions as he runs for re-election as Delaware's Democratic governor. He also has another place where it is not uncommon for the contributions to arrive in $10,000 chunks.
CONSTITUTIONAL BUT WRONG?
Posted: Feb. 8, 2012
People are supposed to be able to vote for their officeholders in a representative democracy, but there is an anomaly that will have only some of the people voting for some of their officeholders on Election Day in 2012.
Posted: Feb. 2, 2012
Running for office comes with a whole host of legal requirements and deadlines to go with them. New candidates encountering the state election law can get tripped up, if they do not pay attention, and one of them was.
JOE BIDEN AND THE JUSTICES
Posted: Jan. 30, 2012
One of the things that can happen when a national organization like the Conference of Chief Justices schedules a meeting in Delaware is it can get the vice president to show up and give a speech. So Joe Biden did.
MONEY BOMBS AWAY
Posted: Jan. 27, 2012
The record for the most expensive legislative race in Delaware has gone up and up for the past 10 years, and there is reason to think it could go up again with the 2012 election. Oh, for the good old days when it took $200,000.
FOUR GOVERNORS AND COUNTING
Posted: Jan. 24, 2012
It is up to Jack Markell to extend the streak of the past four governors, who share the distinction of getting themselves disqualified under the state constitution from ever running for governor again, because they all won their re-election for a second term.
THE GREAT WALL OF SUSSEX
Posted: Jan. 20, 2012
The Delaware Republicans' arduous march to try to get to the majority in the state Senate looks like it will be a long one, a lot of it because of a couple of Democratic senators who keep running and winning in Sussex County.
Posted: Jan. 18, 2012
When the Board of Pardons recommended that the death sentence for Robert Gattis be commuted to life in prison, it did not plan to disclose which members were on what side of its vote of 4-1, but one member talked, and that was all it took to figure it out.
THE JOHN WILLIAMS RULE
Posted: Jan. 12, 2012
John Williams was a U.S. senator who decided to leave office before he turned 70. It set an example that became known as the "John Williams Rule." Decades later, politicians who take an exception to the rule do so mostly at their peril.
HOW THE SENATE REPUBLICANS CAN GET TO THE MAJORITY
Posted: Jan. 9, 2012; updated: Jan. 10, 2012
A "Clip & Save" chart explains the steps the Delaware Republicans could follow to get themselves from seven seats in the state Senate to 11 seats and the majority in the 21-member chamber. A lot has to go their way, but it could.
DID ENDORSE! DID NOT! DID, TOO!
Posted: Jan. 5, 2012
A fierce scramble for endorsements already has the 2012 campaign season going in the new state senatorial district in Sussex County, where a Republican primary has Pete du Pont's name being thrown around.
PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Posted: Jan. 1, 2012
Civil union #1 in Delaware was solemnized on New Year's Day on an occasion historic enough to have a U.S. senator preach and the lieutenant governor and a state judge give readings at a church ceremony, not to mention joyous enough for more than 300 people to cheer.
EARLY LINE 2012: LEGISLATIVE RACES
Posted: Dec. 20, 2011
The way candidacies get going is people hear about them on the Grapevine. The races are starting to take shape for the Delaware General Assembly, where the Democrats control both chambers, but the Republicans have thoughts of finally ending 40 years in the Senate minority.
Posted: Dec. 16, 2011
Eenie, meenie, miney, mo, where do the presidential endorsements go? There are strange happenings, as the Delaware Republicans sort through their field of candidates on the way to the 2012 nomination.
NOT FROM HERE
Posted: Dec. 13, 2011
In Sussex County, where homegrown applies to things like Punkin' Chunkin' and Dolle's salt water taffy, it has also carried into politics, too. Maybe not, however, in the new state Senate district the county is getting in 2012.
NEWT IN THE STRAW
Posted: Dec. 8, 2011
The makings of a two-candidate race between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination showed up here in a straw poll at the state party's Delaware Day dinner. Gingrich nosed his way to a win but lost an endorsement.
FOR THE REPUBLICANS, DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
Posted: Dec. 6, 2011
The Delaware Republicans watched their best chances in the 2010 election blow up because of a split in the party. Now their efforts at advances in the state Senate in 2012 could go the same way for the same reason.
EARLY LINE 2012: AN UPDATE
Posted: Dec. 1, 2011
The way candidacies get going is people hear about them on the Grapevine. The Delaware Democrats are largely set statewide, while the Republicans are doing what they can to bounce back from an awful election in 2010. They actually have someone to run for governor.
DESPERATELY CHANNELING DELAWARE
Posted: Nov. 29, 2011
As the new members of the congressional delegation, Chris Coons and John Carney are doing what comes naturally in Delaware with their bipartisan approach, but it sets them off as different in the corridors of Capitol Hill.
THE MODERATE UNDERGROUND
Posted: Nov. 18, 2011
Yes, Delaware, there is a moderate Republican or so left in the state, and they gathered themselves for what is expected to be the showcase race in the fight for control of the state Senate, where the Democrats have been in the majority for almost 40 years.
Posted: Nov. 15, 2011
Campaign contributions? Voters' short attention spans? Golf? What is it that Delaware politicians will be giving thanks for? Here are Thanksgiving thoughts for Joe Biden, Tom Carper, Jack Markell, Tom Wagner and others.
OUTTAKES FROM THE JEFFERSON-JACKSON DINNER
Posted: Nov. 11, 2011
The political acts kept coming at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, the main event of the year for the Delaware Democrats, although some of them were not as obvious as others, even though they were right before the eyes of about 500 people.
DELAY OF GAME
Posted: Nov. 8, 2011
For the Delaware Democrats, the place to be Monday was the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, the party's biggest event of the year, or at least it was for most of the event, say, until 8:30 in the evening rolled around.
Posted: Nov. 4, 2011
Richard Andrews overcame long odds when the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination Thursday for one of the four judgeships on the U.S. District Court, where the openings are rare and getting one is always chancy.
Posted: Nov. 2, 2011
"Political Notebook" is a collection of noteworthy political items around Delaware. This one looks at Mitt Romney's endorsements in the Republican presidential primary here and also remembers a good Democrat.
TERRY SPENCE'S HOMELESS PORTRAIT
Posted: Oct. 27, 2011
Picture Terry Spence. He did. Spence, a Republican ex-representative who set the record for longevity by a state House speaker, had his portrait painted, but there are issues with the way he pictured it should be hung.
Posted: Oct. 24, 2011
The Delaware Republicans are so out of power. What is a party to do? They took their grievances and got together so they could air them, not unlike that other protest that is going on. They headed to Chateau Country for Occupy Vicmead.
SISTER ACT, BIDEN STYLE
Posted: Oct. 20, 2011
Valerie Biden Owens gave away some of the trade secrets about political advertising when she appeared at the University of Delaware along with Joe Slade White, who formed the media consulting firm where she works.
Posted: Oct. 14, 2011
If Jack Markell wins his re-election for the Delaware Democrats, he will be the fifth governor in a row to get two terms. It means the Republicans are bucking history and their own hard times as they search for a candidate for the 2012 election.
TOM KOVACH AND THE DEATHLY LOSING STREAK
Posted: Oct. 11, 2011
Tom Kovach, the Republican president of the New Castle County Council, wants to challenge John Carney, the Democrat who is the only congressman for Delaware. It would be a political feat no Republican has managed in decades.
THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY IS STILL SECONDARY
Posted: Oct. 7, 2011
The Republican presidential field has yet to get much traction here in Delaware. Among the reasons, there are Republicans who have let the time pass as they gazed at the governor next door. So much for that.
SLAM DUNKS, REFRIGERATORS AND UNDERDOGS
Posted: Oct. 4, 2011
Ronald Reagan was a slam dunk. Jimmy Carter was a refrigerator. George Bush the Younger was an underdog. This is the way a Democratic political consultant sees presidential re-election campaigns. It could be a way to look at governors, too.
THE UNIVERSITY OF PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS
Posted: Sept. 29, 2011
The University of Delaware taught Joe Biden. It also taught the political consultants who ran the presidential campaigns in 2008. So naturally the question came up Wednesday during a discussion on politics, what about Chris Christie?
THE PROFESSOR AND THE VICE PRESIDENT
Posted: Sept. 16, 2011
The legacy of Jim Soles, a political science professor who died last year, gave the University of Delaware a day to remember as Joe Biden came to campus to give the first Soles lecture and donate his senatorial papers.
PIN THE TAIL ON THE DISTRICT NUMBERS
Posted: Sept. 13, 2011
Pay no attention to the numbers on the state legislative districts. When the Delaware General Assembly redistricted itself earlier this year for the 2012 election, it shot the district numbers around like a bunch of marbles.
A GUIDE TO ENDANGERED LEGISLATORS
Posted: Sept. 8, 2011
Redistricting, the Republican statewide ticket and legislators who are part of the Social Security set all are factors that will play into the campaigns for seats in the Delaware General Assembly in the 2012 election.
Posted: Sept. 5, 2011
The Delaware Republicans are not what they used to be. It was so evident at a fund raiser they had in Rehoboth Beach over the weekend that it could be time to identify them as a political party with an asterisk.
SIXTEEN MILES ON THE C & D CANAL
Posted: Sept. 1, 2011
A recreational trail, soon to be constructed along the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal from bay to bay, brought out the best-known political names in Delaware. Guess who was the one who got the most attention?
MOTHER NATURE AND HER EVIL TWIN
Posted: Aug. 30, 2011
Irene menaced people, houses, waterways, roads and power lines as the storm struck Delaware over the weekend, not to mention it tested the governor's leadership. This is the politics of hurricanes.
NOTHING DUMB ABOUT THIS LUCK
Posted: Aug. 25, 2011
If there was someone destined to preside over a Senate session disrupted by an earthquake, it would be Chris Coons, so there he was, the Democratic junior senator from Delaware, in D.C. for one of those moments that seem to find him.
Posted: Aug. 22, 2011
The Delaware Republicans brought in Reince Priebus, their national chair, for some picnicking and politicking in Sussex County. The Republicans not only have to search for candidates, but speakers, too.
DAY TRIPPING WITH THE GOVERNOR
Posted: Aug. 19, 2011
Jack Markell did not let this summer weather pass without doing some sightseeing in Delaware. He traveled to some famous historic places, including the home of a fellow governor. It was all in a day's work.
2012 INCHES IN
Posted: Aug. 17, 2011
Whether a presidential straw poll is taken in Iowa, the first caucus state, or here in Delaware, a late-voting state, it is a sign that it is time to get used to hearing a lot about Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann . . . .
NO EARLY PRIMARY DATE, BUT MAYBE AN EARLY DEBATE
Posted: Aug. 12, 2011
Iowa with its early caucuses is already in full presidential cry with a Republican debate. Not so Delaware. It has turned itself into a late primary state, moving all the way back to April, but it still could find itself with a little early glory.
SORRY, WRONG CONCLUSION
Posted: Aug. 9, 2011
When a possible Republican candidate for governor is spotted at a lunch with a Republican operative and a Republican Party official, it has to mean there is a gubernatorial campaign in the offing, right? Right?
THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, BUT NOT THE GOVERNOR'S LIEUTENANT
Posted: Aug. 5, 2011
The lieutenant governor in Delaware can be less a lieutenant and more like a governmental sergeant at arms, an independent check on the governor. This comes from electing the two offices separately, if it ever happens again.
TOM CARPER AND TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA
Posted: Aug. 2, 2011
Thirteen is the scariest number, and it figures in the campaign next year for Tom Carper, the Democratic senior senator who will be going for a third term as well as a new Delaware record for statewide office.
BIG REPUBLICAN BROTHER
Posted: July 28, 2011
A secret resolution, passed earlier this month by Sussex County Republican Party officials, took issue with the way Gary Simpson, the state Senate's Republican minority leader who comes from the county, voted on a bill.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
Posted: July 26, 2011
The ghost of a campaign past made an appearance Monday in Rodney Square in Wilmington. It turned out much better than anyone involved in that congressional race nearly 30 years ago ever could have guessed.
Posted: July 22, 2011
"Political Notebook" is a collection of noteworthy political items around Delaware. This one gauges the end-of-session mood in Legislative Hall in Dover and spots a Republican candidate making moves for the U.S. Senate.
LAY OF THE LAND
Posted: July 20, 2011
The Delaware Democrats do not need much beyond automatic pilot to put together their statewide ticket for the 2012 election. Not the Delaware Republicans, who have a great deal of catching up to do.
TOP 10 LEGISLATORS OF THE YEAR
Posted: July 1, 2011
The 2011 session of the Delaware General Assembly is history, leaving behind the names that deserve to be on the Top 10 List of Legislators of the Year. For better or worse, these are the ones whose conduct stood out.
REDISTRICTING FOR DUMMIES
Posted: June 27, 2011
In the General Assembly, where power is everything, it seems self-evident that the party in charge when the maps are drawn during redistricting would do everything it could to stay there. Sometimes it does not work out that way.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD AT CHANCERY
Posted: June 23, 2011
Delaware had itself a new chancellor for the Court of Chancery as Leo Strine Jr. was confirmed Wednesday by the state Senate in Dover and then sworn in. It is not something people in this state take lightly.
Posted: June 16, 2011
"Legislative Notebook" is a collection of political items about the people and events around Legislative Hall in Dover. This edition takes a look at a twist in redistricting and at the lieutenant governor's contribution to the truer-words-have-ne'er-been-said department.
NICE GUYS FINISH BEST
Posted: June 14, 2011
Milton was not just the site Saturday for the Summer Bash, an annual event that combines politics and a country music concert. It was also the center of speculation about a new representative district proposed for Sussex County.
Posted: June 10, 2011
Sussex County's pride was on the line with Bill Chandler, a favorite son, leaving the storied Court of Chancery with no guarantee he would be replaced by a fellow Sussex Countian. Geography got its due, and Sussex got its bragging rights.
Posted: June 8, 2011
The redistricting map proposed for the state Senate has left some senators out in the cold. Funny what they had in common. It was the roll call to elect a president pro tem for the legislative session.
A REPUBLICAN CHANCE
Posted: June 3, 2011
Politics is nothing if not a great equalizer. As bad as the Republicans have been going in Delaware, they have an unexpected opportunity to improve themselves. It is in about the last place anybody would look.
GOVERNOR GETS THE CHOICES FOR CHANCERY
Posted: June 1, 2011
The secret is out. The names of the candidates for the Court of Chancery have been forwarded to the governor by the Judicial Nominating Commission, and although they are supposed to be kept in strictest confidence, here they are, on good authority.
THE TEN-YEAR WARS
Posted: May 27, 2011
Redistricting comes along once a decade in the Delaware General Assembly, and when the legislative maps are redrawn, old disputes become new again. People also have a way of turning up again.
Posted: May 24, 2011; updated: May 25, 2011
There are always strange twists when the Delaware General Assembly redistricts itself. Dave Sokola, a Democratic senator from Pike Creek Valley, and Liane Sorenson, a Republican senator from Hockessin, are on track for a distinction they would rather not have.
Posted: May 20, 2011
There was so much happening at the ceremony last week to sign the civil union bill into law, lots of festivities and lots of people, it was hard to think that anything could have been left out. Actually, there was.
PUSHING BACK THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
Posted: May 18, 2011
Snow will continue to complicate the presidential primary season in Iowa and New Hampshire, but not in Delaware. The Democrats and Republicans are jointly planning to push the primary from post-Groundhog Day to April showers, practically to May flowers.
STATE OF THE (CIVIL) UNION
Posted: May 12, 2011
Delaware became a state allowing civil unions with a bill-signing ceremony that did everything but ring wedding bells in celebration. There has never been a bill-signing ceremony like it.
DELAWARE GRIDIRON & SPA
Posted: May 9, 2011
If people went to the First State Gridiron Dinner & Show on Saturday at the Wilmington Riverfront without realizing in advance that Christine O'Donnell and Chip Flowers would be the butt of jokes, they definitely have not been paying attention.
MIKE CASTLE, ATTORNEY AT LAW
Posted: May 5, 2011
Nine months after losing the Republican senatorial primary, Mike Castle has become a partner at the law firm of DLA Piper. He is finding that the practice of law has changed since he left it when he became governor in 1985.
THE REPUBLICANS REGROUP
Posted: May 2, 2011
The Delaware Republicans took steps to knit themselves back together at their state convention, their first official gathering since they were cleaved by the 2010 Senate primary between Mike Castle and Christine O'Donnell.
IF THURMAN WAS AROUND . . .
Posted: April 27, 2011
When Bill Chandler retires as chancellor in June, he will leave the Court of Chancery without a judge from Sussex County. It would have been unthinkable if Thurman Adams was around.
CHANDLER IS LEAVING DELAWARE'S MOST COVETED JUDGESHIP
Posted: April 25, 2011
Bill Chandler, the chancellor since 1997, has notified the governor that he is leaving the Court of Chancery this June and opening up a seat on Delaware's most famous bench, the premier site for corporate law.
THE TREASURER FLUBS THE LAW ON LAWYERS
Posted: April 22, 2011
The attorney general is the lawyer for the state. That is Delaware law. Chip Flowers, the Democratic state treasurer, decided he wanted a different lawyer. Naturally there are complications for the lawyers to sort out.
"NOT A SLUSH FUND FOR THE STATE TREASURER"
Posted: April 19, 2011
Chip Flowers, the Democratic state treasurer, ran into problems with an ambitious plan to turn $200 million of state money into an economic development program when he tried to get approval from a state board that few people have heard of.
Posted: April 15, 2011
Although Mike Castle is no longer part of Delaware's congressional delegation, it is hard to tell. He is being invited everywhere, and he is going. Never mind what happened in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate last year.
GREG LAVELLE TRIES OUT A PARTY HAT
Posted: April 13, 2011
The new vice chair of the state Republican Party could be Greg Lavelle, the minority leader in the House of Representatives. He is thinking about running for the post with encouragement coming from John Sigler, who is expected to be the next state chair.
HERE A DISTRICT, THERE A DISTRICT IN TIMES GONE BY
Posted: April 8, 2011
Not just the Age of Aquarius came out of the Sixties. So did redistricting for the Delaware General Assembly. The legislative maps were redrawn based on population, instead of geography, and nothing has been the same since.
MAPMAKER, MAPMAKER, MAKE UP A MAP
Posted: April 6, 2011
The time has come for the Delaware General Assembly to redistrict itself, re-sorting its districts into roughly equal populations. It is an unpredictable and sometimes diabolical undertaking, and not every legislator will survive it.
Posted: April 1, 2011
Happy April Fools' Day. There could not be a better time for some quotations that really ought to have been said in Delaware politics about Tony DeLuca, Christine O'Donnell, Mike Castle, Chris Coons and Jack Markell.
Posted: March 29, 2011
Somebody has to run the Delaware Republicans. The party, desperate for a turnaround, will be looking for new leadership and some stability when it elects a new state chair about a month from now at a convention in Dover.
"HATRED YOU'RE FACING HAS NO PLACE HERE"
Posted: March 24, 2011
A press conference, which was called to announce the introduction of a bill that would legalize civil unions, brought legislators and a crowd to the steps outside of Legislative Hall. It also had the most important ingredient of them all.
YES, DELAWARE, THERE ARE SUSSEX DEMOCRATS
Posted: March 21, 2011
The Sussex County Democrats would not mind sharing in the glory of the state party, which had a big year in 2010 except in Delaware's southernmost county. It was the theme of the Sussex Democrats' spring dinner.
THE BEST JUDGE WHO NEVER RAN A COURT
Posted: March 18, 2011
Randy Holland certainly is getting attention. The justice on the Delaware Supreme Court is winning praise nationally from the legal profession at the same time he needs to be passing muster from the executive and legislative branches for a new term.
A SIGN OF SPRING
Posted: March 16, 2011
Springtime in Dover gets the legislative season going in earnest. The Delaware General Assembly clocked itself back in Tuesday. It was a mostly lazy day but with some signs that the lawmakers never forget how to perform their old tricks.
CHAT AND CHOO CHOO
Posted: March 10, 2011
Telecommunications and telecommuting have combined to give a new twist to constituent correspondence for Chris Coons, the Democratic senator who is part of Delaware's train-riding congressional delegation.
Posted: March 8, 2011
There is a new frontrunner for the nomination to fill the federal judgeship vacated last summer by Joe Farnan. It seems somehow inevitable that the candidate's background would include work in the U.S. Attorney's Office.
THE ONCE AND PRESENT PROSECUTOR
Posted: March 4, 2011
For only the second time in Delaware history, a past attorney general was tapped for a presidential appointment to U.S. attorney. As Charlie Oberly makes the transition, he talks about the differences in the two offices.
NRA = NEW REPUBLICAN ADVOCATE?
Posted: March 2, 2011
The Delaware Republicans are looking for someone who can get them to put themselves together again. They will be voting for a new state chair in April, and the search seems to be pointing them toward a past president of the National Rifle Association.
A MAN OF HIS TIME
Posted: Feb. 24, 2011
The time called forth Russell Peterson, and Russell Peterson called forth his time. Peterson, a one-term governor elected in 1968, died Monday at the age of 94. Hs life embodied the transformation of Delaware into "The Suburban State."
O'DONNELL NEVER STOPS
Posted: Feb. 22, 2011
Christine O'Donnell lives on in Delaware politics, months after the shock heard 'round the state when she upset Mike Castle in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. The unintended consequences keep rippling and rippling.
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER
Posted: Feb. 19, 2011
Chip Flowers is the state treasurer. He is also a lawyer. Although elected officials are supposed to keep their public lives and private interests separate, the Web site for Flowers' law firm is not shy about mentioning his state office.
Posted: Feb. 15, 2011
Chris Coons gave his first speech as a senator. It was not like the first speeches given by Ted Kaufman or Tom Carper or Joe Biden. Then he upstaged himself with his monologue at the Washington Press Club Foundation Congressional Dinner.
MORE MUSICAL CHAIRS FOR A FEDERAL JUDGESHIP
Posted: Jan. 27, 2011
The long, long search to fill all the judgeships on the U.S. District Court in Wilmington is nowhere near over, now that one of the prime candidates appears not to have made the cut. The bench has been working short-handed for more than four years.
THE NINE LIVES OF CHARLIE OBERLY
Posted: Jan. 24, 2011
Charlie Oberly had his investiture Monday as the U.S. attorney, a new post in a public life that has had a number of incarnations, most notably as the only Delawarean to serve three full terms as attorney general. There has been a lot to keep track of.
Posted: Jan. 20, 2011
There has been a lot of toil to go with the territory, as Jack Markell marked the midpoint of his term as Delaware's Democratic governor by giving his State of the State speech Thursday to the General Assembly in Dover.
A BLUNT INSTRUMENT
Posted: Jan. 17, 2011
The special election last Thursday for the New Castle County Council president was an opportunity for the voters to send a message, and so they did when they voted for Tom Kovach, the Republican, even though the registration is overwhelmingly Democratic.
Posted: Jan. 13, 2011
"Delaware Notebook" is a collection of noteworthy items around the state. This edition takes a look at Taxicab Two, the best transportation a Delaware politician can hope for, and the leadership of Pat Murray, the Kent County Republicans' former chair who died Monday.
THE SECOND TUESDAY IN JANUARY
Posted: Jan. 11, 2011
This is the day the state Constitution sets for the Delaware General Assembly to convene in Dover in Legislative Hall, but what are the lawmakers to do if the weather forecast makes more sense for them to stay home?
TRYING TO MAKE THE GOOD OUT OF THE BAD
Posted: Jan. 6, 2011
The Delaware Republicans are not kidding themselves about their chances for winning a special election for New Castle County Council president, not with the voter registration so stacked against them. If only the Democrats would forget to vote . . .
FLOWERS IN BLOOM
Posted: Jan. 4, 2010
Chip Flowers became part of the Delaware Democrats' near-monopoly of the statewide offices when he took his oath as state treasurer. Flowers comes in with expectations, but it is political gridlock out there.
Posted: Dec. 29, 2010
There have not been so many first-termers in the state's top offices of governor, senator and congressman in 40 years. The newcomers have a long way to go if they are to match the tenure of their predecessors, including Joe Biden, Tom Carper and Mike Castle.
"STINK, STANK, STUNK"
Posted: Dec. 15, 2010
The vote Tuesday for the state Senate's president pro tem gave the Republicans their best chance to have a real say in the chamber since they sunk into the minority 37 years ago. They were thwarted by one of their own.
THE MOST IMPORTANT HIP SOCKET IN DELAWARE
Posted: Dec. 13, 2010
When the Senate assembles Tuesday in Dover for a special session, Dave Sokola will be five days removed from hip surgery, making him unsure whether he can attend. It is just more drama for the vote on who will emerge as the president pro tem.
A SPARE HISTORY FOR A LEGISLATIVE COUP
Posted: Dec. 9, 2010
There is only the barest of historical precedent for the state Senate not to ratify the choice of the majority caucus for its president pro tem, but it has happened. It is worth remembering as the Senate prepares to vote next week.
THE CONSTITUTION SAYS
Posted: Dec. 7, 2010
The state constitution says judges can stay on the bench for 60 days after their terms expire, but no more. It means Vice Chancellor Leo Strine Jr. will run out of time before the state Senate comes back in January, so a very sticky special session is set for Dec. 14.
THE LEGISLATIVE LINEUP FOR LEADERSHIP
Posted: Dec. 2, 2010
The Republicans in the House of Representatives are the only caucus still to elect their leadership for the next session of the General Assembly. At least the Democrats in the Senate appear to have chosen theirs.
Posted: Nov. 29, 2010
Prying eyes have had their last look from the Legislative Hall corridor directly into the office of Tony DeLuca, the Senate's Democratic president pro tem, who ordered the construction of a new entrance for his corner suite.
Posted: Nov. 18, 2010
Seniority is not what it used to be, not after the voters got finished with their alterations to the Delaware congressional delegation and the General Assembly in the 2010 election. There is a new political order in the state.
FIRST IN JUDGING THE JUDGES
Posted: Nov. 15, 2010
The Delaware bench and bar spent an evening congratulating itself that the state does not elect judges or make them stand for retention or throw them out of office the way Iowa voters just did with three Supreme Court justices.
Posted: Nov. 11, 2010
After Election Day, all the top statewide offices in Delaware belonged to the Democrats, and a new generation was in place. The two-party system was teetering, and the fallout could leave both parties unsettled.
POLITICS GONE WILD
Posted: Nov. 8, 2010
Delaware is not the same after an election season that boggled the electorate with shock and awe at the voting booth, strange talk of witchcraft, an outbreak of double dipping and an incredibly shrinking Republican Party.
JIM SOLES' DAY
Posted: Nov. 3, 2010
The day after the election, Delaware's officialdom made a pilgrimage to St. James Episcopal Church near Newark for a memorial service for Jim Soles, the political science professor whose counsel was a fundamental element of state politics for decades.
RILED UP, READY TO GO
Posted: Nov. 2, 2010
The Delaware voters put a stop to the political circus surrounding Christine O'Donnell by electing Chris Coons to the Senate. They also bucked history by voting largely Democratic in a mid-term election when the president's party typically sustains losses.
PROFESSOR JIM SOLES, 1935-2010
Posted: Oct. 29, 2010
Jim Soles, a political science professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, left behind a legacy of peopling the state with a generation of political leadership when he died Friday morning at 75 years old.
NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHO PAID FOR THIS AD
Posted: Oct. 27, 2010
Someone is hiding behind a powerful cloak of anonymity and the U.S. Constitution to send out a series of mailings aimed at knocking the Democrats out of the majority in the state House of Representatives.
MARKELL HAS 37 EXTRA RACES TO WATCH
Posted: Oct. 22, 2010
Jack Markell has more going on this election season than the races at home in Delaware. The state's first-term governor also has some national responsibilities as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
Posted: Oct. 18, 2010
What were the odds that Barack Obama and Joe Biden would show up for a campaign event in Wilmington on the same date, scheduled ages ago, for Len Stark to take his oath as a judge on the U.S. District Court?
Posted: Oct. 14, 2010
Serious met silly Wednesday evening, when the University of Delaware in Newark hosted the much-anticipated Senate debate televised on CNN between Chris Coons for the Democrats and Christine O'Donnell for the Republicans.
Posted: Oct. 12, 2010
Chip Flowers, the Democratic candidate for state treasurer, invited the press to examine his love life. It was his way of trying to explain how a couple of his romantic relationships wound up in court proceedings.
Posted: Oct. 7, 2010
The Delaware Democrats are still adjusting to their improved prospects for this election season, but they were coming around to it earlier this week at the Belle Everett Dinner at the Felton fire hall in Kent County.
STATE REP. BRAD BENNETT STOPPED FOR DRUNKEN DRIVING
Posted: Oct. 5, 2010; updated
The re-election campaign for state Rep. Brad Bennett, a freshman Democrat from Dover, is being complicated by an arrest for drunken driving. He was stopped over the weekend in Lewes, as police there have confirmed.
A WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN IS WRITTEN OFF
Posted: Oct. 1, 2010
The Senate race between Chris Coons and Christine O'Donnell will go ahead without any interference from Mike Castle as a write-in-candidate. The day before the deadline, Castle said he would not run. Really, it was the only sensible choice he had.
Posted: Sept. 25, 2010
"Campaign Notebook" is a collection of items about political events in Delaware. This one takes a look at the first Republican gathering in the aftershocks of Primary Day and a candidate with a crime but no punishment.
Posted: Sept. 22, 2010
The fear factor is at an all-time high for incumbents because of the Republican primary for the Senate. If Mike Castle can be turned out of office after 30 years, what could be in store this election season for the rest of them?
ALL SHOOK UP
Posted: Sept. 17, 2010
Not just Mike Castle, not just the state Republican regulars, but the culture of Delaware politics itself was upended by the Primary Day voting that gave Christine O'Donnell the Republican nomination for the Senate.
A MIGHTY CASTLE IS TOPPLED
Posted: Sept. 14, 2010
The political world turned upside down, as Christine O'Donnell ended Mike Castle's 30-year run in statewide politics with an extraordinary upset in the Republican primary for the Senate. It left Delaware looking even more Democratic in the future.
A CANDIDATE WITH THE WRONG KIND OF RECORD
Posted: Sept. 10, 2010
All that is standing between Beau Biden and his second term as the Democratic attorney general is a candidate running on the ticket of the Independent Party of Delaware, but maybe not for long.
A TEMPEST IN A TEA PARTY
Posted: Sept. 7, 2010
Delaware politics is experiencing its first Internet frenzy with a deluge of attention being paid to the Republican primary for the Senate between Mike Castle and Christine O'Donnell. Chalk it up to a tempest in a tea party.
Posted: Sept. 3, 2010
In an unusual turn of events, the Democratic primary on Sept. 14 could be a day of reckoning for two countywide officials, one upstate in New Castle County and one downstate in Sussex County. It rarely happens here in Delaware.
WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN CONCEPTION
Posted: Sept. 1, 2010
Thomas Jefferson was dragged into a telling dialogue during a radio debate, hosted Tuesday by WDEL, between Michele Rollins and Glen Urquhart, the candidates in the Republican congressional primary.
DEMOCRATS' DREAM DELEGATION
Posted: Aug. 29, 2010
The Delaware Democrats built a congressional delegation in the sand when they gathered Saturday evening at Cape Henlopen State Park to kick off their campaign season, as always, at the Sussex County Beach Jamboree.
THE POLITICAL DOG THAT DID NOT BARK
Posted: Aug. 25, 2010
Delaware has races that will help decide which party controls the Senate and House of Representatives. It has Republican primaries for both, featuring contests between a party regular and a tea party type. Yet something is missing.
JUSTICE IS JUST US
Posted: Aug. 13, 2010
The smallest of crimes takes an army of people to stop what they are doing in order to spend hours and hours in a courtroom for a jury trial, as happened this week. If justice were not blind, her eyes would be glazed over.
OFF THE BENCH
Posted: Aug. 9, 2010
After 25 years as a federal judge, Joe Farnan is not taking the typical route of easing into retirement by going on senior status. He has plans. So do the lawyers who are lined up in hopes of replacing him on the U.S. District Court.
SAVED BY THE COURTS
Posted: Aug. 5, 2010
Delaware officials can exhale. There appears to be a way around holding a special congressional election, if Mike Castle were to be elected to the Senate and depart early from the state's lone seat in the House of Representatives.
MUSICAL POLITICS WITH TOO MANY CHAIRS
Posted: Aug. 3, 2010
When the Delaware voters elect a new senator in November to the seat where Joe Biden once sat, there could be a domino effect leading to some unexpected chaos. The problem is just now starting to dawn on state officials. This is not a joke.
PUT THE LT. GOV IN CHARGE OF "NOT YO' MAMA'S BANANA PUDDING"
Posted: July 29, 2010
It was the job of Matt Denn, the lieutenant governor, to go to the Delaware State Fair in Harrington as the official host for Paula Deen and her extravagant recipes. This, from an administration that promotes healthy living.
PHIL GRAMM ENLISTS FOR A NEW BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE
Posted: July 27, 2010
Phil Gramm, the ex-senator from Texas, was here Monday to aid the Delaware Republicans in their effort to take back a state representative district in Brandywine Hundred, where the politics are not going their way.
SUSSEX IS ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF POLITICS
Posted: July 23, 2010
The situation is normal in Sussex County -- non-stop politics, no real need to wait for an election year. It got an extra stir from John Atkins, the Democratic state representative, and Vance Phillips, the Republican president of the County Council.
POLITICS OF THE ABSURD
Posted: July 21, 2010
Nobody could make up the stuff that has been happening in Delaware politics since Joe Biden ran two years ago as the Democratic candidate for vice president. Even his son is part of something that apparently has not occurred for 124 years.
HUFFING AND PUFFING TO BLOW THE HOUSE DEMOCRATS DOWN
Posted: July 16, 2010
The Delaware Republicans are determined to put enough seats in play to take back the majority in the state House of Representatives. What happens could have a lot to do with Beau Biden. Really.
PICK A PARTY, ANY PARTY
Posted: July 13, 2010
After years of increasing numbers of "fusion" candidacies, with people running for office on two party lines, it went extreme this time. A legislative candidate filed as a Democrat, Republican and Libertarian. But apparently not for long.
ONE LAST SURPRISE
Posted: July 9, 2010
The Delaware Republicans thought they would have three open seats to defend in the state House of Representatives. In a surprise move after the legislative session ended, Dick Cathcart made it four. Not helpful to a caucus trying to climb out of the minority.
THE ABCs OF LEGISLATIVE HALL
Posted: July 7, 2010
The legislative session is history, but before all the attention turns to the 2010 election, there is still time to take a look back at life in the Delaware General Assembly from A to Z.
THE LONGEST NIGHT
Posted: July 1, 2010
There was not much left up the Delaware General Assembly's collective sleeve, when it broke for the year after the customary marathon session that began June 30 in Legislative Hall in Dover and went into the early hours of the next day.
THE WIZARD OF O
Posted: June 25, 2010
Legislative Hall is losing one of its masters. The House of Representatives paid tribute to Bill Oberle, a Republican lawmaker who was the man behind the curtain during 34 years in the Delaware General Assembly in Dover.
SHOOTOUT FOR SHERIFF
Posted: June 22, 2010
The New Castle County Democrats deadlocked last week on an endorsement for sheriff between Mike Walsh and Trinidad Navarro. It has turned into quite the feud with a cameo appearance from Tom Gordon, the former county executive.
UP WITH HER HEAD
Posted: June 16, 2010
Paint preserves the governors. Ruth Ann Minner, the Democratic governor from 2001 to 2009, had her portrait unveiled in Legislative Hall in Dover last week to join the portrayals of her predecessors in painting over any shortcomings.
A FAREWELL FOR ADA LEIGH SOLES
Posted: June 14, 2010
Flags were at half-staff, and governors sat in the pews of a tidy church with a colonial history, as Delaware's officialdom gathered Monday near Newark to remember Ada Leigh Soles and her contributions to civic life.
THE REVENGE OF THE REPUBLICAN MODERATES
Posted: June 10, 2010
The Delaware Republicans are looking for a moderate comeback this election year, that is, fielding moderate candidates with the potential to bring their party back. The strategy was on full display at the "Salute at Vicmead," their premier event.
REMEMBERING ADA LEIGH SOLES, 1937-2010
Posted: June 8, 2010
Ada Leigh Soles was that rare legislator who could put the crassness and bedlam of the legislature to shame. With her death Monday, her place in politics was being remembered for her own role and her wife-and-husband partnership with Jim Soles, a political scientist.
Posted: June 6, 2010
"Campaign Notebook" is a collection of noteworthy political items around the state. This edition takes a look at a mash-up of an event in Milton and a particular distinction of Delaware's congressional delegation.
HEIL THOMAS JEFFERSON
Posted: June 2, 2010
A new YouTube video posted as "Urquhart's Gaffe" shows Glen Urquhart, one of the Republican candidates for the state's lone congressional seat, taking unusual liberties with the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.
GOVERNORS "R" US
Posted: May 28, 2010
A pair of Republican ex-governors from New Jersey and Virginia came to Delaware to help out a campaign. This would not be unusual if it were for, say, Mike Castle for senator, but for Colin Bonini? Running for state treasurer?
TO ENDORSE OR NOT TO ENDORSE
Posted: May 26, 2010
For the second election in a row, the Democrats are tossing and turning over endorsing their statewide candidates. The angst they had the last time, deciding between Jack Markell and John Carney for governor, is not exactly what they are experiencing this time.
NO GOOD DEED GOES PAST SECURITY
Posted: May 20, 2010
The day Beau Biden was taken to Christiana Hospital for a mild stroke, there was no chance of skirting security to see him, not even for an old friend who had a good sense of what he was going through.
BETTER RINO THAN WINO
Posted: May 16, 2010
Never mind what the rest of the country is doing. The Delaware Republicans did not throw the Establishment out, but in, when they endorsed Mike Castle for senator and Michele Rollins for congresswoman at their state convention.
REPUBLICANS GET READY TO RUMBLE IN REHOBOTH
Posted: May 13, 2010
The Delaware Republicans are counting on voter restlessness for a comeback year in state politics. They start in earnest this weekend at their state convention in Rehoboth Beach, where they have a lot riding on their endorsement for the congressional seat.
ANOTHER INHOSPITABLE STAY IN HOSPITAL FOR BEAU BIDEN
Posted: May 11, 2010
Beau Biden has had more than his share of hospital stays, more than his share of them perplexing, with his admission Tuesday after a mild stroke as a 41-year-old attorney general who seemed to be in robust health.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS WANT OUT OF THE BASEMENT
Posted: May 6, 2010
The Republicans lost their majority in the state House of Representatives in the last election, and they want it back. They are rushing out candidates in their determination to get out of the Legislative Hall basement, where the offices for the minority are located.
A KINDER, GENTLER GRIDIRON
Posted: May 3, 2010
The quota for squirming was down this year, when Delaware's political, legal and business elite converged for the annual First State Gridiron Dinner & Show, held Saturday evening at the Wilmington Riverfront.
NOT ENOUGH OXYGEN
Posted: April 30, 2010
The Delaware Republicans have had a strong recruiting year for their statewide ballot, except for attorney general, even though the Democratic incumbent has the name they love to hate -- Biden. They could use someone before their state convention in two weeks.
CASTLE IS -- WHERE ELSE? -- IN THE MIDDLE OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Posted: April 27, 2010
Election year or not, the Democrats in Washington took their bill on campaign spending and hooked up with Mike Castle, even if they do want Delaware's Republican congressman to lose his race for the Senate.
THERE'S GOLD IN THEM THAR CANDIDATES
Posted: April 21, 2010
Vance Phillips, the Sussex County Council president, stirred up the state's political class when he showed up on the payroll of Glen Urquhart, the Republican congressional candidate. One almost-candidate was not surprised, though.
FORTY YEARS IN THE MAKING
Posted: April 19, 2010
When Chris Coons, the Democratic executive of New Castle County, declared his candidacy for the Senate with the customary statewide tour, it deserved more of a place in Delaware's political history than what was simply apparent.
DON'T MESS WITH TAXES
Posted: April 15, 2010
The IRS has a way of getting someone's attention. In observance of Income Tax Day, here is a cautionary tale involving Colin Bonini, the state senator who is running as a Republican candidate for treasurer.
POLITICAL EMANATIONS AT THE ROLLINS HOME
Posted: April 9, 2010
The Chateau Country home of Michele Rollins, the Republicans' new candidate for Congress, was the site of one of the most fateful meetings in Delaware political history, and it looks like it has figured into events again.
REPUBLICANS GET ROLLINS FOR CONGRESS
Posted: April 7, 2010
With a blast e-mail to supporters, Michele Rollins became a Republican candidate for the congressional seat against John Carney, the former Democratic lieutenant governor, and gave her party the ticket it was looking for.
Posted: April 2, 2010
Delaware's congressional delegation is doing its best to tiptoe through the spring recess, traditionally a time to hold town hall meetings. That was before the day politics came with an influx of birthers, the health care debate and tea parties.
SHOW OFF THE MONEY
Posted: March 31, 2010
Today is the last day for federal candidates to collect contributions before filing their quarterly campaign finance reports. Mike Castle already showed he could pull in a million bucks in his first quarter as a Senate candidate. Now it is Chris Coons' turn to show off the money.
THE MID-TERMS ARE COMING! THE MID-TERMS ARE COMING!
Posted: March 26, 2010
The mid-term elections, like the one in 2010, are typically an opportunity for the party not holding the White House to pick up seats. This is true not only for the Congress, but actually for the Delaware General Assembly, as well.
REPUBLICANS WANT TO PARTY LIKE 1994
Posted: March 23, 2010
Delaware Republicans went to Rehoboth Beach for a Lincoln Day dinner, delayed from February by the snow, in an upbeat mood about Michele Rollins, who could be their congressional candidate, and the election, which could be their best since 1994.
Posted: March 19, 2010
The office that first brought Governor Jack Markell and Senator Tom Carper to the voters' attention has attracted three candidates this campaign season, each with a different perspective on what the state treasurer should do.
THE LOT OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNORS
Posted: March 16, 2010
Patience is an indispensable trait for the ranks of Delaware's lieutenant governors as they try to advance in politics. The latest example is John Carney, the Democratic congressional candidate who used to be the lieutenant governor.
THE END OF PROZAC POLITICS
Posted: March 11, 2010
Centuries can go by without Delaware finding itself at the center of national politics, but that is where it is now. There are two central races for federal office, and it is all because a tiny state like this one got itself a vice president.
MICHELE ROLLINS FOR CONGRESS?
Posted: March 8, 2010
Michele Rollins, one of the best-known business executives in Delaware, is giving the Republicans hope that the state's only congressional seat, which is being vacated by Mike Castle so he can run for the Senate, may not go to the Democrats, after all.
THE POINT OF NO POLITICAL RETURNS
Posted: March 5, 2010
Statewide candidates need time to raise money and build a campaign organization. That time is pressing upon the Delaware Republicans, whose preparation is lagging for the congressional seat and attorney general.
HOUSE OF LORDS
Posted: March 2, 2010
The state Senate is looking like an afterthought in the 2010 election. In a chamber already known for not much turnover, there is really nothing to disrupt the Democratic majority that holds a 15-6 advantage and has kept control since 1973.
IT TAKES A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY
Posted: Feb. 26, 2010
With the control of the state House of Representatives hanging in the balance, an incumbent expecting a strenuous challenge ought to be socking away about $70,000 in contributions. It proved to be a benchmark figure in 2008.
"HE'S THE CABINET SECRETARY, TELLING ME TO STEP ASIDE"
Posted: Feb. 23, 2010
Frank Ursomarso, the Wilmington car dealer, was working at the White House when Ronald Reagan was shot and Alexander Haig, the secretary of state who died Sunday, said he was in charge. Ursomarso tried to stop him. A rare White House photo accompanies the tale.
TEST OF WILLS
Posted: Feb. 19, 2010
The county register of wills, an elected office only a political insider could love, is getting attention far beyond its customary stature because of a vacancy in New Castle County. It is a headache for Gov. Jack Markell.
Posted: Feb. 17, 2010
The curious case of parallel political lives continues for Mike Castle and Tom Carper, as Castle's campaign for the Senate could put them both in the same office at the same time. It would be a notable turn of events.
Posted: Feb. 12, 2010
Delaware's lone seat in the House of Representatives has been on the Republican side of the aisle for 18 years. The party can count on a favorable political climate for keeping it, except for one problem. No candidate.
'SNOW FUN IN POLITICS
Posted: Feb. 8, 2010
The weekend snowstorm packed a filibuster for Delaware politics, as it disrupted travel plans for some state Democrats on their way to Washington and came close to shutting down a Republican event here at home.
STREAKS ARE IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Posted: Feb. 5, 2010
The Delaware Republicans are enjoying a winning streak in special elections since the 2008 election, but the Delaware Democrats are on a special kind of run they can date back 10 years earlier to the 1998 election.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS: PRE-2010 MOVES THAT MATTERED
Posted: Feb. 3, 2010
There were no tea leaves or Ouija boards to tell Delaware politicians what they should do in 2009 to get ready for the election year. Now in hindsight, they can see that what they did then determined where they are now.
COONS IS READY TO RUN, OF COURSE
Posted: Jan. 29, 2010
Beau Biden was scarcely out of the way as the Democratic candidate for the Senate race when Chris Coons was rushing toward it, even if it meant giving up all the sewers and libraries he oversees as the New Castle County executive.
BEAU DOES NOT GO
Posted: Jan. 25, 2010
Not politics, but the case of the Sussex County pediatrician has put the Senate seat off-limits for Beau Biden. The Democratic attorney general is running for re-election, not the office given up by his father when he became the vice president.
Posted: Jan. 22, 2010
If Massachusetts can vote for a Republican, the Delaware Republicans would like to believe it can happen here, too. It has given them a sense of momentum as they put together their statewide ticket. Could Charlie Copeland run, after all?
Posted: Jan. 19, 2010
"Delaware Notebook" is a collection of noteworthy items around the state. This edition takes a look at an unusual concentration of executive lines of succession and a politician's latest filing -- not for office, but for bankruptcy.
THE THREE Rs OF LEGISLATIVE RACES
Posted: Jan. 15, 2010
Republicans want to whittle away at the Democratic control of the Delaware General Assembly, especially with redistricting in the offing, but they cannot even count for much from the Three Rs of legislative races -- retirement, rookies and registration.
"THE BIDEN STANDARD"
Posted: Jan. 12, 2010
The officialdom from Washington, D.C., and Delaware gathered Tuesday morning in Brandywine Hundred for the funeral of Jean Biden, the mother of the vice president and the grandmother of the state attorney general, the woman who set the "Biden Standard."
Posted: Jan. 7, 2010
There was nothing to predict that Bill Oberle would become the longest-serving Republican legislator in Delaware history, but as he prepares to depart, the record is his, along with a reputation as the ultimate workhorse.
STATE REP. BILL OBERLE WILL RETIRE, SO WILL REP. PAM THORNBURG
Posted: Jan. 6, 2010; updated
After 34 years as a legislator, Rep. Bill Oberle has told his Republican caucus mates he will not run for re-election this year. His departure will deprive the Republicans of a practiced lawmaker who could be counted on to carry a district that was overwhelmingly Democratic.
OH! OH! GOOD-BYE TO THE '00s
Posted: Jan. 4, 2010
The decade of the '00s is history, and Delaware was a different place at the beginning than it was at the end. Here is a look back at 10 events that shaped the state during the past 10 years. For some of them, it is farewell, and for others, good riddance.
Posted: Dec. 22, 2009
New Castle County has been the limit for its county executives. Chris Coons had thoughts of breaking out by going for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, even though he has two years left on his term, but the county hemmed him in.
A JUDGESHIP FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Posted: Dec. 17, 2009
Visions of a Superior Court judgeship are dancing in the heads of three lawyers who made the cut to be considered for it. A list has gone to Gov. Jack Markell, who has to nominate someone to replace retiring Judge John Babiarz.
OVERDUE FOR APPOINTMENTS
Posted: Dec. 15, 2009
With nearly a quarter of President Barack Obama's term gone, Delaware is still waiting for nominees for a federal judge and U.S. attorney. There is a leading candidate for each post, and the names could be announced early in 2010.
SENATOR FOR A SPELL
Posted: Dec. 11, 2009
Ted Kaufman expected only to work in the United States Senate, not to join it, but there he is, the junior Democratic senator from Delaware. Not that anyone should have been surprised Kaufman was the one to replace his old boss.
CAMPAIGNS ON HOLD
Posted: Dec. 8, 2009
Beau Biden is holding up the campaign for attorney general, not just for his fellow Democrats but for the Republicans, too, as he takes his time about switching to the Senate race he is expected to join. He is also making people nervous.
MIKE CASTLE GETS THE CONSERVATIVES TO BLINK
Posted: Dec. 3, 2009
Mike Castle is the sort of Republican who is an enticing target to conservatives, even if he represents the best chance his party has to pick up a Senate seat. So far he has managed to dodge litmus tests and primary challengers.
BONINI LOOKS SERIOUS THIS TIME
Posted: Nov. 30, 2009
Colin Bonini, the Republican state senator from Kent County, has no one to blame but himself for his reputation as an odd-numbered-year candidate, someone who talks about running for higher office but never does. This time it looks different.
ALSO-RANS ALSO RUN
Posted: Nov. 20, 2009
The 2010 ballot appears to be attracting a number of candidates on the rebound. It is perfectly acceptable in a state that has a tradition of granting second chances, sometimes to some of the best-known political figures it ever had.
Posted: Nov. 17, 2009
"Campaign Notebook" is a collection of items about political events in Delaware. This one takes a look at the curious cases of people whose close encounter with campaign sign-ups was not what they expected.
BILL CLINTON'S "STATE OF THE WORLD" ADDRESS
Posted: Nov. 12, 2009
There was not much Bill Clinton did not say as he spoke to a crowd of mesmerized Delaware Democrats, gathered Tuesday evening in Wilmington for their Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. Yes, he mentioned Beau Biden.
CASTLE IN THE CROSSHAIRS
Posted: Nov. 10, 2009
Guess who was the Republican congressman singled out by the Democratic National Committee before the health care vote Saturday in the House of Representatives? What could have been the reason for it?
FOUR LESSONS FROM FOUR RACES
Posted: Nov. 6, 2009
Delaware does not hold elections in the odd-numbered off-years, but other states do. Four races in particular in Virginia, New Jersey and New York provided four lessons foreshadowing the election that will be held here in 2010.
CLINTON & COLBERT? THIS IS IT!
Posted: Nov. 3, 2009
What is going on when Bill Clinton and Stephen Colbert pay attention to Delaware? The high rollers of politics and comedy are a sure sign of the significance the state will have in the 2010 election season.
BACK FROM IRAQ
Posted: Oct. 30, 2009
Beau Biden talks about the year he spent as a JAG captain with his National Guard unit on assignment to Iraq and his return to Delaware, where his term as attorney general is expected to give way to a candidacy for his father's old seat in the U.S. Senate.
Posted: Oct. 20, 2009
"Campaign Notebook" is a collection of items about some recent entries in candidates' checkbooks. It takes a look at the money side of politics for Joe Biden, who is closing a campaign account, and for John Carney, who is opening one.
Posted: Oct. 15, 2009
The Republicans have Mike Castle running for the Senate. Maybe they will have Charlie Copeland running for the Congress. That arrangement got an assist from a Democrat, who all but pronounced them ticket mates.
MIKE CASTLE'S PARTY
Posted: Oct. 10, 2009
The "Salute at Vicmead," the Delaware Republicans' biggest fund-raiser, got a lot better once Mike Castle decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Otherwise, the best the party had to celebrate was winning three special elections for the legislature.
Posted: Oct. 6, 2009
Mike Castle is in the Senate race. Beau Biden probably will be. The anticipation of this campaign is galvanizing the political parties and propelling Delaware into the front lines of the struggle for the U.S. Senate in 2010.
CASTLE TO RUN FOR THE SENATE
Posted: Oct. 6, 2009
Congressman Mike Castle, a nine-term Republican and ex-governor, announced Tuesday at a press conference that he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, setting up what could be a titanic race against Beau Biden, the Democratic attorney general and son of the vice president.
A TRICK OF THE POLITICAL TRADE
Posted: Oct. 5, 2009
Gov. Jack Markell is signing bills into law this week. The Delaware General Assembly passed the bills in June, and the state constitution gives the governor 10 days to deal with the legislation sent to him. It was all legal, because naturally there is a loophole.
WHEN BEAU COMES MARCHING HOME
Posted: Sept. 30, 2009
Dover went on vice presidential alert Wednesday as Joe Biden participated in homecoming ceremonies for National Guard troops including his son Beau Biden, the JAG captain, attorney general and a potential candidate for his father's old Senate seat.
KAUFMAN CLIMBS THE HILL
Posted: Sept. 25, 2009
Ted Kaufman has only been in the United States Senate since January, but he outranks five other senators. For the junior Democratic senator from Delaware, it is more than he expected in the realm of slower lower seniority.
NORTH OF IRRELEVANCE
Posted: Sept. 22, 2009
The Senate swore in Republican Joe Booth when it met Tuesday for a special session. His arrival raised the number of Republicans in the 21-member chamber to six and had them feeling a little less like an endangered species.
"THAT'S A LIE": THE DELAWARE PRECEDENT
Posted: Sept. 17, 2009
Congressman Joe Wilson startled the country last week with his outburst during the presidential address. It brought back memories to a Delawarean who was sitting in the chamber to hear it. His name is rather familiar.
SEVEN LESSONS FROM SEVEN RACES
Posted: Sept. 15, 2009
The state legislature has been spammed with special elections, seven of them coming since the 2006 general election. Now that they seem to have run their course, it is time to take stock of what they meant to Delaware politics.
REPUBLICANS CAN COUNT THEIR VOTES IN SUSSEX COUNTY
Posted: Sept. 12, 2009
Ruth Briggs King capitalized on the Republicans' political advantages in Sussex County to be elected state representative Saturday in a special election. She outpolled Rob Robinson, whose Sussex roots counted for less than his Democratic affiliation.
NATIONAL GUARD WITH BEAU BIDEN IS DUE HOME
Posted: Sept. 9, 2009
The invitations have gone out for homecoming ceremonies for the 261st Signal Brigade, the Delaware National Guard unit that includes Beau Biden. He returns home Sept. 30 to the attorney general's office and speculation about a Senate candidacy.
COUNTDOWN FOR CASTLE
Posted: Sept. 8, 2009
The Republicans invited to Congressman Mike Castle's annual reception over the Labor Day weekend in Rehoboth Beach wondered whether he would let them in on his plans, either to run for the Senate in 2010 or retire.
Posted: Aug. 31, 2009
Gov. Jack Markell made like a casting director for the Democratic ticket, as his party gathered Saturday evening for the annual Sussex County Democratic Jamboree among the sand dunes at Cape Henlopen State Park.
Posted: Aug. 27, 2009
"Campaign Notebook" is a collection of items from a summer of politics with two special elections, both in Sussex County for the state legislature. It takes a look at a watermelon divide, a prescient photo and a senatorial benchmark.
WHO'S THE BOSS?
Posted: Aug. 25, 2009
Thurman Adams, the late Democratic state senator, left behind the coveted posts of president pro tem and Executive Committee chair. The torch has passed, and the work goes on with some important business to conduct in September.
STIPENDS ARE FOR SENATORS
Posted: Aug. 20, 2009; updated: Aug. 24, 2009
The pay system in the Delaware General Assembly is honeycombed with stipends that provide something extra for the legislators who have leadership roles or certain committee assignments, particularly if they are state senators.
BUT HIS MOTHER'S A REPUBLICAN
Posted: Aug. 18, 2009
The special election next month in Sussex County has the Republicans defending a Republican seat in the state House of Representatives in a district that the Republicans drew to their own specifications. The Democrats responded with a careful selection of a candidate.
THE NAMES FOR CHANCERY COURT ARE IN
Posted: Aug. 13, 2009
Gov. Jack Markell has received a list of three candidates for an opening on the Court of Chancery, the premier forum for business law. His nominee for vice chancellor will come from a field composed of a judge and two lawyers. It is a decision that is being watched closely.
THANK YOU BUT NOT YOU
Posted: Aug. 11, 2009
Joe Booth, the Republican who won the special election for a state Senate seat in Sussex County, is throwing a party for the people who worked on his campaign. "Thank you" does not seem to be the only message he wants to send.
IT'S JOE. IT'S THE VICE PRESIDENT. IT'S SUPER SENATOR!
Posted: Aug. 6, 2009
From a bobble-head doll to port-a-potties to pop-up appearances, the vice presidency of Joe Biden is very much of a Delaware phenomenon. It has been going on since Barack Obama put him on the Democratic presidential ticket almost a year ago.
0-FOR-11 YEARS IS OVER
Posted: Aug. 3, 2009
Republican Joe Booth got himself promoted from the state House of Representatives to the Senate in a special election Monday in Sussex County. He also obliterated a Republican record of futility after more than a decade.
Posted: July 28, 2009
"Congressional Notebook" is a collection of items about Delaware's Capitol Hill delegation of Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Ted Kaufman and Rep. Mike Castle. This edition takes a look at the 2010 congressional race, judicial nominations and one member's claim to fame.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS
Posted: July 23, 2009
Beau Biden's campaign account swelled last year, even though he was in Iraq with his National Guard unit and out of politics. It was as mysterious as his intentions for the 2010 election, when he could be on the Democratic ballot for attorney general or the Senate.
SPECIAL ELECTION NUMEROLOGY
Posted: July 21, 2009
The votes are the numbers that really will count in the special election to replace state Sen. Thurman Adams, the Sussex County Democrat who died last month, but in the meantime, there are other numbers that tell a tale.
THIS TIME IT HARDLY COUNTS
Posted: July 17, 2009
The oddity of voting on a Monday in August is only the beginning of what could keep down the turnout for a special election in Sussex County to replace Thurman Adams, the late Democratic senator from Bridgeville.
SUSSEX COUNTY'S WEST SIDE STORY
Posted: July 13, 2009
Western Sussex County is preparing for a special election next month to replace Thurman Adams, the late Democratic senator from Bridgeville. It is hard to believe what the Democrats and the Republicans -- but mostly the Democrats -- have done to try to lose it.
Posted: July 9, 2009
Incumbency for Delaware officeholders sometimes seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. From Joe Biden to the late Thurman Adams, they get elected and they stay elected. Here is a chart of the ones who hold the records for tenure.
Posted: July 7, 2009
"Delaware Notebook" is a collection of noteworthy items around the state. This edition takes a look at Littleton Mitchell, the great civil rights leader, as well as the Independence Day parade in Hockessin and a memorable observation of Legislative Hall in Dover.
NOT YOUR FATHER'S LEGISLATURE
Posted: July 1, 2009
The Delaware General Assembly was so unsettled for the 2009 session, with a new governor, a raft of rookie legislators, a new House majority and a monster shortfall in money, the trauma overshadowed some surprising changes.
A LAST PARADE FOR THURMAN ADAMS
Posted: June 28, 2009
The little town of Bridgeville was the host for Delaware's political elite Saturday at the funeral for state Sen. Thurman Adams. Vice President Joe Biden, the congressional delegation, the governor and hundreds of others accompanied Adams in his final procession.
"SENATOR ADAMS, REST IN PEACE"
Posted: June 25, 2009
Legislative Hall in Dover is in mourning over the death of Sen. Thurman Adams, the Democratic president pro tem, who proved to be an instinctively talented lawmaker from the start to the finish of his 36 years in the Delaware General Assembly.
THE OTHER TOM
Posted: June 23, 2009
With barely a ripple in the political universe, Delaware had a statewide official complete his 20th year in office. As a Republican and a downstater, he is an endangered species. No wonder he might as well be known as the other Tom.
WWCD? (WHAT WILL CASTLE DO?)
Posted: June 18, 2009
A golf outing was the latest addition to the guessing game revolving around Mike Castle, the nine-term Republican congressman, about his plans for 2010. He is nearing his own deadline for deciding what office he will run for, if at all.
THAT OLD RED, WHITE & BLUE MAGIC
Posted: June 16, 2009
When Gov. Jack Markell signed the open government bill into law on Friday, he thwarted the state Senate's last trick of trying to make it disappear by raising a constitutional question about its validity. Once upon a time, that gambit worked.
MILTON GETS MUSIC, MONEY & MARKELL
Posted: June 11, 2009
Something odd happened last weekend in Milton. A politician did not take contributions but helped to make them. The event was the Sixth Annual Summer Bash, which typically turns country music and gourmet fare into a fund-raiser for Jack Markell, but not this year.
Posted: June 8, 2009
Sometimes what appears to be normal actually can be momentous. It is happening in the state Senate right now. With little fuss, the chamber is on the verge of passing a version of the gay rights bill it long has shunned.
HAIL TO THE VICE SISTER
Posted: June 5, 2009
The vice president is not the only Biden who can get a crowd going. Valerie Biden Owens showed what she can do when she spoke to a Delaware Democratic women's group. She is Joe's sister, or as she prefers to call herself these days -- the vice sister.
A SAFE HOUSE FOR POLITICIANS TAKES IN MATT DENN
Posted: May 28, 2009
Matt Denn has spent the last five years making his way in politics, as he transformed himself from a lawyer to insurance commissioner to lieutenant governor. It has the appearance of steady progress, if only his salary had followed suit.
Posted: May 20, 2009
There is no better place for gauging who wants to be a candidate than the state conventions. The flocks were available for inspection last weekend when the Delaware Democrats and Republicans got together, the Democrats in Dover and the Republicans in Newark.
Posted: May 17, 2009
The Delaware Democrats and Republicans went into their conventions this weekend with different expectations but the same design -- to put the last election behind them and get ready for the next one.
TAXATION WITHOUT COMPENSATION
Posted: May 14, 2009
The state payroll seems virtually certain to take a hit because of the Great Recession. Gov. Jack Markell has proposed a cut of 8 percent. Is there anything worse than watching a paycheck shrink? Maybe for the judges there is.
FIGHTING WHILE THE FIGHTING IS GOOD
Posted: May 12, 2009
Only the Delaware Democrats would decide that their winning streak is so good, they ought to have a leadership fight. The party will have to sort out a race for state chair when it holds a convention this Saturday in Dover.
CHANCERY'S SLOW CHANGE
Posted: May 7, 2009
The turnover among the judges on the distinguished Court of Chancery, the bastion of business law, will not be as great as Delaware's corporate bar fretted it might be. Chancellor Bill Chandler is seeing to it personally.
SIMMER, BABY, SIMMER
Posted: May 5, 2009
The worst time for someone in Delaware officialdom to do something foolish is right before the First State Gridiron & Dinner Show, an annual political roast that brings together the state's elite for an evening in the spring. Myron Steele, this means you.
Posted: May 1, 2009
As the state's Democratic senior senator, Tom Carper is sending the White House a list of candidates to fill openings for a federal judge and U.S. attorney for Delaware. His influence could be determined by how senior Carper really is on matters Delawarean.
JOHN CARNEY'S SECOND ACT
Posted: April 28, 2009
John Carney is looking for a comeback following a come-down that saw him fail to win the governorship or secure an appointment to the U.S. Senate, despite clever political stickers saying, "Send J.C. to D.C." Never mind. He still could become "M.C." -- Member of Congress.
Posted: April 23, 2009
The campaign for the U.S. Senate seat, once monopolized by Joe Biden, will be the driving force in Delaware politics for the 2010 election. It is not something your father was used to, or even your grandmother. This is one rare event. Naturally it is attracting big names.
GOING, GOING, GONE?
Posted: July 15, 2008
When Ruth Ann Minner leaves office in January, it is all but certain that the first woman to be elected governor of Delaware will leave state politics with a void apparently no one saw coming. Ten years ago, it hardly seemed possible.
RAGE AGAINST THE DESK DRAWER
Posted: July 9, 2008
The state legislators with districts including Newark hosted a forum Tuesday evening for their constituents, who were suspicious about a number of the practices of the Delaware General Assembly. The legislators were, too.
A PHANTOM RETIREMENT, AFTER ALL
Posted: July 7, 2008
Just what the Republicans needed -- another seat for their threatened majority to defend in the state House of Representatives. A week after the Delaware General Assembly ended amid speculation that another Republican would be leaving, one is.
HE'S GOING EVERYWHERE, MAN
Posted: July 3, 2008
Jack Markell is rolling out his campaign for governor with "57 in 57," a tour that will take him to all of Delaware's 57 cities and towns over 57 hours. It is also taking him to unconventional politics in his rivalry with John Carney for the Democratic nomination.
NOT WITH A BANG, BUT A WHIMPER
Posted: July 1, 2008
The Delaware General Assembly slouched out of Dover and into history when it ended its two-year term on June 30 with the customary political pyrotechnics, maddening delays and some last good-byes for departing colleagues.
HOW BERNARD PEPUKAYI'S NOMINATION WAS SAVED
Posted: June 27, 2008
There was a flurry of legal activity, reaching all the way to the Delaware Supreme Court, before Bernard Pepukayi had his day in the state Senate, where the governor's deputy legal counsel was up for confirmation to a Family Court post.
Posted: June 26, 2008
An AFL-CIO endorsement in the Democratic gubernatorial primary eludes John Carney, but it is not his fault. Sam Lathem, the labor organization's leader, has a change of heart. Jack Markell, the other Democrat for governor, goes where no candidate has gone before.
FIGHTING WORDS? NOT FROM CARNEY
Posted: June 21, 2008
The climate, whether meteorological or political, was mild Saturday as Lt. Gov. John Carney declared his candidacy for governor and finessed his relationships with Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Treasurer Jack Markell, his rival for the Democratic nomination.
LAWS, SAUSAGES AND DEMOCRATIC ENDORSEMENTS
Posted: June 19, 2008
The Delaware Democratic Party took care of business its own way when its executive committee voted Wednesday on statewide endorsements, including the one prized by John Carney for governor. Not much met the public eye.
NEWS RELEASE: CARNEY LEADS LIST OF DEMOCRATIC ENDORSEMENTS
Posted: June 18, 2008
The Delaware Democrats' executive committee endorsed John Carney for governor in a meeting Wednesday evening. The backing for Carney and other statewide Democrats followed recommendations from county, city and local Democratic committees.
SOMEWHAT OLD, SOMEWHAT NEW
Posted: June 17, 2008
In the Democratic primary for governor, Lt. Gov. John Carney is trying to calibrate where he should be between traditional party politics and the new age of campaigning. Treasurer Jack Markell made his decision long ago.
A JUDGESHIP? JUST WHAT JOHN PARKINS ALWAYS WANTED
Posted: June 13, 2008
John Parkins' first stop out of law school was the court as a law clerk, and his last should be the court as a judge. Parkins, a partner at Richards Layton & Finger, is Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's choice for a Superior Court opening.
LEGISLATIVE WATCH LIST
Posted: June 12, 2008
Not all of the legislators will be back for the next term, and not just because of retirements. Delaware Grapevine lists the key races for the General Assembly in the 2008 election, as the current session points toward dismissal on June 30.
THOSE NAMES HAVE A FAMILIAR RING TO THEM
Posted: June 9, 2008
Yes, almost all of the names going to the governor for a Superior Court opening, caused by the retirement of Judge Susan Del Pesco, have been seen somewhere before. They were on the list the last time there was a vacancy, only to be short-circuited by politics.
MATT DENN MOWS ON
Posted: June 7, 2008
Matt Denn's unswerving sense of purpose is taking him from his current post as the Democratic insurance commissioner to a race for lieutenant governor against Charlie Copeland, the state Senate's Republican minority leader, who does not back down, either.
Posted: June 5, 2008
Tom Carper, one of Delaware's Democratic senators, tiptoes into delivering his support to Barack Obama in a move consistent with his character. Joe Biden, the other Democratic senator, has unmentionables turned into mentionable by a Capitol Hill newspaper.
VICMEAD'S GOOD VIBRATIONS
Posted: June 3, 2008
When the Delaware Republicans gathered Monday evening at the Vicmead Hunt Club in Chateau Country for their premier annual event, they had the revelation that there was more to them than a garden party. They actually were a political party, after all.
Posted: May 30, 2008
State Rep. Bob Valihura could be in the running for a judgeship. He has a law degree from a good school. He has 21 years in as a member of the Delaware bar. What he does not have is an assurance the state constitution will let him.
Posted: May 28, 2008
When Wilmington Council President Ted Blunt announced that he was yanking himself out of the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, he did not bother to address a number of factors that were dragging down his candidacy.
LEG HALL LINGO
Posted: May 16, 2008
There is more to understanding the workings of the Delaware General Assembly than reading bills and checking the roll calls. The insiders have a language all their own, so here is a glossary for figuring out what they mean.
Posted: May 14, 2008
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Charlie Copeland makes a move to give himself running room. Joe Biden and Tom Carper answer a question from a Capital Hill newspaper they did not expect to be asked.
BILL LEE'S STATEMENT: "I'M IN"
Posted: May 13, 2008
Bill Lee officially entered the governor's race by filing his candidacy Tuesday with the state Elections Department, 10 days after the Delaware Republican Party drafted him at its convention. Here is his statement.
Posted: May 9, 2008
A week after the Delaware Republicans endorsed a ticket, the candidates for governor and insurance commissioner still are not on the campaign trail, but they are close. Congressman Mike Castle came out of the Republican convention needing his checkbook.
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
Posted: May 7, 2008
The Delaware Republicans installed Tom Ross as the new state chair at their convention Saturday in Dewey Beach. They got someone who is not an average Republican but already has made his mark in party politics.
THE RETURN OF BILL LEE
Posted: May 5, 2008
After the draft last weekend at the Republican state convention, Bill Lee has returned from political exile at Disney World with all the magic he needs to bring a campaign for governor to life. He sounds very much like someone on the verge of saying yes.
NOTHING CONVENTIONAL ABOUT THIS CONVENTION
Posted: May 3, 2008
The Delaware Republicans had themselves a throwback of a convention this weekend at Dewey Beach, where there was no script, but there were a draft, a clash for leadership, a resignation and almost as many candidates absent as present.
THE CHEMISTRY RETURNS TO THE DELAWARE REPUBLICANS
Posted: May 1, 2008
The Republican state convention this weekend in Dewey Beach could produce a gubernatorial ticket and a fight for a spot on the Republican National Committee -- events that could energize the party by tapping its deepest roots.
A PRIVATE LAW FIRM HARBORS A PUBLIC SIDE
Posted: April 27, 2008
The partners at Oberly Jennings & Rhodunda -- a former attorney general, former chief deputy attorney general and former New Castle County attorney -- are taking their law practice to another firm. It is not a surprise which one it is.
BILL LEE AND CHARLIE COPELAND COULD BE THE TICKET
Posted: April 25, 2008
After three barren months of watching the Democrats monopolize the gubernatorial field, the Republicans are working to resurrect themselves with the prospect of retired Judge Bill Lee for governor and state Senate Minority Leader Charlie Copeland for lieutenant governor.
DRAFTING BILL LEE
Posted: April 23, 2008
The Delaware Republicans are 10 days away from their convention, where they will be voting on endorsements for statewide candidates. Their field for governor is woefully thin. They could draft Bill Lee, but if they do, they will have to do it without him.
STATE SEN. STEVE AMICK WILL NOT RUN FOR RE-ELECTION
Posted: April 21, 2008
State Sen. Steve Amick, a Newark Republican with 22 years as a legislator, told his local newspaper Monday he will not run for re-election. His notice comes two weeks after state Rep. Bethany Hall-Long, a Middletown Democrat, announced she would seek the seat.
JUDGE JANE ROTH DOES THE UNTHINKABLE
Posted: April 18, 2008
Judge Jane Roth was put on the bench by Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush, two Republican presidents. She was married to Bill Roth, the late Republican senator. Jane Roth could not possibly change her party affiliation. Could she?
"THURMAN A., HE'S OK"
Posted: April 16, 2008
The Legislative Hall crowd pulled one over on state Sen. Thurman Adams Jr., the Democratic president pro tem who is usually in on everything, when it organized a banquet held in his honor Tuesday evening in Dover.
SURPRISE! A SUSSEX REPUBLICAN WANTS TO TAKE ON JOE BIDEN
Posted: April 15, 2008
Sussex County has something of a tradition for sending forth unknown Republican candidates to duel with mighty Democrats for their seats in the U.S. Senate. It worked once, a long time ago, and someone new wants to try in 2008 against Joe Biden.
NEVER SAY NEVER
Posted: April 11, 2008
Bill Lee was supposed to be finished with all thoughts of running for governor when he told the Delaware Republicans about a month ago to find somebody else. The longer they go without a candidate, the more his name resurfaces in a candidacy that will not die.
Posted: April 9, 2008
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. In the race for governor, a good Democrat can get confused. Secretary of State Harriet Smith Windsor takes some interesting phone calls. Insurance Commissioner Matt Denn gives from the office.
Posted: April 7, 2008
More than the highlights of electing national delegates took place Saturday in Dover at the Delaware Democrats' convention. There were also sidelights -- asides in speeches and in the political protocol for the day.
JOE BIDEN STEALS THE DAY AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
Posted: April 5, 2008
The Delaware Democrats met Saturday in Dover to elect delegates to their national nominating convention in Denver, and although Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton got their due, the state party's heart was still with Joe Biden, the favorite son.
FOR THE DEMOCRATS, IT COULD BE TIME TO PARTY LIKE IT IS 1982
Posted: April 3, 2008
Delaware's voter registration numbers are flowing in the Democrats' direction, driven by everything from unrest to the primary for governor. It is likely to affect the election for the state House of Representatives, where the Democrats have not had a victory party in decades.
Posted: March 31, 2008
The Delaware Republicans not only have had trouble finding someone of stature to run for governor. There also have been people declining to run for lieutenant governor. Call these folks the running-away mates.
ANOTHER REPUBLICAN SAYS NO TO GOVERNOR
Posted: March 27, 2008
The Republicans are up to four strikes and still are out a candidate for governor. State Rep. Donna Stone said she would not run, shortly before a party leadership meeting Wednesday evening when Terry Strine, the state chair, was hoping to announce that she would.
Posted: March 26, 2008
A council of consulting engineers takes the measure of Lt. Gov. John Carney and Treasurer Jack Markell, the Democratic candidates for governor. An invitation for a candidate for insurance commissioner finds its way to the wrong place.
MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL POLITICS, PART II
Posted: March 24, 2008
Got money? No one gets elected without it. Earlier this month, Delaware Grapevine charted the finances for the candidates in statewide races at the start of the 2008 campaign season. Here is a look at the candidates in key legislative contests.
Posted: March 20, 2008
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Democrats say what they have to say about state Rep. Nancy Wagner, a Dover Republican, without saying it. State Rep. Terry Spence, the Republican speaker, does what he always does.
SURPRISE, SURPRISE, CHRIS BULLOCK BACKS OUT
Posted: March 18, 2008
In a long courtship of politics, Chris Bullock has thought frequently about running for office. The Wilmington pastor finally made it look serious last month by announcing as a Democratic congressional candidate, but he got cold feet again.
WHAT'S A PARTY TO DO?
Posted: March 14, 2008
In the next three months, the Delaware Democrats will be figuring out what to do about a party endorsement for governor between Lt. Gov. John Carney and Treasurer Jack Markell, or maybe what not to do. It is an excruciating decision.
Posted: March 12, 2008
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Bill Lee chooses March madness over political madness. Tom Carper goes for athletic madness. Eliot Spitzer shows the difference between New York and Delaware madness.
Posted: March 10, 2008
It is beginning to look a lot like an election year around Legislative Hall. A Democratic representative takes a look at bumping a Republican senator. Letters are exchanged by Republicans about state Rep. Nancy Wagner, one of their own.
MORE WOE FOR NANCY WAGNER
Posted: March 7, 2008
A critical letter with 26 signatures provides new ammunition against state Rep. Nancy Wagner and her husband Bud over their public paychecks. Even worse for her, all of the signers are Republicans who are supposed to be on her side.
MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL POLITICS
Posted: March 5, 2008
Got money? No one gets elected without it. Delaware Grapevine provides a summary of the state of the financial state of the statewide candidates, from a bankroll of $2.5 million for Jack Markell to a six-figure debt that makes Dennis Spivack's treasury as iffy as his candidacy.
AS THE 41ST DISTRICT TURNS
Posted: March 3, 2008
John Atkins has careened back into the public arena, not even a year after he was run out of the legislature for conduct unbecoming. He has switched parties and filed for his old seat in the latest episode of soap-opera politics in the 41st Representative District in Sussex County.
RUMORS OF THE JUDGE'S CANDIDACY ARE GREATLY EXAGGERATED
Posted: Feb. 28, 2008
If Judge Susan Del Pesco is running for governor, it is news to her. Del Pesco, who is retiring from the Superior Court, came home from a vacation to discover the rumor spreading throughout Delaware. She is not now and will not be a candidate.
"A DELAWAREAN FOR ALL SEASONS"
Posted: Feb. 27, 2008
Where else but the Vicmead Hunt Club should there be a memorial service for Laird Stabler, the Republican stalwart who frequented it as the outdoorsman he was and as a politician attending events there? Hundreds of people came out for it.
RETIRE WHEN READY
Posted: Feb. 26, 2008
A plan that state Sen. John Still once had for restoring the Delaware Republican Party did not work out, and instead he is retiring after spending 20 years representing a Dover-area district he would like to turn over to a former mayor.
W. LAIRD STABLER JR., 1930-2008
Posted: Feb. 24, 2008
W. Laird Stabler Jr., a Republican national committeeman who never forget he was a Delawarean first, died early Sunday morning at home in Montchanin in the state he loved and served as its attorney general and U.S. attorney in 40 years of public life.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING IN POLITICS
Posted: Feb. 22, 2008
The Kent County Democrats are taking advantage of unfavorable news coverage of state Rep. Nancy Wagner, an eight-term Republican, to set up a showdown that could figure prominently in the contest for control of the state House of Representatives.
REPUBLICANS' "PLAN B" LOOKS BALKY
Posted: Feb. 19, 2008
The Sussex County Lincoln Day Dinner on Monday evening in Rehoboth Beach was another time for the Republicans to remind themselves they do not have a candidate for governor. There is a "Plan B" of sorts, but he is balking.
JUDGE DEL PESCO PREPARES TO HANG UP HER ROBE
Posted: Feb. 15, 2008
Judge Susan Del Pesco has told her colleagues that she intends to retire in May from the Superior Court, which was a different place when she arrived 20 years ago. Del Pesco was the first woman appointed to the court.
A SUPER-CHARGED DEBATE
Posted: Feb. 12, 2008
The Democrats' super-delegates -- the elected and party leaders who are free to vote for any presidential candidate they like -- have enflamed a new conspiracy theory about a stolen nomination. It would be helpful to remember who these super-delegates are.
CHRIS BULLOCK, OR CHANGE
Posted: Feb. 9, 2008
Change was afoot Saturday, as Chris Bullock declared his candidacy for Delaware's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, whether it was the change he wants to make in policy, his change in party or his change in the typical three-county announcement tour.
Posted: Feb. 7, 2008
Republican John Brady takes another bite out of politics by declaring for insurance commissioner and asking voters to "let the big guy work for you." The Democrats crunch the numbers and allot their presidential delegates, but it is not exactly chiseled in stone.
Posted: Feb. 5, 2008
Generational change came to the Delaware Democrats as Barack Obama won the presidential primary Tuesday with endorsements from John Carney and Jack Markell, the men who want to be governor. It was not so transitional on the Republican side with John McCain.
Posted: Feb. 4, 2008
With only a day to go before Delaware's presidential primary, the Clinton campaign rushed in Chelsea Clinton to the University of Delaware to counter the rival onslaught from Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in the contest for the Democratic nomination.
RODNEY SQUARE ROCKS WITH OBA-MANIA
Posted: Feb. 3, 2008
In a throwback to an era when politics was large-scale picnics and torchlight parades, 20,000 people interrupted their Super Bowl preparations Sunday to see Barack Obama bring his presidential campaign to Rodney Square in Wilmington.
MCCAIN BUILDS MOMENTUM IN DELAWARE
Posted: Feb. 1, 2008
Congressman Mike Castle and Tom Ridge, the Pennsylvania ex-governor who also was the Homeland Security secretary, went on a tour of Delaware on behalf of John McCain's Republican presidential campaign, picking up endorsements as they did.
MICHELLE OBAMA WOOS THEM AND WOWS THEM
Posted: Jan. 31, 2008
In Delaware's abbreviated season for the presidential primary, a visit from Michelle Obama provided an unanticipated jolt of excitement to a state that otherwise expects to be mostly an afterthought in the mass voting on Super Duper Tuesday.
STATE OF THE SEATING
Posted: Jan. 29, 2008
The presidential State of the Union addresses tend to be like high school with pep-rally cheering sections and lots of attention paid to who is sitting with whom. This year some of that attention was directed intently at the two Democratic senators from Delaware.
WHO'S GOT GAME FOR GOVERNOR?
Posted: Jan. 25, 2008
The Delaware Republicans entertained themselves Friday evening at a party dinner by wondering whom they would run for governor, now that Alan Levin has backed out, and whom they would choose for president, now that the primary is approaching.
Posted: Jan. 24, 2008
With 12 days to go until the presidential primary, the campaigns are turning their attention to Delaware, although not too much of it. The state's size leaves it largely lost in the voting of more than 20 states Feb. 5 on Super Duper Tuesday.
Posted: Jan. 23, 2008
Delaware politics has gone where it never has before, now that Jack Markell has raised $2.5 million to run for governor, a race that looks to be decided in a Democratic primary. Even before Alan Levin nixed his Republican candidacy, there was a bad omen.
THE POLITICS IS PASTORAL
Posted: Jan. 21, 2008
The annual Martin Luther King breakfast Monday at the Wilmington riverfront was part church service and part political rally, so much so that a pastor acknowledged he will declare his candidacy for office next month.
FEAR OF FILING
Posted: Jan. 18, 2008
Another election year, another collapse of the odd-numbered-year candidacies for the state legislators who envision themselves running for higher office, especially governor and lieutenant governor, until the time comes actually to do it.
LEVIN LEAVES THE REPUBLICANS UNHAPPY AND HARRIED
Posted: Jan. 17, 2008
The Delaware Republicans did not have the slightest hint that Alan Levin was having second thoughts about running for governor. Until Thursday morning, all they saw was a candidate deep into the preparations for a campaign that they believed would do the party proud.
NEWS RELEASE: LEVIN IS NOT RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR
Posted: Jan. 17, 2008
Alan Levin, whose entry as a Republican candidate for governor seemed a foregone conclusion, released a statement Thursday morning to say he has decided not to run. He called it "the best decision for me and my family."
ALAN LEVIN AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
Posted: Jan. 15, 2008
Alan Levin has ended a two-year term as chair of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, and he left everyone hanging at a gala dinner Monday in Wilmington by making his final remarks without talking about his plans for You-Know-What.
STEVE FORBES, A DELAWARE FAVORITE, RETURNS TO THE SCENE
Posted: Jan. 13, 2008
Three presidential elections ago, Steve Forbes and Delaware combined for a notable moment in American politics. He was back in the state Saturday to keynote the Republicans' Lincoln Day Dinner in Dover and renew the mutual admiration society.
A PRESIDENTIAL FREE-FOR-ALL FOR REPUBLICANS
Posted: Jan. 11, 2008
Pick a candidate, any candidate. The Delaware Republicans are. Leading officeholders and party officials are dividing their support for president among Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Mitt Romney in the state primary on Feb. 5.
FOUR OF A KIND
Posted: Jan. 9, 2008
Barack Obama has drawn a strong hand in endorsements for the Democratic presidential primary here, now that Lt. Gov. John Carney has added his backing to an unexpected and even confusing show of support.
NEWS RELEASE: MARKELL BANKS $2.5 MILLION FOR GOVERNOR'S RACE
Posted: Jan. 9, 2008
Jack Markell, the Democratic state treasurer running for governor, said he ended 2007 with $2.5 million in his campaign account after he raised $1.6 million in new contributions during the year, as he prepares for a potential primary against Lt. Gov. John Carney.
OBA-MANIA IS HERE
Posted: Jan. 7, 2008
Endorsements for Barack Obama and his presidential campaign for change are flying in from Delaware Democrats, with barely a pause after the collapse of the favorite-son candidacy of Joe Biden in the Iowa caucuses.
GONE WITH A NEW WIND
Posted: Jan. 4, 2008
The political wind in 2008 was not at Joe Biden's back, as his next-to-last finish Thursday evening in the Democratic presidential caucuses in Iowa showed. There was too much of the Senate about him to prevent him breaking through.
A CAVALRY OF ONE RIDES TO BIDEN'S AID
Posted: Jan. 2, 2008
With the Iowa caucuses set for Thursday to begin the presidential voting, Joe Biden got some help on the ground there last week from a loyal, if lonely, fellow Delaware Democrat backing his bid for the 2008 nomination.
Posted: Dec. 21, 2007
In the year of the special elections, the Delaware Democrats give credit to Howard Dean, their national chair, for a winning record. Pete du Pont's 20-year-old presidential campaign unexpectedly surfaces. The U.S. Supreme Court plays a joke on itself.
IT AIN'T SO, JOE
Posted: Dec. 20, 2007
As Joe Biden campaigned in Iowa for the Democratic presidential nomination, he talked about the 1972 crash that killed his wife and daughter, hospitalized his sons, and devastated himself, but what he said was not what happened.
Posted: Dec. 17, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The only Delawarean likely to get a pass for inserting politics into a football championship pops up during the University of Delaware's game. The beauty of a press release is in the eye of the issuer.
FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT OVER DELAWARE
Posted: Dec. 14, 2007
With the University of Delaware's championship football game on the line this Friday evening, a fugitive from the rival Appalachian State University has been hiding in plain sight in one of Delaware's best-known families.
WHERE'S FRED? NOT ON THE DELAWARE BALLOT
Posted: Dec. 12, 2007
There are more than 178,000 Republican voters in Delaware, and Fred Thompson's presidential campaign could not find 500 of them to sign petitions to get him on the primary ballot. It was not exactly a surprise.
Posted: Dec. 10, 2007
The filing deadline for presidential candidates looking for a spot on Delaware's primary ballot passed Monday, with Joe Biden among 13 candidates, Democrat and Republican, appearing to qualify. The Democrats only wish they had such a robust field for the Congress.
DECK THE HALLS WITH ANOTHER DEMOCRAT
Posted: Dec. 8, 2007
A new Democrat is on his way to Legislative Hall in Dover. William J. Carson Jr. won a special election Saturday for the state House of Representatives in the midst of the holiday season by outpolling Republican Christine Malec in a Kent County district.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, ATKINS STYLE
Posted: Dec. 5, 2007
A yearlong probation has ended for John Atkins, the Republican ex-representative who was driven out of Dover for legal and political misdeeds. With his legal woes behind him, he seems poised to see whether he can make the same sort of political move.
Posted: Dec. 3, 2007
The biggest clues in politics are supposed to come from following the money, but there is not much to follow in the special election Saturday for a Kent County seat in the state House of Representatives. After four legislative special elections, the parties still will not get to rest.
THE FICKLE FINGER OF FOOTBALL
Posted: Nov. 29, 2007
Not that Joe Biden needed any extra reason to go to Iowa this weekend, but the University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens gave him one with their quarterfinal football game against the University of Northern Iowa in a showdown made in political heaven.
BRUCE ENNIS AND THE BRUSTER
Posted: Nov. 27, 2007
Bruce Ennis had his day as he was sworn in Wednesday in Legislative Hall in Dover as the newest state senator during a special session, but he shared it with the memories of the man he replaced and a dog named the Bruster.
Posted: Nov. 20, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick, even at the presidential level. This is a column about that. Joe Biden has a political rally that needs a tent company to save the day. He also comes out on top in a survey of dubious distinction.
LEGISLATIVE WATCH LIST
Posted: Nov. 16, 2007
Election after election, there often is little change of consequence in the makeup of the General Assembly. The 2008 election is not likely to be one of them. More than a dozen seats already are in play, as the Delaware Grapevine's chart of the "Legislative Watch List" shows.
FUNNY THING ABOUT WINNING . . .
Posted: Nov. 13, 2007
The Kent County Democrats laughed it up Monday evening at their annual Belle Everett Dinner at the Felton Fire Hall as they prolonged their celebration of a landslide victory in a special election earlier this month for the state Senate.
Posted: Nov. 8, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Delaware Democrats put together an organization that even the Republicans can love. A Senate aide drives himself to the top of the organizational chart.
SPECIAL ELECTION NOTEBOOK
Posted: Nov. 6, 2007
There probably was more history made than it appeared when Bruce Ennis won the special senatorial election Saturday for the Delaware Democrats. The reward for the Democrats is another must-win special election to keep alive their hopes of a House majority.
DEMOCRATS KEEP VAUGHN'S SEAT IN A LANDSLIDE
Posted: Nov. 3, 2007
The voters in the 14th Senatorial District replaced one Democratic legislator who used to be a state trooper with another, when they went to the polls in a special election Saturday and chose Bruce E. Ennis for the seat held for 27 years by the late James T. Vaughn Sr.
POLITICAL TRICK OR TREAT
Posted: Nov. 1, 2007
The end of Halloween did not lift the mask on campaign spending by a new political action committee calling itself the "DCCC" and involving itself in the special election scheduled Saturday in a state Senate district.
IT HAD TO BE JOE
Posted: Oct. 30, 2007
Not surprisingly, the Delaware Democrats dedicated their Jefferson Jackson Dinner, the party's biggest event of the year, to their favorite son, but not just because Joe Biden is running for president. It also distracted them from other things.
Posted: Oct. 25, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick, even in the presidential campaign. This is a column about that. Joe Biden plans a couple of big events that nobody may hear about. He gets some help in Iowa from New Castle County Executive Chris Coons.
A LAWYER SAVES THE REPUBLICANS FROM THEMSELVES
Posted: Oct. 22, 2007
Campaign finance laws are so complicated, they are something only a lawyer could love. That is the reason it pays to have a lawyer review what a campaign is doing -- even if it comes after the fact, as the Republicans just found out.
THE CASE FINALLY IS CLOSED ON JOHN ATKINS
Posted: Oct. 19, 2007
Nearly a year after former state Rep. John C. Atkins' arrest for a domestic fight, a report finally became public from the state Justice Department, clearing him of a nagging allegation that he tampered with a witness by trying to silence a babysitter who was present.
Posted: Oct. 18, 2007
The Internet comes with an implicit warning to beware its content because of the ease with which it can be altered. An example can be found on the Website of the Republican candidate in the upcoming special legislative election.
Posted: Oct. 17, 2007
There was a sense of spy-versus-spy last week in the Democratic gubernatorial contest between Lt. Gov. John Carney and Treasurer Jack Markell. Another possible candidacy against Mike Castle, the Republican congressman, is snuffed out.
A DIFFERENT ROLL CALL
Posted: Oct. 16, 2007
Legislative Hall seemed to be transported from Dover to Smyrna when dozens of state officials, including Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, assembled Tuesday morning for the funeral of James T. Vaughn Sr., the Democratic state senator who died last week.
A SALUTE AND A WINK
Posted: Oct. 15, 2007
Delaware Republicans gathered Friday evening at Vicmead Hunt Club in Chateau Country for their premier annual event. It was a salute to an officeholder they have and to one they would like to have.
RUDY, YES, BUT BUSH, NO, AND JOE BIDEN, MAYBE SO
Posted: Oct. 12, 2007
A new poll of Delaware voters by Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey shows Rudy Giuliani on the right track, George Bush on the wrong track and Joe Biden on two different tracks, one for the Senate and one for the presidency.
STATE SEN. JAMES T. VAUGHN SR., 1925-2007
Posted: Oct. 11, 2007
James T. Vaughn Sr. took care of his last public business two weeks ago when he resigned from the state Senate. Vaughn, at 82-year-old Clayton Democrat, died Wednesday after a lifetime of duty that he performed his way.
Posted: Oct. 9, 2007
The leading candidates for governor are running now-you-see-them-now-you-don't campaigns with more than a year to go before the election, but make no mistake about it, they are working harder than it may appear to the naked eye.
SPECIAL ELECTION TRIVIA
Posted: Oct. 5, 2007
The legislative special election to replace James T. Vaughn Sr., a Democrat who resigned from the state Senate, is creating a number of records and oddities, all coming weeks before the voting Nov. 3 in the district spanning New Castle County and Kent County.
Posted: Oct. 3, 2007
The rush to judgment with the squished schedule of presidential primaries and caucuses could become orderly under the Delaware Plan, a proposal to unpack the states. The family tradition in state politics has new adherents.
STATE GOP CHOOSES SCHOOL BOARD LEADER FOR SPECIAL ELECTION
Posted: Sept. 29, 2007
Delaware Republicans hustled to get a candidate in place for the special election caused by the resignation of state Sen. James T. Vaughn Sr., a Democrat who served for 27 years, and came up with Joanne Christian, the president of the Appoquinimink School Board.
A NEW POLITICAL COMBO
Posted: Sept. 28, 2007
As one of only two Republican statewide officeholders, Congressman Mike Castle is adept at working across the aisle. His routine dealings with Democratic Sen. Tom Carper are well known, but he found a new avenue because of a children's health bill.
DEMOCRATS TAP REP. BRUCE ENNIS FOR SPECIAL ELECTION
Posted: Sept. 27, 2007
Within hours of the announcement that state Sen. James T. Vaughn Sr. was resigning for health reasons, his fellow Democrats had a candidate in place to run for his seat. State Rep. Bruce C. Ennis was an obvious choice -- and a speedy one, outdistancing the Republicans.
VAUGHN TO RESIGN FROM THE STATE SENATE
Posted: Sept. 26, 2007
After 27 years in the legislature, state Sen. James T. Vaughn Sr. acknowledged that his poor health means he no longer can do the job. The resignation sets up a special election to replace the conservative Democrat in a district spanning New Castle County and Kent County.
THE MYSTERY OF MICHELE ROLLINS
Posted: Sept. 24, 2007
There is really no such thing as a coincidence in politics. It meant there was a lot of speculation about what it meant when Michele Rollins was invited to give a speech at a dinner for the Republican Party, which has a lot of holes on its statewide ticket.
Posted: Sept. 21, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. A decision by the Newark Council lets the General Assembly dodge another special election. A candidate is alive to campaign for votes today in spite of his upbringing.
A BOOK BRINGS JOE BIDEN BACK
Posted: Sept. 19, 2007
Joe Biden is doing book signings for Promises to Keep, his personal and political memoir, because of his commitment to the publisher, but the one he did Monday evening in Elsmere was more than a book signing. It was a homecoming.
CARNEY BRISTLES NO MORE
Posted: Sept. 17, 2007
There is something different now about Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr., a two-term Democrat running for governor. He is showing the effects of a campaign fund-raiser that was held for him Saturday evening in Felton and exposed him for what he really is.
A-G BIDEN QUIT REPRESENTING PSYCHIATRIC CENTER
Posted: Sept. 15, 2007
The Delaware Psychiatric Center was left without legal advice when Attorney General Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III decided to investigate the facility instead of representing it. Stunned officials rushed to find outside legal counsel to replace the Justice Department.
ALMOST A YEAR AFTER STROKE, IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR CASTLE
Posted: Sept. 13, 2007
In another 10 days, it will be a year since U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, an eight-term Republican, had a mild stroke. He shrugged it off in a matter of weeks in time to be re-elected and continues to tend to his congressional work, his constituency and another campaign.
Posted: Sept. 10, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Democrats have an overabundance of statewide candidates but still could get another one. The Republicans flesh out their staff at state headquarters.
GET READY, GET SET, GO
Posted: Sept. 4, 2007
In the time between the weekends of the Democrats' Sussex County Beach Jamboree and Labor Day, the politicians in Delaware did not take the end of the summer off. The campaigning was in full swing, even though the next election year still is months away.
SPIVACK CASTS DOUBT ON HIS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDACY
Posted: Aug. 31, 2007
Democrat Dennis Spivack never stopped running after he lost last year to U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, a Republican who won his eighth term, but now Spivack acknowledges his plans for another campaign in 2008 are in jeopardy, if not over.
Posted: Aug. 30, 2007
An anti-war rally focused mainly on U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, an eight-term Republican, provided an opportunity for the Rev. Christopher A. Bullock to give a speech and to think about running for the Congress himself in 2008.
Posted: Aug. 28, 2007
From U.S. Sen. Tom Carper to the Delaware Democrats' regional chairs in the three counties and the city, the party did what it could Saturday to help out Joe Biden's presidential campaign at the Sussex County Beach Jamboree.
Posted: Aug. 26, 2007
Maybe there was a little too much going on Saturday evening, when the Delaware Democrats gathered at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes for a hotter-than-ever Sussex County Beach Jamboree, stuffed with "favorite son" presidential politics and primaries.
"MAKE DELAWARE HAPPY AGAIN"
Posted: Aug. 22, 2007
Please do not say that Alan B. Levin is running for governor, just because he has spent the second half of August showing up at political events set up to let his fellow Republicans get a look at him and the occasional Democrat, too.
THOSE "CASTLE '08" BUTTONS MEANT WHAT THEY SAID
Posted: Aug. 20, 2007
Wishing that U. S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, the eight-term Republican, would retire has not worked for the Democrats, so they have moved ahead with trying to find someone to run against him in 2008. They appear to have takers.
MARY JORNLIN THEISEN, NEW CASTLE COUNTY EXECUTIVE, 1927-2007
Posted: Aug. 17, 2007
Mary Jornlin Theisen, a New Castle County executive whose dignity was an antidote to troubled times in the 1970s, died Friday at her Greenville home. A Republican who also served as state treasurer, she was a pioneering political figure.
Posted: Aug. 16, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Republicans look at state Rep. Robert J. Valihura Jr. as a possible candidate for insurance commissioner, but can they afford to? A political arms race escalates in the state House of Representatives.
NATURAL POLITICAL ENEMIES, DELAWARE STYLE
Posted: Aug. 14, 2007
The "Favorite Son Rally" for Joe Biden, conceived by a Democratic union president and Republican chamber of commerce chairman, continues to make odd alliances as the planning goes forward for the event, tentatively scheduled for sometime in October.
CONNOLLY IS CLOSE TO A JUDICIAL NOMINATION
Posted: Aug. 10, 2007
The White House tentatively has settled on U.S. Attorney Colm F. Connolly for a federal judgeship, the Delaware Grapevine has learned. Connolly must go through a background check before he receives the nomination, subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
PICK A JUDGE, ANY JUDGE
Posted: Aug. 8, 2007
An opening on a federal court needs action from the other two branches of government to be filled. U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle is doing his part to have a new judge named, but the Bush administration is lagging in appointing someone to an eight-month-old vacancy.
BUYING JOE BIDEN
Posted: Aug. 5, 2007
The line went on for more than two and half hours Sunday morning when Joe Biden went to Rehoboth Beach to sign copies of Promises to Keep, his new book coming out amid the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
PLEASE DON'T COME
Posted: Aug. 3, 2007
Most politicians would all but kill for a crowd, but in Sussex County, a crowd was going to be so large that it killed an event. It says something about the cravings in the Delaware Republican Party for a candidate to run for governor.
MATT DENN AIMS AT SCORING CREDIT ON RIVAL TURF
Posted: Aug. 1, 2007
Sometimes a bill-signing ceremony means more than the governor's signature making a law. Sometimes there is a political angle to it, as there was for insurance-related legislation backed by Insurance Commissioner Matthew P. Denn.
Posted: July 30, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. State Treasurer Jack A. Markell focuses his vision as he runs for the Democratic nomination for governor. The most expensive state Senate race in Delaware history gets ready for a repeat.
Posted: July 26, 2007
State Sen. Colin R.J. Bonini cannot resist flirting with statewide office, this time with the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. Meanwhile, Insurance Commissioner Matthew P. Denn, who wants the Democratic nomination for the same office, is telling all on a blog.
Posted: July 24, 2007
YouTube has done a lot to enliven politics, but its partnership with CNN on a Democratic presidential debate was not it. Joe Biden did what he could to cope with this new Internet-inspired twist on campaigning.
'APPY ALAN 'AS IT
Posted: July 5, 2007
As Alan B. Levin ends his tenure as a drug store executive on Friday, he is making the moves that could turn him into the Republican nominee for governor. Still, it pays to remember that Levin has made his way by knowing when to U-turn.
DOUBLE-CROSS IN DOVER
Posted: July 1, 2007
The Democrats were blindsided Saturday during the last night of the legislative session in Dover, as the Republicans bailed on what was supposed to be a bipartisan bill because of implications for the governor's race in 2008.
Posted: June 29, 2007
Take a Democratic labor leader. Add a Republican who could run for governor. Factor in a U.S. senator campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. Put it all together in Delaware, and it turns into an event that only could happen here.
Posted: June 28, 2007
The 2008 presidential campaign is so pervasive that it is creeping into the back corners of Sussex County, all because Delaware is one of some 20 states likely to decide the presidential nominations with its primary scheduled for Feb. 5.
Posted: June 25, 2007
In the strange twists and turns of Legislative Hall, state Sen. Charles L. Copeland, the Republican minority leader, discovers the power of getting what he wants, and a longtime family feud is put aside by offspring with no memory of it.
Posted: June 21, 2007
The state Senate can be a black hole for legislation when a core of senators wants it to be. There is no better example than the fate of the gay rights bill, which failed to clear a committee for consideration by the full chamber, as it has for session after session.
RUDY ROLLS IN
Posted: June 14, 2007
Rudy Giuliani brought presidential politics and New York style to Delaware when he swept in Thursday to court the Republicans who will hold their primary on Feb. 5 in a round of voting likely to decide the nomination. Guiliani came away with contributions and press coverage.
ALAN LEVIN LEAVES WALGREENS
Posted: June 13, 2007
While Alan B. Levin ponders a run for governor on the Republican ticket, he is making another move. A year after selling Happy Harry's to Walgreens, he is departing to form a new business that will take him out of the executive office for drug stores.
GUEST COLUMNS: DECRIMINALIZING TRAFFIC STOPS
Posted: June 11, 2007
Legislation that would turn most traffic stops from criminal offenses to civil infractions is the subject of two guest columns. Prosecutor Paul R. Wallace argues for the bill on behalf of the state Department of Justice. Lawyer Brian F. Dolan argues against it.
THE WHITE GLOVES ARE OFF
Posted: June 8, 2007
Delaware politics is entering a new phase, as shown by the inclination of Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. and Treasurer Jack A. Markell to compete for the Democratic nomination for governor. For decades the politicians here were more likely to take turns.
THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR GOVERNOR IS HERE
Posted: June 6, 2007
Treasurer Jack A. Markell went public Wednesday with his plans to run for governor, a decision that sets up a climactic Democratic primary with Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. in a clash that party leaders fervently wished to avoid.
Posted: June 5, 2007
A prime reason that Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. and Treasurer Jack A. Markell are expected to collide in a Democratic gubernatorial primary is that the state's top offices are locked up. In another note, the Republicans leave an opening for the Democrats in press relations.
JACK'S BACK ON TRACK
Posted: June 2, 2007; updated: June 3, 2007
A gourmet fund-raiser Saturday in Milton for Treasurer Jack A. Markell served up all sorts of hearty fare -- appetizers, main courses, side dishes and desserts -- as well as political nibbles about Markell's plans for 2008, including a promise of an announcement shortly.
BEAU BIDEN SIDLES UP TO THE BAR, AND THEY'RE BUYING
Posted: May 31, 2007
Law Day gave the Delaware State Bar Association an opportunity last week to hear from Attorney General Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, and it gave him an opportunity to propose an exchange he said would have mutual benefit.
Posted: May 23, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Mitt Romney is coming to Delaware, not that many people are supposed to know about it. Political operatives of both parties make their moves.
Posted: May 21, 2007
Democratic deal making, aimed at putting together a statewide ticket without party bloodshed, did not stop Wilmington Council President Theodore Blunt from declaring his candidacy for lieutenant governor in a statewide tour Saturday.
"NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP"
Posted: May 19, 2007
The Delaware Republicans were looking for a way out of the political doldrums when they met this weekend at their state convention in Dover. They came away pinning their hopes on a possible candidate for governor in 2008.
CARNEY AND MARKELL DISCUSS A DEAL
Posted: May 16, 2007
In a concerted effort to head off a Democratic primary for governor, Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. and Treasurer Jack A. Markell are being urged to consider a ticket of Carney for governor and Markell for lieutenant governor. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper is working to broker a deal.
SEARCHING FOR A REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR
Posted: May 15, 2007
State Sen. Charles L. Copeland, the Republican minority leader, has taken all the right steps to become his party's candidate for governor in 2008, except the last one. The Republicans may be looking elsewhere when they hold their state convention this weekend.
ATKINS GETS A DEMOCRATIC "DEAR JOHN"
Posted: May 11, 2007
A write-in campaign did not get John C. Atkins back to the state House of Representatives. Switching parties from Republican to Democrat is another way he could try, but he should not expect a welcome mat from the Democratic leadership.
REFLECTIONS OF PETE DU PONT
Posted: May 10, 2007
The governorship of Pierre S. du Pont, a Republican who served from 1977 to 1985, is the subject of a new book in the Delaware Heritage Commission's series on Delaware's executives. This look back comes at a time the state could use some help looking ahead.
MAKING RICH ABBOTT PUT THE "COURT" IN "COURTESY"
Posted: May 8, 2007
The rules governing the way lawyers should treat judges are enforced by judges, so lawyers who break the rules ought to figure out they will be in trouble. It happened to Richard L. Abbott, a Hockessin attorney who was once a New Castle County Republican councilman.
REPUBLICANS SAVE A SEAT AND THEMSELVES
Posted: May 5, 2007
Relief came for the Republicans in the Sussex County special election Saturday, when they righted themselves by electing Gregory A. Hastings to the state House of Representatives. It was put in jeopardy by the continuing escapades of John C. Atkins.
WRITE-IN VOTES WILL BE COUNTED SATURDAY NIGHT
Updated: May 4, 2007
Election officials had second thoughts about letting write-in votes go uncounted for two days, as is normal, in the Sussex County special election Saturday, because their is no telling how much of an impact the write-in campaign for John C. Atkins will have.
ALL THINGS ATKINS CONTINUE TO AMAZE
Posted: May 2, 2007
The strange circumstances surrounding the special election Saturday in Sussex County could get stranger yet. If there is a surge of write-in votes for John C. Atkins, it could delay the vote tabulation. The special election also is putting a crimp in Cinco de Mayo.
Posted: April 30, 2007
It is the little things that makes politics tick. This is a column about that. Democrat Matthew P. Denn looks at exchanging his title as insurance commissioner for a new one in 2008. Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign starts to stir in Delaware.
IT WAS GOOD TO BE THE DEMOCRATS
Posted: April 25, 2007
What happened in the House Ethics Committee is staying in the House Ethics Committee, at least for now. The House Republican caucus abruptly canceled a press conference that was to produce information about John C. Atkins, the Republican ex-representative who resigned.
Posted: April 24, 2007
Joseph A. Hurley, the criminal defense lawyer, was a one-man protest when the state Senate voted to let M. Jane Brady leave the Attorney General's Office for a judgeship. Now Hurley is back with a new protest involving Brady on the bench.
Posted: April 20, 2007
The special election last weekend in Brandywine Hundred was one for the books. Not only was there a Democratic victory in a Republican district, there were also an oddly-timed poll and a strange-looking map, not to mention an unlucky campaign trinket.
Posted: April 19, 2007
What happened in the House Ethics Committee is staying in the House Ethics Committee, at least for now. The House Republican caucus abruptly canceled a press conference that was to produce information about John C. Atkins, the Republican ex-representative who resigned.
GETTING THEIR DUCKS IN A ROW
Posted: April 18, 2007
The House Republicans are poised to go public with more information about John C. Atkins, their former colleague who resigned in disgrace. It follows the appearance of his campaign signs and a campaign-like letter in the special election to replace him.
REPUBLICANS FOR RUDY
Posted: April 17, 2007
Three months after Rudy Giuliani was in Delaware for a Republican dinner, it has paid off with the formation of a local campaign organization for his presidential bid. New York's former mayor also is expected for a return engagement in June.
DEMOCRATS NAB AN ELECTION IN REPUBLICAN TERRITORY
Posted: April 14, 2007
The Delaware Republicans have a reputation for winning special elections and for winning Brandywine Hundred legislative seats. Not this time. The Democrats pulled off an upset Saturday by electing Democrat Bryon H. Short to the state House of Representatives.
IF NOT JOE, THEN BEAU
Posted: April 13, 2007
Joseph R. Biden Jr. and III were both in Iowa a couple of weekends ago for some presidential campaigning, but the one called Beau does not plan to make a habit of it. He has other commitments at home.
WHITE HOUSE INTERVIEWS SCHEDULED FOR JUDGESHIP
Posted: April 12, 2007
Four candidates looking to become a federal judge are heading to Washington late this week for interviews at the White House. All were recommended by U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, the only Republican in the state's congressional delegation.
CLOSED-DOOR VOTE SAVES SUSSEX REPUBLICAN CHAIR
Posted: April 10, 2007
The vote was unanimous. The Sussex County Republicans decided to stick with David M. Burris, their chair who called for John C. Atkins' ouster from the legislature. They also backed Burris when he called for the press' ouster from their meeting.
DUELING FUND RAISERS
Posted: April 6, 2007
With 10 days to go before the special election in Brandywine Hundred, both the Democrats and the Republicans held fund raisers on Wednesday evening for their candidates. The fevered pace of a compressed campaign was on display.
BRING ME THE FOOT OF A UNITED STATES SENATOR
Posted: April 5, 2007; updated: April 9, 2007
A broken foot was just the thing when U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper was making his rounds through the state Thursday during a congressional recess. His schedule took him to a Frederica business for a stop that no one could have made up.
Posted: April 3, 2007
Two special elections for legislative seats in Brandywine Hundred and Sussex County ought to be more than enough to keep the Delaware Democrats and Republicans busy, but the Republicans have the tug of another set of elections to occupy them, as well.
AFTER AN UNWANTED ENCORE, ATKINS LEAVES AGAIN
Posted: March 31, 2007
The Republicans in the 41st Representative District were able to begin their search for a candidate Saturday, once they learned that John C. Atkins had turned off his cell phone and left for Florida with his wife, instead of trying for a comeback as a minor-party or write-in candidate.
THE REMORSE OF HIS RESIGNATION WAS GREATLY EXAGGERATED
Posted: March 29, 2007
That was no resignation speech, that was a declaration of candidacy. John C. Atkins has made moves to get himself on the ballot in the special election for his Sussex County seat. If the Republican Party will not have him, he is willing to go with a minor party.
ATKINS IS OUT
Posted: March 27, 2007
John C. Atkins, a third-term Millsboro Republican, resigned Tuesday from the state House of Representatives before his colleagues could expel him. His determined stand to stick it out was ended by new and damaging information involving his late-night fight with his wife.
SHOWDOWN IN LEGISLATIVE HALL
Posted: March 26, 2007
The disciplinary matter involving state Rep. John C. Atkins is expected to come to a boil Tuesday when the state House of Representatives goes back into session amid signs that a vote to expel him is gaining momentum.
SUSSEX REPUBLICAN CHAIR CALLS FOR JOHN ATKINS' OUSTER
Posted: March 25, 2007
David M. Burris, barely a month into his tenure as the Sussex County Republican chair, used his "First State Politics" blog on Sunday to call for the resignation or expulsion of state Rep. John C. Atkins, a fellow Sussex County Republican.
OFF WITH HIS HEAD
Posted: March 23, 2007
The rank-and-file in the state House of Representatives reacted overwhelmingly with disbelief to the leadership's decision to punish state Rep. John C. Atkins with a censure resolution. Instead, there is a growing movement for expulsion.
TAKE THE HOUSE. PLEASE!
Posted: March 21, 2007
When Wayne A. Smith resigned as the state House Republican majority leader, it set in motion a chain of events that brought into leadership some Republican representatives whose elevation was welcomed by Delaware Democrats.
SPECIAL ELECTION IS APRIL 14
Posted: March 20, 2007
House Speaker Terry R. Spence set the date for the special election in Brandywine Hundred on a day that the parties showed they are ready to mix it up for their candidates -- James T. Bowers for the Republicans and Bryon H. Short for the Democrats.
Posted: March 19, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. James T. Bowers, the Republican candidate in the Brandywine Hundred special election, has a hitch in his political resume. U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. does his part for another political dynasty.
DISORDER IN THE COURT
Posted: March 15, 2007
Three months have gone by since Kent A. Jordan moved from the U.S. District Court to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, and there is no sign of a replacement because of an unusual set of circumstances involving the congressional delegation and the White House.
SOMETHING IS IN THE AIR IN LEGISLATIVE HALL
Posted: March 14, 2007
The Delaware General Assembly is having one of its strangest years ever. It was evident when the lawmakers returned to Dover on Tuesday to resume their session after a six-week break for budget hearings. Much has changed in the time off.
FOR CARPER, IT'S TIME TO BABY HIS BOOMER SELF
Posted: March 13, 2007
Take a U.S. senator who thrives on competition. Add in a charity volleyball tournament on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. Multiply it with his age as a Baby Boomer, and the result is a medical boot and the sidelines for Tom Carper.
DEMOCRATS CHOOSE BRYON SHORT FOR THE SPECIAL ELECTION
Posted: March 12, 2007
Bryon H. Short, once an aide to U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper when he was a congressman and governor, emerged as the Democrats' candidate for a Brandywine Hundred special election to replace former House Republican Majority Leader Wayne A. Smith.
Posted: March 10, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Republicans do their best to even the score in a volleyball competition with the Democrats. The legislative branch's loss is the executive branch's gain.
BRANDYWINE HUNDRED DEMOCRATS ASTONISH THEMSELVES
Posted: March 9, 2007
Even before a date has been set for a special election, the Brandywine Hundred Democrats are feeling like winners -- because state Rep. Wayne A. Smith, the Republican majority leader who was their nemesis, is giving up his seat, and they might even have a shot at it.
HOUSE LEADERSHIP SLAMS STATE REP. JOHN ATKINS
Posted: March 7, 2007
The Republican and Democratic leaders of the state House of Representatives unanimously have concluded that Rep. John C. Atkins, a three-term Millsboro Republican, dishonored the chamber by using his office to try to get around the law.
REPUBLICAN ANNOUNCES AMID GOOD SPIRITS, NOT TO MENTION BEER
Posted: March 6, 2007
The Republicans held their opening campaign ceremonies Tuesday at a popular tavern for James T. Bowers, the party's choice for a special election in Brandywine Hundred to replace state Rep. Wayne A. Smith, the Republican majority leader who is resigning.
REPUBLICANS HAVE A CANDIDATE UNDER WRAPS
Posted: March 4, 2007
The Republicans are the first party to come up with a candidate for the special election to replace state Rep. Wayne A. Smith, the House Republican majority leader who is giving up his Brandywine Hundred seat.
Posted: March 1, 2007
The Republicans and the Democrats are rushing into full campaign mode for the special election caused by the resignation of state Rep. Wayne A. Smith, the Republican majority leader from Brandywine Hundred. Now if the only had a date and candidates . . .
STATE REP. WAYNE SMITH'S EXIT SHAKES UP THE HOUSE
Posted: Feb. 28, 2007
State Rep. Wayne A. Smith's surprise resignation has led to a political cliffhanger -- with questions about a new Republican majority leader, the fate of state Rep. John Atkins and the shifting party preferences in Brandywine Hundred.
NEWS RELEASE: HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER WAYNE SMITH RESIGNS
Posted: Feb. 27, 2007
State Rep. Wayne A. Smith, the Brandywine Hundred Republican who as been the majority leader since 1996, abruptly announced his resignation from the House of Representatives in a press release issued Tuesday evening.
A LAW FIRM AS DELAWAREAN AS LONGWOOD GARDENS
Posted: Feb. 27, 2007
Not many out-of-state organizations can find acceptance in Delaware, but a Philadelphia law firm appears to be accomplishing it through an office it opened in Wilmington. Delawareans flocked to its open house last week.
REMEMBER JOHN ATKINS?
Posted: Feb. 22, 2007
State Rep. John C. Atkins and his problems have not gone away, even though the Millsboro Republican wishes his problems would and the state House of Representatives and the Delaware Republican Party wish he would.
MAVERICKS TOGETHER, CASTLE COMMITS TO MCCAIN
Posted: Feb. 20, 2007
John McCain became the first candidate for the Republican presidential nomination to pick up a significant endorsement in Delaware, when U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle announced his backing Tuesday in a united show of mavericks.
Posted: Feb. 16, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Democrats throw U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle into the briar patch. Staffers for U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper cash in and out. Sussex County Republicans find a new meaning in political football.
JUSTICE DELAYED BUT NOT JUSTICE DENIED
Posted: Feb. 14, 2007
The Delaware Supreme Court disbarred an attorney when a woman he traumatized came forward 22 years later. In legal disciplinary cases, unlike criminal or civil matters, the statute of limitations never tolls.
SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE
Posted: Feb. 11, 2007
State House Speaker Terry R. Spence was the man of the evening Saturday at the Kent County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner in Dover, even if it did take a measure of Democratic help to do it. Some was more welcome than others.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Posted: Feb. 9, 2007
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the political arm of the House Democrats, has U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, the eight-term Republican, in its sights for 2008, but the timing may not be what it could be.
CHARLIE COPELAND FOR GOVERNOR?
Posted: Feb. 7, 2007
State Sen. Charles L. Copeland picked up a new title this year as the Republican minority leader, but he is not ready to say whether he has his eye on another one -- governor. Still, there were clues when he traveled to Sussex County to give a speech.
BACK ROOM BEGINNINGS
Posted: Feb. 6, 2007
In these days of the perpetual campaign, the political back rooms already are humming with the workings of presidential candidates. Delaware Republicans found themselves courted by John McCain's operation, while Delaware Democrats talked up Joe Biden.
Posted: Feb. 2, 2007
The power has shifted on Capitol Hill, and so has the way the Delaware congressional delegation is approaching the choice of a new federal court judge. Capitol Hill also sends out a definitive clue about U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle's intentions for 2008.
Posted: Feb. 1, 2007
U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. got into the presidential race the same way he got out of his last one, saying something the wrong way. It was Biden being Biden, but not Biden being the best Biden he could be.
WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Posted: Jan. 30, 2007
When the state House defeated Rep. Gregory F. Lavelle's legislation proposing deadlines for the introduction of the operating and construction budgets, Lavelle and a chorus of some fellow Republicans blamed the Democrats. It was not necessarily so.
Posted: Jan. 26, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. While the Democrats are preoccupied with a possible primary for governor, they could have one for lieutenant governor, too. The counsel to the governor heads for private practice.
MIKE CASTLE'S BLUE HEAVEN
Posted: Jan. 24, 2007
The U.S. House of Representatives has gone from a Republican majority to a Democratic one. It means that U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle has shifted from the majority to the minority, not that anyone could tell from the first round of roll calls.
MONEY IS THE FIRST PRIMARY
Posted: Jan. 22, 2007
Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. had a very good year in fund raising and wants people to know about it. State Treasurer Jack A. Markell is letting his money do the talking for him. It has all the makings of a showdown for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2008.
JOHN ATKINS CALLING
Posted: Jan. 18, 2007
State Rep. John C. Atkins took to his telephone as he searched for wiggle room in his legal troubles and placed some surprising calls. More recently, he decided to turn to a new attorney as he deals with a House Ethics Committee probe into his conduct.
CLEANING UP JOHN ATKINS
Posted: Jan. 16, 2007
State Rep. John C. Atkins, R-Probation, has dodged through a police stop in Ocean City, Md., and a court appearance in Delaware. Next up in a system that seems intent on cleaning him up is the House Ethics Committee in Dover.
AMERICA'S MAYOR WONDERS ABOUT BEING AMERICA'S PRESIDENT
Posted: Jan. 13, 2007
Rudy Giuliani came to Delaware to pick up an award as well as some attention for his possible candidacy for president, when he spoke Friday evening at a gala dinner and fund raiser for the state Republicans. He was just what the party needed.
Posted: Jan. 11, 2007
The Delaware General Assembly launched its new term this week in typical messiness, with intrigue over committee assignments and some counting by the House Republicans that came out close enough for government work.
THE ATKINS TREATMENT
Posted: Jan. 9, 2007
State Rep. John C. Atkins and his domestic violence charge have been a problem for the House of Representatives, but it could spill over to the Senate because of a meeting he had with the nominee who needs Senate confirmation to become the next corrections commissioner.
THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM DELAWARE
Posted: Jan. 5, 2007
That record U.S. Sen. William V. Roth Jr. held as the longest-serving statewide elected official in Delaware history? U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is taking it from him, a little-noticed milestone in a volatile political career.
BIDEN & SON
Posted: Jan. 4, 2007
Delaware has nine statewide officeholders, and now two of them are named Biden. At a reception Wednesday evening at the Wilmington riverfront, the new attorney general had his public debut while the senator looked on.
Posted: Jan. 3, 2007
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The New Year is bringing changes to both major parties -- with the Democrats looking for new leadership in Sussex County and the Republicans installing a new executive director at state headquarters.
RESOLVED . . .
Posted: Dec. 27, 2006
The season for campaign promises has come and gone. Now it is time for New Year's resolutions for 2007 from an array of Delaware politicians, including Lt. Gov. John Carney, Treasurer Jack Markell, Senate Minority Leader Charile Copeland and others.
STUPID POLITICAL TRICKS
Posted: Dec. 20, 2006
As the 2006 election year fades away, it is time to recall the moments when the politicians became their own worst enemies. It was a pageant of ineptitude that struck regardless of experience, office or political affiliation.
THAT'S REPRESENTATIVE ATKINS TO YOU, OFFICER
Posted: Dec. 18, 2006
In the hours before state Rep. John C. Atkins was arrested at home in Millsboro in a domestic dispute, he was in Ocean City, Md., at a pre-Halloween party. When the police there pulled him over, he made sure they knew who he was.
Posted: Dec. 14, 2006
The shuffling of the Democratic leadership in the state Senate should not have been a surprise to Sen. Harris B. McDowell III, who was dealt out. State Rep. Peter C. Schwartzkopf knows what he is talking about when he urges people to "give the gift of life."
Posted: Dec. 12, 2006
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Judge Kent A. Jordan gets ready to join some tough critics. The Sussex County Republicans prepare for the end of William Swain Lee's tenure as their chair.
STATE REP. DICK CATHCART IS IN THE MONEY
Posted: Dec. 8, 2006
State Rep. Richard C. Cathcart, a Middletown Republican, is about to conduct a duet that the legislature has seen before -- a college administrator serving as the co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. Not bad for someone who just lost a vote for House majority leader.
REP. JOHN ATKINS GETS PROBATION
Posted: Dec. 5, 2006
State Rep. John C. Atkins had his day in court Monday on an offensive touching charge in a domestic dispute, although it was actually more like his 10 minutes in court. The Millsboro Republican was put on probation, leading to a political problem.
Posted: Dec. 4, 2006
Time is running out for a vote that would elevate U.S. District Judge Kent A. Jordan to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals before the Congress goes home for the year. Former Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein makes plans to come home from Bosnia.
REP. JOHN ATKINS WAS DRINKING BEFORE HIS ARREST
Posted: Dec. 1, 2006
State Rep. John C. Atkins was insistent that no alcohol was involved in a domestic argument that led to his arrest for offensive touching shortly before the election, but police in Ocean City, Md., say that was not the case.
SEN. BIDEN'S OFFICE TARGETED IN FAKE ANTHRAX ATTACK
Posted: Nov. 29, 2006
In a little-known incident, some powder and a threatening letter arrived last month in the Wilmington office of U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., a six-term Democrat, and gave the staff a scare. The powder was not anthrax. The FBI is investigating.
Posted: Nov. 27, 2006
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. A curious pattern has developed at a Sussex County political event. The Senate Republicans ponder their leadership. State Democratic Chair John Daniello gives driving tips.
RETURN DAY IS FOR RIDDLES
Posted: Nov. 9, 2006
Forget about Return Day being a time for reconciliation. The politicians are busy thinking about their next campaigns. . . whatever they are. Some of these once-and-future candidates are upfront about it, but others only drop clues through cryptic political stickers.
Posted: Nov. 8, 2006
Election Day in Delaware was very good to the labor movement, which worked closely but not exclusively with the Democrats. Election Day also set in motion a power struggle in the state House of Representatives over the choice for speaker.
A DEMOCRATIC YEAR
Posted: Nov. 7, 2006
The Delaware Democrats set up an outsized get-out-the-vote drive on Election Day and used it to elect Beau Biden attorney general, run up huge victories for U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper and state Treasurer Jack A. Markell, and pick up three legislative seats.
THE 2006 ELECTION "TOP TEN" LIST
Posted: Nov. 5, 2006
Congressman Mike Castle, Speaker Terry Spence, Beau Biden and Jan Ting are some of the Delaware candidates who made the list involving weird stuff that never should have happened, but did, or should have happened, but never did.
THERE ARE CARPER AND CASTLE, STANDING LIKE A FIREWALL
Posted: Nov. 2, 2006
Change will not come easily, if it comes at all, on Election Day in Delaware. From U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper and U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle at the top of the ticket on down, not many races are competitive . . . except the one for attorney general, of course.
RETIREMENT IS NOT AN OPTION
Posted: Nov. 1, 2006
James T. Vaughn Sr., the Democratic state senator from Clayton, can beat cancer. He can beat pneumonia. He is looking to beat Republican and minor-party challengers next week on Election Day. He is 81 and not giving up.
REP. JOHN ATKINS ARRESTED IN DOMESTIC INCIDENT
Posted: Oct. 29, 2006; updated: Oct. 30, 2006
State Rep. John C. Atkins, a Millsboro Republican, was arrested in the early morning hours Sunday after an argument at home with his wife Heather. With the election bearing down, he issued a press release and appeared on talk radio to discuss what happened.
NO MORE WOOD AND BYRD, BUT WOOD OR BYRD
Posted: Oct. 27, 2006; updated: Oct. 30, 2006
Nothing lasts forever, not even a dominant lobbying firm like Wood Byrd & Associates. William T. Wood Jr. and Robert L. Byrd are going their separate ways after 18 years as Byrd switches his affiliation to a Philadelphia-based law firm.
Posted: Oct. 25, 2006
A campaign flier has escalated the political warfare between David P. Sokola, a Democratic state senator, and Michael J. Ramone, his Republican challenger, in Pike Creek Valley. A campaign road sign has escalated attention along state highways.
THE LAST BANQUET
Posted: Oct. 22, 2006
After living a unique and sociable life, Edward R. "Ned" Davis was remembered in a unique and sociable way Sunday afternoon in Dover. A memorial service for the counselor to Delaware officialdom was filled with the politics and poetry he loved so much.
Posted: Oct. 20, 2006
The lines can get blurry when officeholders are running for re-election. Thomas R. Carper had one of those moments Friday when it was difficult to sort out what was happening with his Senate office and what was happening with his campaign office.
EDWARD R. "NED" DAVIS, A MAN OF GLAD GRACE
Posted: Oct. 18, 2006
Edward R. "Ned" Davis, an institution in Delaware political circles, died Wednesday morning at 78 after a lifetime as a newspaperman, press secretary, Democratic national committeeman and lobbyist. He was remembered fondly by Democrats and Republicans alike.
REPUBLICANS CAN PAY FOR AS MUCH FREE SPEECH AS THEY WANT
Posted: Oct. 17, 2006
The Delaware Republicans did their homework when they crafted campaign advertising for the attorney general's race. The party passed legal muster after an inquiry from the Democrats, who did not exactly have clean hands when they made their challenge.
STATE REPUBLICANS BEAT THE ODDS AT VICMEAD, uh, BIDERMANN
Posted: Oct. 14, 2006
The omens were not good. Things kept going wrong for the Delaware Republicans as the time grew closer and closer for the 22nd annual "Salute at Vicmead," the party's premier fund raiser, but in the end, the event was not cursed, but charmed.
SAY IT AIN'T SO, FERRIS
Posted: Oct. 12, 2006
In a political campaign, almost anything is fair game. It is all right for Democrat Beau Biden to be a target of Ferris W. Wharton and his fellow Republicans in the attorney general's race, but now Wharton has taken on a fact of Delaware life.
CALL THE ELECTIONS COMMISSIONER, GET HIM TO STOP THE ADS
Posted: Oct. 11, 2006
The Delaware Democrats have taken legal issue with the Republican Party's advertising in the attorney general's race. The Republicans insist they are following the law, and the elections commissioner has been asked to decide.
KENT COUNTY DEMOCRATS WANT TO PUT SOME LIFE IN THE PARTY
Posted: Oct. 10, 2006
For too long, the Kent County Democrats have watched Delaware go Democratic without them. At their annual "Belle Everett" Dinner at the Felton Fire Hall on Monday night, they showed they are doing what they can to turn their fortunes around.
Posted: Oct. 6, 2006
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Delaware Republicans get picky about the information they want to provide. William Swain Lee finds surprising help for the Sussex County Republicans' get-out-the-vote operation.
Posted: Oct. 3, 2006
U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, despite his small stroke last month, is running for an eighth term, but there is a possibility he will make this campaign his last one. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is keeping Kent A. Jordan from finishing one judicial term and starting another.
MIKE CASTLE CALLING
Posted: Sept. 30, 2006
A week after U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle had a stroke, he was up to doing the talking for himself, instead of relying on his staff and doctors. The seven-term congressman discussed his situation Saturday morning in a telephone conference with reporters.
MARKELL RUNS, BUT WHERE HE STOPS, NOBODY KNOWS
Posted: Sept. 28, 2006
State Treasurer Jack A. Markell, the two-term Democrat, declared his candidacy for re-election Thursday, not even particularly trying to hide that his campaign was as much about 2008 as 2006. No, he would not commit to serving a four-year term.
CASTLE GOES HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL
Posted: Sept. 27, 2006
U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle was home in Wilmington on Wednesday evening and issued a statement through his office to thank the medical personnel who treated him for a small stroke. His cardiologist said he needs time to rest.
WHO IS STELL PARKER SELBY, ANYWAY?
Posted: Sept. 26, 2006
The Republicans found a candidate for state treasurer at the filing deadline, and now she is finding her way around the state. Esthelda R. "Stell" Parker Selby declared her candidacy Tuesday with the customary tour throughout Delaware.
THE NOT-SO-PRIVATE LIFE OF A PUBLIC OFFICIAL
Posted: Sept. 25, 2006
When U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle had his minor stroke on Saturday, it not only involved his doctors, his family and his closest associates but the Delaware public, too. The personal and political recovery of this seven-term Republican depended on it.
"THE CONGRESSMAN DID HAVE A STROKE"
Posted: Sept. 24, 2006
Doctors treating U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle at Christiana Hospital held a press conference Sunday evening to talk about the seven-term congressman's medical condition the day after he had a small stroke. They were optimistic about his recovery.
CASTLE GOES TO THE HOSPITAL AFTER FEELING SICK
Posted: Sept. 23, 2006
U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle was in Christiana Hospital after feeling ill Saturday morning. His office was releasing little information about his condition. Castle, a Republican, is running for his eighth term this year.
CASTLE RETURNS TO CONVENTION, GENEVA AND OTHERWISE
Posted: Sept. 22, 2006
Before there was a compromise, U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle was on the side of Republicans bucking the White House by wanting legislation that would uphold the Geneva Conventions. It was more typical of Castle than his recent appearance with the House majority leader.
JEFFERSON, JACKSON AND JOE, JOHN AND JACK AND BEAU
Posted: Sept. 19, 2006
The mood was upbeat as the Delaware Democrats gathered Monday evening in Dover to celebrate past, present and what they hope are their future leaders in preparation for Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
A MODERATE MISCALCULATION
Posted: Sept. 16, 2006
John A. Boehner, the House Republican majority leader from Ohio, came to Delaware on Saturday for a fund raiser for U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle. It was a quiet event with little publicity, and there was a reason for it.
Posted: Sept. 14, 2006
There were 393,139 Democratic and Republican voters who did not turn out Tuesday on Primary Day, but there was one in particular who stood out for neither going to the polls nor casting an absentee ballot, someone who really should have known better.
PRIMARY LIFTS DEMOCRATS AND TRIPS UP REPUBLICANS
Posted: Sept. 12, 2006
Primary Day 2006 was a good time to be an endorsed candidate for the Democrats, but not so good to be a Republican with the party's backing. The smallest of turnouts exposed the biggest of weaknesses for the Republicans as the campaign season rushes toward November.
Posted: Sept. 11, 2006
Primary Day is Tuesday in Delaware with 15 races for statewide and legislative nominations on the ballot -- 10 for the Democrats and five for the Republicans. Here is a breakdown of what to expect from the voting.
Posted: Sept. 10, 2006
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The fax machine becomes a political weapon in the last days before the primary. Judge Richard S. Gebelein comes home for his retirement dinner from the National Guard.
CARPER GOES FOR AN EVEN DOZEN
Posted: Sept. 9, 2006
U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper spent his Saturday touring the state to declare for office for the 12th time, and still people came to listen. The leader of the Democratic ticket began his day at the Wilmington Riverfront and drew the most attention for what he had to say about Iraq.
BIDEN AND WHARTON GIVE GENTLEMANLY OPENING STATEMENTS
Posted: Sept. 7, 2006
In the first joint forum of the attorney general's race, Democrat Beau Biden and Republican Ferris W. Wharton met Wednesday evening in Lewes for what turned out to be a lawyerly exchange without much in the way of political fireworks.
KING OF THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD
Posted: Sept. 5, 2006
U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle is staying away from the extreme makeover of national politics. In his campaign for an eighth term as Delaware's lone congressman, the Republican ex-governor is running on his credentials as a political moderate.
Posted: Aug. 31, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner Jr. gets silent. U.S. District Judge Kent A. Jordan gets a date in D.C. with the Senate. The race for attorney general gets debates.
NOT ALL PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR
Posted: Aug. 27, 2006
The Sussex County Democratic Beach Jamboree was missing some of its usual speakers when party members gathered Saturday evening at Cape Henlopen State Park to get their customary start on the campaign season.
WHEN IS A SPEECH JUST A SPEECH?
Posted: Aug. 25, 2006
When K.C. Keeler talks, people in Delaware pay attention, so it became important to know why the University of Delaware's football coach gave a speech at a political breakfast for Michael J. Ramone, a Republican legislative candidate.
SAVING THE CROSSANS
Posted: Aug. 24, 2006
A week after David A. Crossan, the Republicans' executive director, and his wife Elizabeth had their second son on June 1, Elizabeth experienced headaches, a sign that something was terribly wrong. Since then, the help has poured in from fellow Republicans and others.
Posted: Aug. 23, 2006
The Congress is in summer recess, but the Delaware delegation is not idle. Politics is in full swing for U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, who goes to a fund-raiser, and for U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, who plans one, and for U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., who gets press.
WHARTON HAS A LOW-DOLLAR BUT HIGH-SATIRE EVENT
Posted: Aug. 18, 2006
Four dollars bought admission to a rally in Newark for Ferris W. Wharton, the Republican candidate for attorney general, and a reminder that Beau Biden, the Democratic candidate, has spent only four years of his legal career as a Delaware lawyer.
GEBELEIN RETIRES FROM THE NATIONAL GUARD
Posted: Aug. 16, 2006
Judge Richard S. Gebelein will be home next month for a ceremonial dinner observing his retirement from the Delaware Army National Guard, taking a break from an assignment he began almost a year ago on an international court in Bosnia.
Posted: Aug. 15, 2006
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Delaware Republicans zero in on a candidate against state Treasurer Jack A. Markell, the two-term Democrat. Dennis Spivack, the Democratic congressional candidate, thinks he has been had.
THE LAST DUPONTER
Posted: Aug. 10, 2006
State Sen. David P. Sokola, a Pike Creek Valley Democrat, is in a tough re-election fight against Michael J. Ramone, a Republican who nearly beat him last time. Not only is Sokola's seat at stake but his distinction as the last DuPonter in the legislature.
Posted: Aug. 8, 2006
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle flexes his political muscle. Federal Judge Kent A. Jordan has to wait a while for what he wants, but state Rep. Robert F. Gilligan does not.
CANDIDATES ARE BOUNCED, AND SO IS THE OCCASIONAL CHECK
Posted: Aug. 4, 2006
Friday was the deadline for candidates to withdraw without forfeiting their filing fees. The Democrats sorted out some candidates for a Wilmington legislative seat, and the Republicans sorted out some filing fees.
"A" IS FOR AUGUST AND A.I. DU PONT . . . AND ALLIE
Posted: Aug. 3, 2006
U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle made political history when his stem cell bill became the president's first veto. He would rather make medical history, so he went to the A.I. du Pont Hospital for Children to talk about the need for stem cell research.
HOWARD DEAN DOES NOT COME CHEAP
Posted: Aug. 1, 2006
Delaware Democrats like Howard Dean a lot more as their national party chair than they did as a presidential candidate. An appreciative crowd turned out for him Tuesday afternoon in Wilmington. It did not hurt that he sent money before he came.
IT'S DEADLINE TIME FOR THE NEXT LEGION OF SUPER-POLITICIANS
Posted: July 26, 2006; updated: July 27, 2006
Why is this election different from the last four elections? Because it signals a winding down of the competition to get into the next generation of political leadership. The clue comes from a couple of holes on the ballot as the candidates' filing deadline approaches.
Posted: July 24, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. State Treasurer Jack A. Markell goes for a long bike ride. Justice Carolyn Berger goes for a new 12-year term on the Delaware Supreme Court.
IT TAKES A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY
Posted: July 20, 2006
Jan C. Ting, the Republican senatorial candidate, and Dennis Spivack, the Democratic congressional candidate, both recently topped $100,000 in contributions. It sounds like a lot, until compared with the war chest of the last challenger who won.
A WAR OF WORDS OVER FERRIS WHARTON
Posted: July 5, 2006
Ferris W. Wharton's candidacy for attorney general means so much to the Republican Party that internal arguments are raging about it. Not much attention has been given to what the candidate himself thinks about his own campaign.
SIX (RETIRING) IN '06
Posted: July 1, 2006
Five planned retirements turned into six when state Rep. Joseph G. DiPinto surprised his colleagues with an end-of-session announcement early Saturday morning, contributing to an institutional drain and a more volatile election season.
IT'S A GRAND OLD VOTE
Posted: June 28, 2006
A mid-summer dream for a politician is a chance to get poetic about the flag with the Fourth of July just a calendar flip away. The flag-burning amendment in the U.S. Senate provided the opportunity that candidates wanted.
FILE WHEN READY
Posted: June 26, 2006
Richard J. Korn is not a lawyer, but lawsuits have been a big part of his claim to fame in a search for political office that has taken him from New York to Delaware, from budget watchdog to tabloid television. His current endeavor is for the state legislature.
FERRIS WHARTON IS FINED $100 FOR CAMPAIGN SIGNS
Posted: June 21, 2006
The Delaware Transportation Department has a new law on the books to help it clear away signs that are too close to the road, and campaign signs for Ferris W. Wharton, the Republican candidate for attorney general, are among the first to be removed this election year.
CANDIDATES GET TO KNOW REPUBLICAN PALS AT THE LEWES CANAL
Posted: June 19, 2006
A Republican gathering Saturday evening along the Lewes canal offered a sense of the familiar to Jan C. Ting, the party's candidate for the U.S. Senate, and Ferris W. Wharton, the candidate for state attorney general, even if they are new to campaigning.
Posted: June 16, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Judge Richard S. Gebelein offers a world's view of Sarajevo. Some Delaware lawyers find their adversaries in their own law firms.
TING HAS A FLAG DAY KICK-OFF FOR A FLAGGING CAMPAIGN
Posted: June 14, 2006
The little U.S. Flags were waving as Republican Jan C. Ting stood outside of Legislative Hall in Dover on Flag Day to declare his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, but did he do enough to get even his own party's attention?
THE HERO AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
Posted: June 13, 2006
When the Delaware Democrats met last Friday in Dover for their state convention, most party members did not realize the significance of what U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper was going to say and the impact it would have.
DELAWARE DEMOCRATS HAVE A HOT TIME IN DOVER
Posted: June 10, 2006
The weather was hot, and so was the political rhetoric as the Delaware Democrats endorsed statewide candidates Friday evening during a convention in Dover and John D. Daniello, the state chair, kept the heat on his party to deliver.
IT'S OUR PARTY, AND YOU'LL RUN IF WE WANT YOU
Posted: June 8, 2006
Neither the Delaware Democrats nor the Delaware Republicans are interested in sharing their ballots with anyone from another party. They are working together on a new law that would keep minor-party candidates from hitching a ride.
REPUBLICAN BOO-BOO ON BEAU BIDEN
Posted: June 6, 2006
When political parties pay for radio spots, it is supposed to generate support among their membership. The Delaware Republican Party appears to have missed the mark with advertising aimed at Beau Biden, the Democratic candidate for attorney general.
THE SON ALSO RISES
Posted: June 1, 2006
As Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III declared his candidacy for attorney general, he traveled throughout the state to events that were part Democratic political rallies and part family reunions. Now it is up to Biden to live up to his famous name.
GARY HUTT COULD BE THE TICKET
Posted: May 30, 2006
The Democrats are poised to be the first to fill their statewide ticket, although the last spot for state auditor appears to be going to a candidate who does not give them the "A" list challenger they wanted against Republican incumbent R. Thomas Wagner Jr.
Posted: May 25, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. If Michael N. Castle can raise money in the congressional race, Dennis Spivack can, too. State Rep. Tina Fallon gets a tribute from John McCain as well as state Rep. J. Benjamin Ewing.
HOFFA'S FATE WAS "DUST TO DUST"
Posted: May 23, 2006
The FBI should not bother looking for Jimmy Hoffa on a Michigan farm, not if there is anything to a tale of the hit told by confessed triggerman Frank Sheeran to Charles Brandt, the former Delaware prosecutor who wrote about it in I Heard You Paint Houses.
JOHN MCCAIN VISITS DELAWARE'S GOLD STAR TOWN
Posted: May 21, 2006
On a day when Seaford was remembering its fallen Marines and recognizing state Rep. Tina Fallon, it also had a visit from John McCain, the Republican presidential prospect and war hero invited to Delaware by U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle.
Posted: May 17, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle is set to capitalize on a visit from John McCain. State Supreme Court Justice Randy J. Holland appraises some furniture.
REPORTS OF HER RETIREMENT ARE GREATLY EXAGGERATED
Posted: May 8, 2006
When Gov. Ruth Ann Minner got the last word at the 15th annual Gridiron, she used it to stop a little mischief-making about her future in office and to spread a little of her own Saturday in the spirit of the spoofs and skits of the political roast.
THE SOUTH CAROLINA STRATEGY
Posted: May 4, 2006
U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. was in South Carolina on Monday. He invited a South Carolina senator to Delaware in April. He took a 3-day trip to the state in March. It looks very much like a strategy for running for president in 2008.
Posted: May 1, 2006
The Republican state convention at Dewey Beach showcased a lot of speechmakers over the weekend, from the New York governor to a local College Republican. There was also some one-upmanship with a fife-and-drum corps.
FERRIS IS A BIG WHEEL
Posted: April 29, 2006
Delaware Republicans at their state convention this weekend could not lavish enough attention on Ferris W. Wharton, the candidate for attorney general. Some of it was because of Wharton, but a lot of it was because of his Democratic opponent.
JANE ROTH NEARS SEMI-RETIREMENT TO OPEN UP A JUDGESHIP
Posted: April 27, 2006; updated: April 28, 2006
After more than two decades on the federal bench, Judge Jane R. Roth is ready to cut her workload and open up a highly desirable seat on the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. The candidates for it are a who's who of Delaware judges.
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL STORMS IN FOR CASTLE (AND HIMSELF)
Posted: April 26, 2006
U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, came to Delaware to raise some money for U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle. He also raised some buzz about himself and maybe the blood pressure of his fellow party members, too.
Posted: April 25, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and other Legislative Hall Democrats come out for Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. for governor. Republicans lose a candidate for state treasurer.
Posted: April 21, 2006
The Republicans held a debate Thursday evening for their U.S. Senate candidates, but it was clear that Jan C. Ting already was looking ahead to his campaign against Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper. So was the rest of the party.
Posted: April 19, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. State Rep. Hazel Plant and the Rev. Al Sharpton continue their mutual admiration society. Beau Biden tends to a family tradition in his campaign for attorney general.
FOR JAN TING, THE VIETNAM WAR WAS ONLY HECK
Posted: April 13, 2006
As a college student, Jan C. Ting went to Oberlin College when it was a radicalized campus against the Vietnam War. What he did then has dogged his campaign as a conservative Republican running for the U.S. Senate.
CARNEY SAMPLES RAINBOW POLITICS
Posted: April 10, 2006
The Delaware Liberty Fund, a bipartisan organization of gay voters, held its annual springtime party Sunday, and guess who came to the reception? The guest speaker was Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr., the two-term Democrat.
FOUR DOWN, ONE TO GO FOR THE STATEWIDE TICKETS
Posted: April 7, 2006
The Delaware Democrats and the Republicans both need one more candidate to set their statewide tickets for the election. The parties have names to consider, although nothing is settled yet.
THE POLITICS OF INOCULATION
Posted: April 5, 2006
As a Republican running in a Democratic blue state, U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle knows what he has to do to inoculate himself against the policies and politics that permeate Capitol Hill but could be unwelcome back home.
Posted: April 3, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. In a world of fictional politics, a candidate named "Beau Smith" could have a shot for attorney general and a dog named "Lenny" could have a legislative agenda.
TING RUNS WITH AN ISSUE, BUT CAN HE OUTPACE CARPER?
Posted: March 29, 2006
The national debate on immigration plays to the strength of Jan C. Ting, but being an expert goes only so far in the Republican challenger's race against U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, a Democrat seeking his second term.
Posted: March 27, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Ferris W. Wharton tells the Republicans "yes" for attorney general. Robert B. Wasserbach tells the Democrats "no" for auditor.
ABOUT THAT CAMPAIGN PROMISE . . .
Posted: March 23, 2006
The campaign pledge from New Castle County Executive Christopher A. Coons, a Democrat elected in 2004, was as clear as it could be -- "no increase in property taxes" -- until he gave his budget address earlier this week.
VETS' LETTER ON JAN TING GETS WINGED
Posted: March 21, 2006
A local veterans' group gets the word that its letterhead should not have been used for a letter written about Jan C. Ting, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, but the military association wants to have its say, anyway.
Posted: March 18, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Irish eyes are on U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. on St. Patrick's Day. Democrats and Republicans face off for bragging rights in a charity volleyball match.
IF TROUBLE KNOCKS, IT IS NOT FOR CARL DANBERG
Posted: March 16, 2006
Carl C. Danberg was in the right place at the right time to be appointed Delaware's attorney general. Perhaps more important, he knows how not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is a lifelong trait.
HARKINS IS CLOSE TO COMING HOME
Posted: March 14, 2006
Michael E. Harkins, the former secretary of state, is about to be assigned to a halfway house in Delaware for the last weeks of the federal prison sentence he received for his abuses at the Delaware River & Bay Authority.
THIS POLITICAL VOLLEYING IS FOR A GOOD CAUSE
Posted: March 10, 2006
Easter Seals is giving some Democratic and Republican politicians an opportunity to do what they do best -- take shots at one another. Both parties are fielding teams in Easter Seals' annual charity volleyball tournament.
THE MOST THANKLESS JOB IN STATE POLITICS
Posted: March 7, 2006
Dennis Spivack boldly went Tuesday where Democrats generally prefer not to go -- into a campaign against U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, a seven-term Republican, for Delaware's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
MARKELL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTYING
Posted: March, 6, 2006
"Get to Know Jack" is a statewide tour that Democratic Treasurer Jack A. Markell launched Saturday as part of his run for re-election -- and for whatever else his future in politics holds. It began in Newark, his old home town.
JAN TING PREVAILS IN SENATE POLL AGAINST DIRTY TRICKS
Posted: March, 4, 2006; updated: March 6, 2006
U.S. Senate candidate Jan C. Ting overcame a challenge from a youthful version of himself to win a straw poll of Republican Party officials, who accepted his regrets of his student-age protests against the Vietnam War.
Posted: March 2, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. State Sen. Thurman G. Adams Jr. gets a singular honor in Sussex County. The Republicans multiply their voice in New Castle County.
TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE
Posted: Feb. 28, 2006
Charles L. Copeland has been making the rounds in Sussex County, far away from the Republican state senator's Chateau Country district. It looks as though it has a lot to do with the next election for governor in 2008.
A DAY OF SHADOW CAMPAIGNING FOR CARPER AND TING
Posted: Feb. 21, 2006
In the middle of winter, there was an early glimmer of the campaign that will take shape between Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper and Republican challenger Jan C. Ting, as they had a tandem display of public appearances.
GOP WANTS FERRIS WHARTON FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL
Posted: Feb. 17, 2006
The Delaware Republicans are looking for an experienced prosecutor to counter Democrat Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III in the election for attorney general. They may have found one in Assistant U.S. Attorney Ferris W. Wharton.
Posted: Feb. 16, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, the seven-term Republican, shows some political clairvoyance on Capitol Hill. He does not show the same at home.
POSTCARDS FROM THE REPUBLICAN EDGE
Posted: Feb. 14, 2006
The Delaware Republicans have not been in the majority in the state Senate since 1973. That sort of record can make a party try things it has never tried before to break the Democratic lock in the 2006 election.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DELAWARE REPUBLICANS AND JOE BIDEN'S SENATE STAFF?
Posted: Feb. 10, 2006; updated: Feb. 13, 2006
The Delaware Republicans wasted no time embracing a newspaper story explaining how the staff of Democratic Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. had edited an online encyclopedia entry. Actually, they embraced it a little too much.
A HOUSE SPOUSE FINDS WORK AT DEVELOPMENT OFFICE
Posted: Feb. 9, 2006
After the mass dismissal of 10 people last summer, the Delaware Economic Development Office has found someone to take over one of the jobs, and he happens to be married to a Democratic state representative.
JOHN MCCAIN PAYS HIS RESPECTS
Posted: Feb. 6, 2006
When the big checks rolled in for the Republican tribute to W. Laird Stabler Jr., there was one that stood out. It came from U.S. Sen. John McCain, and although it had something to do with Stabler, it also had a lot to do with McCain.
Posted: Feb. 1, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Republicans get a Senate candidate. A Wilmington lawyer has a prime seat for the "State of the Union." Judge Richard S. Gebelein checks in from Bosnia.
DOLLARS FOR DEMOCRATS
Posted: Jan. 30, 2006
The Democrats' statewide candidates are taking in contributions like a party in power. Jack Markell, John Carney and Beau Biden all brought in donations worth upwards of six figures. The Republicans could not say the same.
THE LAST GENTLEMAN IN POLITICS
Posted: Jan. 28, 2006
W. Laird Stabler Jr. has spent 40 years in politics without making an enemy. The Republican icon was celebrated for it at a lavish event that drew everyone from former President George H.W. Bush to some hard-core Democrats.
REPUBLICANS TRY AGAIN FOR A SENATE CANDIDATE
Posted: Jan. 26, 2006
The Delaware Republicans are far from giving up in searching for a credible candidate to run against U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper. Their gaze has fallen on a law professor who knows his way around the news media.
A HEALTHY COMPETITION BETWEEN JACK & JOHN
Posted: Jan. 24, 2006
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner not only had something to say about the "State of the State" in her annual address. She also had something to say about the state of the competition for the 2008 Democratic nomination for governor.
STEM CELL RESEARCH RAISES A POLITICAL PANIC
Posted: Jan. 18, 2006
What was once a bill designed to promote embryonic stem cell research was transformed into an anti-cloning bill, as the state House of Representatives backed away from it Wednesday in a case of election-year jitters.
PLANT NOURISHES KING'S LEGACY
Posted: Jan. 16, 2006
For 22 years, state Rep. Hazel D. Plant and the Organization of Minority Women have hosted a breakfast on the state holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but they have never held an event as grand as the one they had this year.
HOW THE TICKETS LOOK FOR DEMOCRATS AND REP-BL-C-NS
Posted: Jan. 13, 2006
The Delaware Democrats are close to assembling a statewide ticket for the 2006 campaign, while the Republicans have major gaps in theirs. It is another sign that the Republicans are continuing to play catch-up in state politics.
COURT IN MOUTH
Posted: Jan. 11, 2006
Delawareans would not need two guesses to say which senator emerged as the wordiest of all Tuesday during the wind fest that was the confirmation hearing for Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. before the Judiciary Committee.
STEM CELLS REGENERATE SAME DEBATE
Posted: Jan. 9, 2006
As the Delaware General Assembly goes back into session this week, it will pick up where it left off as it considers legislation that would encourage embryonic stem cell research. It is an emotional debate that has brought prayer and suffering inside Legislative Hall.
Posted: Jan. 3, 2006
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. does what no other member of Congress did. The Delaware Republicans close out their year by recognizing the opposition.
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