Posted: May 8, 2003
A STATE GOP CHAIRMAN FROM
By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer
Terry A. Strine, who is expected to become the
next Republican state chairman, took steps within the last month to
tidy himself up as a Delawarean and leave aside a sticky question
about whether he was living across the line in Pennsylvania.
He says he does not know the answer to the
Strine is sure he is a legal Delawarean now,
his residency established in an apartment above Investors Realty
Inc., his property management firm at 1207 Delaware Ave. in
Wilmington. It is the address to which he says he transferred his
driving license and voter registration before announcing his
interest in the party chairmanship last month.
Strine also owns a country home at 51 Selborne
Dr., a charming little lane that branches off Delaware 52 in Chateau
Country just before Pennsylvania and meanders past estates that hug
the state line.
Although Strine is in the real estate business
himself, he says he is unclear whether the house is located in
Pennsylvania or Delaware because he never had his land surveyed.
"The state line goes somewhere through the
property. I do not know, it might be Pennsylvania," he said during a
telephone interview Thursday.
Strine says he bought the home in January 2002
and had a Pennsylvania real estate attorney for the settlement. He
says he was told that the previous owner claimed a Pennsylvania
residency but the owner before that claimed a Delaware residency.
He says he pays income taxes in both states
but is unsure where he pays property taxes because they are escrowed
through his mortgage.
Strine registered and voted in Delaware in the
2002 election using the Selborne Drive address -- which leads to a
question about whether he should have.
"You have to vote where you sleep, or I don't
think it's legal. I would say that off the top of my head. I would
say that's fraud, although I don't want to sound harsh," said Frank
B. Calio, the state election commissioner in Delaware.
Strine, 65, is something of a walk-on for the
Republican state chairmanship. The party was left with a leadership
vacuum when J. Everett Moore Jr. unexpectedly decided not to run for
a second two-year term.
As a party loyalist and informal adviser to
Moore, Strine became a prime candidate for the post, almost by
default, after it was turned down by a number of early favorites,
including Vice Chairman John R. Matlusky, Kent County Chairman
Patrick W. Murray and and National Committeewoman Priscilla B.
Strine's ties to Delaware go back more than 40
years. Born in York, Pa., he said he moved to Dover in 1959 after
going to Franklin & Marshall College and getting a job with IBM.
Except for a stint in the Coast Guard, he lived there until 1968
when he became a stockbroker and moved to Wilmington.
Before he bought the Selborne Drive house, he
said he lived in Rockland Mills for 14 years. He has owned the
Investors Realty property for about four years, he said.
Strine is as unrelated politically as he is
genealogically from Vice Chancellor Leo E. Strine Jr., who is a
The election for a new chairman is scheduled
for May 17 during the Republican state convention in Dover. Party
leaders, who said Thursday they previously were unaware of any
questions about Strine's residency, did not believe on first
impression that he would be derailed.
"This is the first I've heard of it," Moore
said. "If he is legally living in the city and that's where he
votes, then it's fine."
Rakestraw said Strine's situation reminded her
of Harry G. "Hal" Haskell Jr., a Republican who was elected
Wilmington mayor in 1968 with a town house in the city and a country
estate called Hill Girt Farm in Pennsylvania.
"Terry Strine is a Delaware Republican, and I
don't anticipate any problem. Like Hal Haskell, he has both a town
house and a country home," she said.
Strine himself says Delaware is home. "I
consider myself since 1959 a Delawarean. That's an emotional thing,
not a legal thing," he said.
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