After spending a couple of hours at the doors (aka trying to keep up) with 11th District State Senate candidate Bryan Townsend last night, I can only say this: The residents of the 11th District would be SO much better off with Bryan Townsend as their Senator that it’s not even a close call. He is the single best first-time candidate I’ve encountered since Dave Sokola. And, yes, when elected, he would immediately join Senators Peterson and Sokola as one of the best senators in Dover.
Arrayed against him is virtually the entire political establishment of Delaware. Yes, virtually the entire political establishment of Delaware has decided to prop up the amoral and unethical incumbent Tony DeLuca. And ‘propping up’ is the appropriate description. Spend any time in the district and one thing becomes clear: Tony DeLuca has no chance to win this district on his own. Without his being propped up by the political establishment, his political carcass would be so dead that you couldn’t even grind it up for sausage unless you paid off the inspectors. Or unless one of Tony’s ‘enforcement’ minions was the inspector.
The Townsend candidacy and campaign are so strong, however, that good has a great chance to triumph over eee-vil.
Fueled by a large group of enthusiastic volunteers, the campaign has been working for months to get out the message and to identify their supporters. The volunteers are largely, but by no means, exclusively, of college age, and I found their enthusiasm and discipline infectious. Grassroots campaigns are always so much fun when they’re well-run like this one, and you owe it to yourselves to volunteer to help. If for no other reason, for your psychic well-being.
Such an enthusiastic campaign organization would not be possible if the candidate himself was not leading by example. Bryan Townsend is a remarkable candidate and is outstanding at the doors. He engages people, he relates to people, and he listens and understands their concerns. He wins people over. The issue that came up several times last night was education, and specifically, the state of some of the schools serving students in the 11th District. I find it hard to imagine any candidate this side of Dave Sokola with a better grasp of the performance of the individual schools, and the challenges facing students, teachers and parents in some of the under-performing schools. Not altogether surprising, since Townsend is a product of those schools. If elected, he would immediately become a forceful advocate for teachers, parents and students. Has DeLuca ever even attended a school board meeting, PTA meeting, you name it? Townsend has, and continues to do so. Which makes one wonder why Jack Polidori of DSEA didn’t even permit Townsend to interview for the DSEA endorsement. Actually, not really. Polidori and Markell are allies, and Markell is all-in for DeLuca, a stain that can never be removed from his legacy. Teachers: I know that you all think for yourselves, it’s a prerequisite for the job. Spend five minutes with Townsend and you’ll KNOW that he will be a far greater ally for quality education than DeLuca ever has been. Don’t take my word for it. Call him. And parents? DeLuca has spent 14 years in Dover. How much improvement have you seen in your children’s schools during that time? I encourage you to contact Bryan as well.
So, back to the doors. I was amazed at how few people had ever heard of and/or had met DeLuca. We walked in a community that has been part of the 11th since at least back to the old Roger Martin days. I’ve knocked doors on behalf of numerous candidates and on my own behalf in my one bid for public office. So I know. You always get push-back, it’s to be expected. Not only did we get next-to-no pushback last night, but we got several ‘you’ve got my vote’s and offers for signs. Even a couple of great prospective volunteers. Any political observer who spends time with this candidate can only come away with one conclusion: Both he and his campaign are resonating with voters.
Look, we all know that DeLuca will have loads of money. After all, they’re trying to run a campaign without a candidate who they want to be seen in public. You’re gonna see a lot of mailings, a lot of signs on public right-of-way, a lot of stolen Townsend signs. It’s DeLuca, so invariably the campaign will turn negative. If you don’t believe me, see what you can dig up on the DeLuca-Reed campaigns. About as dirty as campaigns could get.
All of that can be overcome by volunteers and contributions. This campaign can change the course of Delaware politics. It can be a triumph of hope over cynicism. Donate some time, some shoe leather, and some money. It’ll make you feel good. I should know. It made me feel so good that I’m going back. And, I’m writing another check. After payday.