On the Hustings With Bryan Townsend

Filed in National by on July 25, 2012

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.

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  1. Will M says:

    I met Bryan at a Common Cause event about campaign financing. Seemed like a good guy, and from what I know of the other two candidates in the race, he’s the only one I’d ever vote for.

  2. jason330 says:

    This sucks: “Markell is all-in for DeLuca…” Up until that sentence I was thinking about how much your take on Townsend reminded me of the Markell v Carney days.

    Contribute to Townsend by clicking here.

  3. Yep. There was a real nice grassroots element to Markell’s campaign vs. the uber-endorsement strategy of Carney’s.

    I remember the primary day when we were doing a volunteer phone bank in downtown Wilmington, walked out after my shift, and saw paid Carney union ‘volunteers’ standing on street corners with Carney signs. As if THAT was going to do any good. Felt even better about Jack’s chances after that.

    What’s really puzzling here is that the ‘establishment’ isn’t even bothering to defend DeLuca. It’s almost an attempt to exercise raw power w/o a legit justification for the exercise, and it sucks. Markell deserves to be embarrassed about this.

    But, you know what? There’s no sweeter feeling than David slaying Goliath. And that’s what can happen here. The vibe is/was real good. Just like it was for Jack in the closing days…

  4. puck says:

    El Som – what’s your take now on DeLuca’s redistricting Sokola in with Sorenson, given the outcome? Does it still look like retaliation over the leadership vote to you? Or with hindsight does it look more benign and actually a pretty good move?

  5. It was–and here’s why. What did both Liane Sorenson and Dave Sokola have in common? Both opposed Tony DeLuca for leadership. He couldn’t lose. One way or another, the opposition would lose a vote.

  6. puck says:

    Good point – thanks.

  7. Pencadermom says:

    Must be good. My neighbor now has a sign in his yard since yesterday (something I’ve never seen him do) Hmmm, no one knocked on my door and I would have loved to talk education. We certainly need a good ally for education around here.

  8. Pencadermom: Some of the first signs went up yesterday. There was also both a volunteer canvass and, of course, Bryan’s door-to-door. It’s a big district, and, even with canvassing teams, you can’t come close to doing it in one day or even one week or one month. I’ve linked to his website at the top of the article.

    Give him a call. He’s very prompt in responding. A trait that will serve him well in elective office.

  9. Pencadermom says:

    Thanks for the info. I spoke to my neighbor who spoke highly of him. I know he can’t talk to someone at every house, especially after my chatty neighbor got a hold of him, lol.

  10. John Young says:

    Bryan will be a huge asset to the 11th! However, I hope he is NOTHING like blind charter ideologue and tone deaf on education Sen. Sokola. I’m sure Senator Sokoola has plent of progressive bona fides, but his position on ignoring the ancient charter law and ignoring the impact f charters on traditional public schools is, well, awful.

    I look forward to voting for Bryan.

  11. anonymous says:

    Another great, young State Senate candidate is Andy Staton. He is part of a new generation of Democrats in a county where the party has to rebuild. He is intelligent, a hard worker, open to new ideas. If you live downstate check out Andy’s website.

  12. John Manifold says:

    Will Bryan have an event, as Jerry G and Paul B have done, to generate momentum and volunteers?

  13. John: This campaign has been up and running for several months now. Bryan and the campaign have already attracted an impressive number of volunteers. It’s not starting from scratch due to a surprise retirement, as are the campaigns in the 23rd.

    However, as you know as well as anybody, you can NEVER have enough volunteers in a grassroots campaign, especially when, as in this case, you’re going up against someone being propped up by virtually all of the Delaware Way usual suspects.

    Plus, this is a great campaign for scratching that political itch. On top of everything else, it’s FUN.

  14. I live in SD11 and I can tell you that Bryan is working his ass off. He’s even come around to my little neighborhood. This will be a really interesting primary, truly a grassroots vs establishment race. BTW, I’ve gotten two mailers from DeLuca, none from Townsend but an in-person visit from Bryan.

    I’ll report back when I start seeing the lawn signs go up. I know signs don’t vote but I think they can be a gauge on the campaign.

  15. SussexWatcher says:

    Anon at 2:44: I don’t disagree with your description of Andy, but where are all the other members of this new generation of Democrats? Except for Dustin Parker and Jim Westhoff, every Dem official or candidate I meet is at least 50. They’re more likely to be paying for arthritis meds than paying off student loans. That’s not to slam the retirees, but the party has got to have a farm team. The GOP does – look at Ernie Lopez and Brian Pettyjohn just for starters. They are going places. Where are our young municipal candidates and school board members?

  16. Victor says:

    Good Evening Delaware Liberal:
    First of all I just wanted to say love your site.
    I just wanted to start out by saying I have had the privilege to meet Bryan, he came to my home a few months back when I was home recovering from a operation. I was in a lot of pain and was very cranky. Bryan knocked on my door to tell me he was running for state Senate in my district. When I found out he was this young lawyer looking to run against a long time incumbent who was friends with our Governor. I let him in he had my undivided attention and my pain started to es the more he talked.
    Fast forward, Bryan is not only a man I’m voting for he is also my friend because he care so much about the people. Think about it for a moment why would someone spend so much time in law school become a attorney. I don’t know about anyone else but lawyers make a decent wage. So why would a young man who is now a lawyer want to cut his pay by taking a senators job. Ill tell you why to help others he seen his father do it and now he wants to do it. that’s the kind of person I want as my Senator. Can someone on here tell me what a senator makes in a year. Is it a part time job? The reason I ask is because don’t Anthony have another job working for the state. Wow how does he ever have time to enjoy that half a million dollar beach house in Lewis I believe the development name is Chapel Green, the reason I know this is because my parents and I also have a home there as well. I guess this is the reason you don’t see Anthony in the community’s or returning Tax payers phone calls or addressing the concerns at our School board meetings or PTA meetings. I do know this much. When I call Bryan I get a call back with in 24 hours or less. It’s called multitasking I think most of us do it now. Anyway come September 11th I’m Voting for Bryan Townsend in the primary. I will also be volunteering my services to help Bryan get elected. Again Thank you Delaware Liberal for having such a wonderful form for people to voice there opinions. And god Bless this great State.

  17. pandora says:

    Thanks for commenting, Victor! And… welcome!

  18. Idealist says:

    I’m really excited to hear how well the campaign is going. I think Bryan is going to lead a class of incoming Democrats that will make us proud for years to come.

  19. mike4smom says:

    Hey El Sonanmbulo, do you go out with any candidate or only with Senate candidates?

  20. I rarely go out campaigning at all. Had more than my fill of it in 20-plus years working for the General Assembly. Plus, I ran once myself. I enjoyed it, but that itch has long since been scratched.

    There are a couple of other candidates I hope to volunteer for this year–if they’ll have me.

    It’s just that I’m so enthused about the Townsend race, and I think it’s such an important race, that I’ve taken to pounding the pavement again. But not that often…