Giant Killer?

Filed in National by on July 31, 2012

Sam Waltz of the public relations firm Waltz & Associates starts off his fellation of Charles Lamont du Pont Copeland in the Delaware Today thusly:

When Republicans go to the polls in November and review the ballot, they won’t find the name of the man many GOP leaders figure to be their biggest giant-killer. Charlie Copeland, 49, is sitting this one out. Taking his time. Picking his spot. Taking care of business.

Pardon me a moment….

I guess ‘lil Charlie was feeling a ‘lil left out, like the Delaware political world was beginning to forget him. You see, Former Senator Charlie Copeland left elective office in 2008, retiring from his 4th Senate District Seat in Chateau Country and Hockessin so that he could run for Lt. Governor. In November 2008, he was crushed into little pieces by then Insurance Commissioner, and now Lt. Governor Matt Denn, 61% to 39%. He garnered 149,222 votes in that race. Charlie started his political career in 2002 when he primaried freshman Republican Senator Dallas Winslow. Charlie won, but surely, he was not killing a Giant in doing so. Charlie had the family name and connections of the du Pont and all the money in the world to win it. He won election in the fall over a no name Democrat and then was unopposed in 2004 for reelection. And that is the extent of Charlie’s electoral Giant Killing career.

His career is over now, no matter how much a bullsh*t PR piece in the Delaware Today wishes it not to be so. But let’s unpack this truly inspired fantasy, shall we?

Copeland, a scion of DuPont Co. founders and, of course, du Pont family wealth, has gravitated toward politics the way his ancestors gravitated toward explosives and chemistry.

Oh, those ancestors gravitated towards politics too. I suppose Waltz forgets Governor Pete du Pont? Let us all be thankful that Charlie did not gravitate towards explosives and chemistry.

“When I grew up, we didn’t talk sports at the dinner table, we talked politics,” says Copeland. “I remember Nixon resigning, and Mom crying, bemoaning chaos in the Republic.”

My family through a raucous celebration when Nixon resigned, although we were quite disappointed that he was not impeached first. Seriously, your Mom cried over Nixon? This one anecdote screams a lot about how different the Copeland family was, and is, from normal America.

It took nearly three decades for the Copeland family passion for politics to translate to action, but for Charlie Copeland, the results have been nothing short of remarkable.

I’m sorry, but again…

Remarkable? Now, I have described to you the electoral history of Charles Copeland. I found nothing really remarkable about it. Let’s see what Steve does with the same information:

Becoming involved in GOP politics in 2000 on the campaign front, Copeland first ran for the Delaware senate in a post-reapportionment election in 2002, then was re-elected to a four-year term in the state senate in 2004, where he quickly moved into leadership.

He only quickly moved into the leadership of the Senate Republicans because at the time the Senate Republicans only had 5 members, if I recall. Currently, they only have 7. It’s not like he rose to power over 200 members because he was just that good.

In what in hindsight appeared the quixotic “tilting at windmills,” Copeland in 2008 joined the Republican ticket as its candidate for lieutenant governor, facing the headwinds of a historic Democratic ticket headed by Barack Obama and Copeland’s Greenville neighbors, Joe Biden and Jack Markell.

The first absolutely true and accurate paragraph in the whole piece. I too had no idea why Charlie ran in 2008. Everyone knew it was going to be a Democratic landslide up and down the ballot. I thought, and said loudly at the time, that Charlie should have stayed in the Senate and become the official opposition to Governor Markell, and then run against him in either 2012 or later on in 2016. So I guess Charlie has regrets now. Such is life…

Copeland earned his MBA at Duke University before returning to Delaware for another family business, Associates Graphics International, now a $10 million printing company that was launched by his father. The company is thriving, and Copeland late last year completed the acquisition of the state’s best-known “Democrat-owned” printing firm, Farley Printing Co.

So Charlie has a rich family, and jobs just fell into his lap. Much like Mitt Romney. What a tortured existence our “remarkable” one percenters have.

[Copeland’s way] is not the infamous “Delaware way,” not the “let’s go along and get along.”

Gather the fainting couches.

He raised eyebrows in 2010 when he helped orchestrate campaigns against three powerful incumbent Democrats in the Senate—Nancy Cook, Patricia Blevins, and David Sokola—and managed to help unseat the powerful Cook, who had served in Dover since before Copeland was old enough to drive.

I will defer to others to comment on how influential Charlie Copeland was in orchestrating challenges to Cook, Blevins and Sokola. Cook was going down no matter the existence or influence of ‘lil Charlie, but I’ll give him that one. The challenges to Blevins and Sokola? Blevins destroyed the electoral juggernaut known as Fred Cullis, 61% to 39%. Meanwhile, rookie candidate Louis Saindon was sent packing by Senator Sokola by an equal margin, 61% to 39%. Is that what Waltz finds remarkable? That both Copeland-picked candidates lost in landslides by equal margins?

And now we turn to the straight out batshit crazy part of the piece:

But he really raised eyebrows in early 2012, when he successfully led opposition in the Republican Party to the re-election of Priscilla Rakestraw to the Republican National Committee. She had been its longest-serving member nationally. Rakestraw stepped down in her campaign for re-election, and the party chose Ellen Barrosse, founder of the pro-life group Rose and a Prayer and an anchor of the party’s religious right.

Again, I will defer to others on how influential Charlie was, and in the absence of contrary information we will put the retirement of Rackstraw on Charlie’s “remarkable” political resume of upending the Delaware Way. In so doing, Charlie made the Delaware Republican Party more socially conservative that it has ever been. Yet Waltz then goes on to say this:

Copeland is anything but a part of the religious right of the party. Today he would be known by political observers over the age of 40 as a “Rockefeller Republican,” someone who is center-right, rejecting far-right policies, and is culturally liberal. Add to that a progressive view on social issues, a suspicion of big government and a Calvinist ethic.

Wait… what the frack?

Charlie Copeland is not a member of the religious right? He is not a social conservative? Since when? You just got done telling us that Charlie is solely responsible for the “remarkable” replacement of Rackstraw with the vehemently anti-choice Barrosse, and then you say he is a progressive?

On what basis? He’s not pro-choice. He’s not pro-union. If I recall correctly he opposed the Civil Union Bill and is opposed to marriage equality. He opposed the Anti-Discrimination Bill. As for rejecting far-right policies, far from it. This is a person who has lauded Paul Ryan’s budget, a budget that ends Medicare. He has flip flopped on being for strong environmental regulations (being for it when he was running and against it in 2009 when he could criticize Markell for the Valero closing due to overregulation). This is a person who embraced the Tea Party so pathetically that even Christine O’Donnell thought it an amateur move.

As for criminal sentencing reform, again I will defer to others more knowledgeable, but for now I will give him that. But…

“I’ve just been blessed to be in the right position through birth, through serendipity, whatever, to do some of these things,” he says. But Copeland’s thoughts and passion return easily to politics.

Ok, you have been blessed. Since you and others of the 1% have been so blessed, Charlie, will you support a measely 4% increase in taxes on those, like yourself, who make over $250,000 so that we can preserve the social safety net for those who aren’t so blessed and so we can start to bring down our deficit?

Charlie, if you’re answer is no, then you are no fracking Progressive. And I know your answer is no, since you have praised the Ryan Budget and favor ending the New Deal. So all this talk about being a progressive Republican (and the last Republican to call himself that was Tyler Nixon when he ran for Lt. Governor in 2004), is just Charlie trying reinvent himself for the third time by my count as he prepares to run for Governor in 2016. He knows the tea party is toxic and he knows he will have to distance himself from O’Donnell et al. If only he had such courage in 2009 and 2010.

About the Author ()

Comments (36)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Here Smitty, Smitty, Smitty : Delaware Liberal | July 31, 2012
  1. jason330 says:

    Is Dave Burris writing under the pen name Sam Waltz by any chance?

  2. fightingbluehen says:

    Charlie is a stand up guy, but if he continues his love affair with The Department of Homeland Security, he will lose the backing of many freedom loving conservative Republicans.

  3. Delaware Dem says:

    I swear, I felt dirty reading it. I wanted to tell Sam and Charlie to get a room.

  4. Delaware Dem says:

    FBH, what is Charlie’s current love affair with the DHS? And by Freedom Loving Conservative Republicans, do you mean the same people who voted for Bush twice and supported the passage of the Patriot Act and just loved Bush’ violation of the FISA Court?

  5. jason330 says:

    Quitting his safe seat to get his ass handed to him by Denn, embracing the tea party just as it revealed itself to be a craven joke, trying to raise his profile as a party leader when the DEGOP is about to suffer historic loses… the guy has the worst instincts in politics.

  6. Delaware Dem says:

    Well, it shows that Charlie Copeland, like Mitt Romney, has no core principles. First he was a Castle Chateau Country Republican, then he was a Tea Party Conservative. And now he is a Progressive Republican.

    And yes, he has made horrible career decisions too.

  7. heragain says:

    Having a doctor’s appointment last week, I actually read this article. I know Delaware Today isn’t the epicenter of American Journalism, but this was pretty over the top WTF, even by their parsley photographing standards.

    My favorite part, however, wasn’t from the “analysis” of Copeland’s political accomplishments, which seem to be restricted to giving Priscilla the incentive to develop new hobbies. It was the news, to me, that neither of his kids go to Tower Hill. Really? Don’t they get along with their cousins?

    Nothing in this article actually inspires fundraising, that’s for sure.

  8. JJ says:

    Charlie firmly embraced Christine O’Donnell after she won nomination in 2010. That’s enough to disqualify him in many people’s eyes. Sam Waltz as a journalist – now that’s funny!!

  9. Jason330 says:

    He was on the front cover of a Tower Hill promotional piece two years ago.

  10. puck says:

    Charlie might have done well to keep his mouth shut and follow the Mike Castle RINO model. Castle brought home the bacon for Charlie’s class, and did as much damage with his votes as any frothing-at-the-mouth teabagger could have done, yet he kept his reputatation as a moderate and a nice guy.

  11. fightingbluehen says:

    Yes DD, I mean those same conservatives that you speak of. I am not a member of the Tea Party, but I hear what they are saying. The consensus of most conservatives regarding the Patriot Act and DHS has evolved since Bush. The feeling is that DHS is no longer about actual homeland security , but rather cheating at law enforcement and infringing on peoples civil rights. It’s just plain big government at this point.
    For the record, I never supported the Patriot Act.

  12. Delaware Dem says:

    I have a feeling those same conservatives will grow to love the DHS again once a black guy is no longer President.

  13. puck says:

    It’s amazing how many conservatives are retroactively opposed to Bush policies.

  14. mediawatch says:

    Sam Waltz once was a journalist — back in the ’70s. Then he sold his soul to the DuPont Co. The “journalism” resurfaces periodically, whenever one of his cronies needs some public rehabilitation.

  15. Dave says:


    “It’s amazing how many conservatives are retroactively opposed to Bush policies.”

    Yep, I’ve noticed that as well. In fact I wonder, is there any Bush policy that is currently supported by conservatives?

  16. puck says:

    They’d vote for them all over again in a heartbeat.

  17. liberalgeek says:

    I was at that first Tea Party in Wilmington. Charlie was instrumental in that. He has been pallin’ around with tea-partiers ever since.

    This is a clumsy, and useless attempt to now distance himself from them. and in 4 years, I’ll be a dozen donuts that he uses a quote from this “article” in a literature piece when he runs for something in 2016.

  18. Geezer says:

    @MW: I’m surprised Delaware Today would let a PR guy write an article about anything.

  19. mediawatch says:

    @Geez — Sam’s byline shows up in DT every couple of years, usually writing about one of his pals. I think he reverts to his writing mode when his consulting business slows down.
    One thing that bugged me about the DT piece was lack of disclosure of an obvious conflict: When Charlie was pres of SURJ, pushing for sentencing reform, Sam was on the board of directors.

  20. rsmitty says:


    …I’ll be a dozen donuts that he uses a quote…

    Hmm…well, I’ll pass eating that box of donuts, but who will be a box o’ joe?

  21. pandora says:

    Ooh, I’ve missed you, Smitty! I completely missed that LG blooper!

  22. cassandra_m says:

    I’m trying to make this more precise, but it seems that Smitty is showing up when food is mentioned.

    Still testing this theory.

  23. liberalgeek says:

    sigh. His first appearance in months and it’s about a missing “t”. Sheesh!

  24. anon says:

    Copeland was the rwnj that got the Delaware GOP in bed with the Tea Party. In 2010 he arranged a Dupont family fundraiser for O’Donnell and in 2012 he introduced Evan Q at Evan’s senate announcement. He and his Greenville country club buddies took out Rakestraw behind her back and replaced her with a far right anti abortion, anti stem cell research fringe nut job who did nothing for the party except throw a fundraiser for Copeland. Copeland even tried to take out his own family member, Laird Stabler but he was smacked down by the RNC Chair. To say he’s not a social conservative is a f*cking joke.

  25. Maria Hess says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading these comments.

    We’d be happy to print letters to the editor regarding this story. If you are so inclined, please send them to me, at

    We appreciate your thoughts—positive or negative. I can’t promise we can print all the letters, but we can certainly make space for some.

    Thanks much,
    Maria Hess
    Delaware Today

  26. Dave says:


    “Copeland was the rwnj that got the Delaware GOP in bed with the Tea Party. In 2010 he arranged a Dupont family fundraiser for O’Donnell and in 2012 he introduced Evan Q at Evan’s senate announcement”

    In my opinion, any supporters or former supporters of COD or Evan Q, are automatically DQ due to their ghastly lack of common sense and judgment. Anyone would advocate for those who are so grossly unqualified is certainly unfit for office themselves.

  27. GreenvilleR says:

    I am a life long R….and live in Charlie’s old Senate District. He was not the only one involved in taking out Priscilla Rakestraw. Priscilla is a terrific person and has committed herself to serving our community, and State. She works across party lines. Charlie had a lot of help replacing Priscilla. In fact, from what I hear from reliable R sources in our community, Rep. Lavelle was spearheading this as vice chair of the Republican party with the help of Mike Fleming and Colin Bonini. They chose Ms. Barrose to help advance their extreme agenda. These people are true insider politicians. They are not interested in working together to make our community and State better. They only want to advance their own political careers, their agenda, and their priority is not in solving our problems. They also have an extreme far right agenda, that is advocated by and exemplified by Rep. Lavelle, that does not represent our community of Greenville and Centreville. These people are part of the problem of why our government does not work well. You should fear their underground effort to take over our government and its policies. We cannot allow them to succeed.

  28. JJ says:

    Get real…Colin Bonini has lost ALL credibility with Delawarean Republicans. He is not a real, principled conservative. He has backed Tony Deluca for leadership and cut inside deals with Patty Blevins for years. He grandstands, but does not walk the walk. He doesn’t even show up for his committee work on JFC and Bond and has the nerve to collect his pay for it. He even supported Newt for President–enough said. He can never run statewide again with any real credibility.

  29. Liberal Laughs says:

    Copeland is gone and forgotten. Since his primary of Winslow to his treatment of Rakestraw he has little loyalty. Sadly, his ridiculous move in 2008 to join Lee was the worst political move you could imagine. He left state senate seat to get beat 2 to 1 in Lt Gov race.
    There is no chance of him ever getting back to the top cuz the DuPont fix on the party is going, going, gone.

    Trivia question for Copeland. How much did he pay in cash to his “black leaders” in 2008 to work the city. I heard $12 k?

  30. Geezer says:

    “the DuPont fix on the party is going, going, gone.”

    That’s what you like to think, but in all these years of talk, the SuxCo radicals have repeatedly failed to find an alternate funding source.

  31. wtf says:

    The 2009 Tea Party was organized by thee guys and Copeland was not one of them. Let us see if you know who they were. Uncle Dupie is not funding the party either, the place is broke.

  32. Geezer says:

    “Uncle Dupie is not funding the party either, the place is broke.”

    As I said, they have failed to find an alternate funding source. Did you think the upstate rich folks were going to keep funding a group of people that consistently demonizes them? They’re rich, not stupid.

  33. SussexAnon says:

    “Colin Bonini has lost ALL credibility with Delawarean Republicans”

    Better late than never for Republicans to realize what Dems have known for a very long time.

    “He is not a real, principled conservative” Hmm, dunno about that. He’s not very smart, serious or a hard worker He likes to take gov’t money to serve on committees he doesn’t show up for. That committee should be a place where he could cut and slash gov’t to his liking but he is too lazy to show up. Sounds like a modern conservative to me.

  34. Geezer says:

    @Greenville R: Mike Fleming wasn’t even the conservative in the primary for that seat, which was won by John (Son of) Clatworthy, allowing Mike Katz to take the seat for the Dems.

  35. Copeland paid no more than Jack Markell for his black stewardship in the city.

    Check for funding going out to Derrick Johnson’s brother Elder Tyrone Johnson. Johnson has also collected $$ from Carper in the form of grants for his various endeavors. I think he took 100K or more from Jack in 2008 for campaign consulting.