Told’ja I’d go back, and I went back yesterday evening to campaign with Bryan Townsend, who may be running the best single state legislative campaign in Delaware this year. Well, his amazing staff is running the campaign, Bryan’s the Incredible Campaigner. Here’s what I learned:
1. You Can’t Go Home Again…if you’re Tony DeLuca.
Got through the I-95 traffic early, so I decided to tour the community that Tiny Tony called home up until well… you know. That community is Varlano, a well-kept working class subdivision off of Old Baltimore Pike. I immediately saw a Townsend sign on a lawn at the first intersection. My tour of the community revealed 5 Townsend signs and one, wait for it, Evan Q sign. Not one DeLuca sign in the community that knows him best.
2. Bryan Townsend Is Great At the Door.
Without detailing the type of list we were working from (suffice it to say that the list reflects this well-coordinated campaign and will result in votes on Sept. 11), Bryan Townsend won a lot of votes at the door last night. How? He listens and thoughtfully discusses the concerns raised by those at the door. He doesn’t use some BS lines, he just listens, empathizes, and lets people know that he will actually be there for them when he’s elected. He even received some constituent concerns, and will be following up on them this morning. You know, stuff an accessible senator would do as a matter of course. Which brings me to:
3. DeLuca Really Has Been Invisible.
There have been recent DeLuca sightings, as he travels door-to-door with what is described as a large entourage. I think I understand why. Remember when Tony single-handedly, and in violation of proper legislative procedures, had his office turned into an armed fortress b/c ‘just anybody could walk in’ and interrupt…important business? Remember when he cited the possibility of stalkers and/or would-be thieves gleaning his travel patterns as an excuse not to reveal his hourly records from DOL? That’s right, folks. I’m guessing that this is less an entourage and more of a security detail to keep people away from someone of Tony’s stature (insert your own joke here). My long-winded point is that we were in a community that has been around forever, and nobody we spoke to had ever met Tony DeLuca. Ever. How long has he been senator again?
4. Townsend’s Campaign Team Is Awesome.
The coordination is incredible, and I should know. I’ve worked on campaigns a long time. As you know, I especially love grassroots campaigns, and I believe that an effective grassroots campaign in Delaware can overcome tens of thousands of misspent dollars, or even well-spent dollars, which is not the case here. And this may be the best one I’ve ever worked on. Better than Dave Sokola’s first campaign b/c the campaign managers are dependable and very bright. Dave had to overcome a campaign manager who, as I recall, took vacation right before the election. There’s great synergy at work here, and the stuff gets done. Big thumbs up for the food as well.
5. Tony DeLuca, Job Creator…In Iowa.
While in the district yesterday, we found out that, that very day, the DeLuca campaign was conducting a massive canvass/push poll. Not a negative push poll but, from what we were able to reconstruct something like this: “May I speak to ______? I’m calling on behalf of State Senator Tony DeLuca. Tony is working to create jobs, to provide high-quality education in our district, and is a genuinely caring person (I’m not making the last part up, they really said that.) Can we count on your support in the Democratic primary on Tues., Sept. 11?”
As you might expect, some of the content of that message set off little alarms among informed voters. So people asked the callers: What district? What state? And, of course, Where are you calling from? The only one of those questions the callers were able to answer was the last one, the ‘where are you calling from?’. The answer: Iowa. So, I guess it’s truthful for the callers to say that DeLuca is creating jobs in their district. Only it’s their district in Iowa.
6. The Townsend Campaign Has a Great Plan for Between Now and Election Day.
I have no doubt that, assuming they have enough money, and we’re talking nowhere near DeLuca money, they will be able to execute their plan and, I think, seal the deal. The plan fits perfectly with the grassroots building block campaign that they’ve waged. All it takes is money. I ponied up a second time. You can too. Right here. Not only is the most ethically-challenged member of the General Assembly ready to be toppled, he would be replaced by a person who immediately would be among the best legislators in Dover.
The DeLuca campaign really appears to be in disarray and reduced to simply throwing good money after bad. They are trying to do something which I’m not sure they can do. Bury people in so much campaign lit and third party contacts that people will forget that they’ve never met the guy they’re talking about. They’ve easily burned through over $100,000 (!), and yet nobody at the doors knows the guy. They’re getting two pieces of lit a week from someone they’ve never met. In Delaware, people expect to see their elected officials. Hell, I’ve had both Mike Castle and Joe Biden at my door, and Tom Carper has spent quality time on our patio (admittedly not lately). And it’s tough for statewide candidates to get around like that. 14 years of Tony DeLuca, and hardly anybody in the district knows him. Which would likely be advantageous for DeLuca if someone like Bryan Townsend wasn’t his opponent. He’s everything DeLuca isn’t: engaged (well, DeLuca might be engaged, if you get my drift), accessible, and empathetic.
With your help, he can become what Tony DeLuca is: State Senator in the 11th District. And one thing that Tony DeLuca isn’t: State Senator For the People of the 11th District.