Help Laura Sturgeon Take On Greg Lavelle

Filed in National by on July 10, 2017

Sturgeon has launched a polished, professional campaign that I’m sure is already giving Lavelle a panic attack. That is worthy of support all on its own, but as a DEMOCRAT, I also like reading…

All strong economies have a large, vibrant middle class. Unions help the middle class, progressive taxation helps the middle class, affordable health care helps the middle class, women’s access to reproductive choices helps the middle class, and excellent public education helps the middle class. I do not support the failed trickle-down economic policies of the past, and will fight to make sure the working people of Delaware are not over-burdened by shouldering the bulk of the cost of state programs.

This was El Somanbulo’s take on Lavelle back in March:

I think Lavelle could well be vulnerable based both on anti-Trump sentiment and b/c he’s such a shill for the least desirable aspects of Rethuggery. District’s about 50-50, and there are a lot of moderate R’s. A D appeal to R women could prove effective.

It only takes a $1.00 to show you are onboard.


About the Author ()

Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

Comments (34)

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  1. RE Vanella says:

    I’m in for $25. Just donated. Very simple as contributions via her website are run through Act Blue.

    Now go over there and do the same. We need to get behind anyone willing to step up.

  2. jason330 says:

    I’m in for $25.00.

    To all the people who want a flesh blood candidate… here you go.

  3. This is an exciting opportunity to place a great Democrat into a Northern NCC state senate seat. There are some ‘other’ interested parties so Laura will likely have a primary opponent or two but she’s the real deal. Bank on it.

  4. bane says:

    Yep, cause that’s exactly what those blue bloods in Hockessin are looking for. A candidate who can impress Newark and Rehoboth liberals. That’s exactly what you do in chateau country, lead with making your constituents pay more taxes. I guess the assumption is that either Hockessin has a enough union middle class workers who are just itching to come out of hiding, or that the money class of Hockessin will all of a sudden grow hearts like the Grinch and go down to Whoville and start giving presents to all the little Whos. Either way, I’m in.

  5. alby says:

    For those wondering who she is, from her website:

    Old-timey Delawarean take: Two Brandywine High alums vie to represent Red Clay stronghold.

  6. Claire says:

    Laura is a great candidate. I hope that progressives in Sussex and elsewhere who don’t have any candidates to support will work to elect Laura. We need to start thinking about the state as a whole and not just focusing on our own districts.

  7. Joshua W says:

    If any of you are interested in meeting Laura, she’s hosting a happy hour at Six Paupers next Wednesday. Hope to see some of you guys there.

  8. alby says:

    Before we get carried away with exuberant enthusiasm, let’s remember she’s a public school teacher running in a district full of old people and parents with kids in private schools.

  9. Claire says:

    Yes, and her opponent is horrible!

  10. alby says:

    Not to upstate Republicans, he’s not. He’s the only thing standing between them and a complete takeover of the party by the slack-jawed downstate contingent. Nobody in Chateau Country wants the smell of chicken manure on their nice carpets.

  11. hmm says:

    Ya gotta pay good money for that manure smell from the mushroom farms.

  12. puck says:

    Sturgeon wants two new upper income tax brackets to pay for improving public education. This alone makes her the pro-business candidate so far. I’m in for $100.

  13. alby says:

    @hmm: You don’t understand Chateau Country values. Horse manure, good. Chicken manure, bad.

  14. Steve Newton says:

    I’m going to rain on this parade, with apologies to Laura, who seems like a good person. She has at best a 20% chance of winning.

    Here’s my reasoning:

    1. The District–the 4th SD is composed of precincts from the 4th, 12th, 21st, and 22nd RDs. Only three of those precincts are from the 4th (held by Dem Brady); the other 21 precincts are all parts of strong R districts–(Deborah Hudson, Mike Ramone, and Joe Miro); the voter registration is almost dead even R vs D in the district, but if you check the voting records over the past six to eight years you will find that plenty of Pike Creek Democrats split their tickets to elect local Rs. Joe Miro considers it a bad election if he only gets 55% of the vote in a district that only has 40% registered Republicans. So the initial demographics of the voting population are hard against her.

    2. Even the registered Democrats in this district are not liberals or progressives. They consistently vote for charters, choice, low taxes, tax money being used to fix their streets, and against “city kids” being bussed into their neighborhoods. They are not going to vote for new tax brackets, gasoline taxes, or money for WEIC implementation. They are, by and large, willing to separate their local Republicans from the national party, and I have seen Lavelle, Ramone, and Miro do so with incredible ease at local gatherings. This is not a progressive district, and an unusually high number of elderly people vote.

    3. You cannot win in this district without the local civic associations. That’s where all the legislators and NCC County Council critters come from around here. People like Gregg Lavelle and Joe Miro attend every single one of those meetings, are often former officers, and can talk in incredible detail about the plans to pave your street or fix the potholes outside your development. The people in those developments often simply call their civic association officers and ask who to vote for. When I was running as a libertarian, it was interesting to watch what happened at these meetings. They were nice to me because they knew I had no chance, but they did an incredible number on the Democratic candidate. All throughout the evening every speaker on this or that would find reasons to thank the incumbent of his years of service, or his getting the water problem fixed. They’d ask him technical questions to which the incumbent always knew the answers. Then they’d make the challenger speak first, “Now let’s hear from the lady who hopes to unseat Gregg”–and then they’d clap politely and wait for the incumbent to come up and “set the record straight” about anything the challenger may have said. You cannot run successfully in this district if you haven’t been in those civic associations for years. The local PTA won’t get you squat.

    4. Education is not a winning argument. This is the district where Red Clay routinely builds new schools. This is the district where people expect to send their kids to Charter, Cab, Conrad, or DMA, and they aren’t interested in a single education tax dollar beyond the ones used for their kids. You’d need to have attended the RCCSD Board meetings to hear these families from Heritage or Cooke storm in en masse to protest “city kids” being put (and ruining) their “neighborhood schools.”

    5. The Gregg Lavelle you portray here is not the Gregg Lavelle that the people of the district know. He is personable, quiet, and puts a premium on constituent services. People here in the main see him as having taken a strong moral stand against out-of-control spending, and as a social moderate. He is highly visible in the district, answers his emails, answers his phone calls, and if he takes on your problem he follows through. He also knows how to organize and win elections here–take a look at his record. If Michael Katz couldn’t unseat him, Laura has an uphill battle.

    I won’t say conclusively that a Democrat cannot win here, but being a teacher will not play that well for her, being a union supporter will not help, and being an advocate of higher taxes for any reason will be political poison in this district. You’re not going to be able to beat Gregg by tarring him as an extremist–I have several different sets of LGBTQ neighbors who will vote for him because he has always treated them individually with respect and taken up their constituent issues with as much fervor as for anybody else. They realize he has different views than they do, but he manages not to appear–at least in person–judgmental or negative to them.

    So, sorry, I don’t see this campaign winning. I’m not suggesting that it doesn’t make sense for Dems to challenge for every seat in the General Assembly with the very best candidates they can find, if only to stretch GOP resources that much thinner, but Laura isn’t a good match for the demographics here.

  15. meatball says:

    What an awful and selfish district I used to live in.

  16. Jason330 says:

    Clinton wanted to matchup against Trump and Gore was pulling for W to win the GOP nomination, so nothing is ever as cut and dry as Steve makes it out to be.

  17. RE Vanella says:

    Every entrenched incumbent is entrenched for reasons similar to these. He or she puts on the show that constituents like because that’s what politicians do. Someone has to step up and fight.

  18. Steve Newton says:

    I’m NOT saying no one should fight. And I’m not saying it’s cut and dried. The UD women’s basketball team CAN beat any other team in the country on any given night, but they’d have to admit the odds are way against them when they play UCONN. And they’d have to make a game plan that is realistic and takes into the account the real strengths and weaknesses of their opponent.

    Laura Sturgeon as I have followed her over the past few weeks is running as an unapologetic progressive. And the last several candidates offered in the 21st and 22nd RDs have been unapologetic progressives as well. And they’ve gotten thoroughly trounced. In an overwhelmingly Dem state people need to think about why that is–and why that is, in my opinion, is because the social/political norms in my district lean center-right (thanks in large measure to gerrymandering by the Dems).

    You want to beat Gregg Lavelle or Joe Miro or Mike Ramone? Then don’t suddenly appear in the district and run for office. Spend at least 5-8 years in civic associations and going to all those meetings in the out years. Become the person they know long-term. Start helping take on their problems before you run for office. Listen to their concerns before you start talking to them about policy. None of the Dem committees in these districts, sad to say, show much evidence of doing that.

    Here’s the other clue about researching your field: there are about three critical social media groups in Pike Creek/Hockessin that you have to be tied into if you want to know what the locals are thinking. I’ve seen zero evidence that this campaign is on any of them–could be playing possum and observing, but I doubt it.

    You win in districts like this by being realistic, vote counting, and understanding the electorate.

  19. RE Vanella says:

    I think the days of conventional wisdom (i.e. mandating “how’s it’s done”) are over. I am very skeptical of anybody making this claim. All this talk about being “realistic” seems quaint.

    Does Ms Sturgeon have a strategy to overcome the valid obstacles you describe? I have no idea. Can people be convinced that there’s a better way to go regardless of whether a challenger served on the Limestone Hills neighborhood associated? Yes, I think they can. The key, I think, is actually convincing non-voters to vote rather than pandering to the pensioners who take notes at community meetings.

  20. alby says:

    Point of order: The discussion is centered on Pike Creek and Hockessin, which are the district’s LEAST Republican parts. The district starts on the west side of Concord Pike and takes in Centerville, Greenville and all of chateau country. Granted, the population density of those areas is low, but there are more RD 12 areas than any other. Those are majority R.

    Handy map:

  21. RE Vanella says:

    The population of the district is 40,000+. The last time Lavelle won a mid term, off-year election in 2014 he beat Buttner 8,900 to 5,500. He did get nearly 12,000 votes in a presidential election year when he ousted Katz by less than 900 votes.

    There are plenty of people out there that don’t vote but could be convinced to with a good message.

  22. Steve Newton says:

    @Alby: Granted, the population density of those areas is low, but there are more RD 12 areas than any other. Those are majority R.

    Voter registration totals for the 11 precincts of the 12th RD included in the 4th SD actually show a Dem registration edge of 568, which is actually a higher Dem percentage than the rest of the district. But that segment votes overwhelmingly GOP in local elections (Lavelle won 4691-2410 there in 2014)

    The precincts of the 21st and 22nd RDs are almost exactly equal in total number to the 12th RD registration numbers, and those show a 1,067 R over D edge in registrations. But there is less a propensity to vote mindlessly R there–(Lavelle only won those by 3187-2505 in 2014).

    Buttner was a weak candidate with zero name recognition, but actually did better in the higher GOP registration areas than in the higher Dem registration areas. You can therefore presume that Buttner’s 5521 votes represents the generic “D” vote available in the district regardless of the name actually on the ballot, like you can assume that Lavelle’s 8983 is probably about 15% above the generic R vote, which I’d put at about 7636. So the generic ballot disadvantage for a D in this district is about -2115, not insurmountable, but in a district with less than 22,000 registered Ds and Is, only about 40% of whom ever vote, that’s not an insignificant disadvantage.

    Once you’ve done that math, then you have to overcome the specifics of (a) the people specifically motivated to vote for Lavelle, and (b) give a substantive reason to those who don’t vote that they should bother. Expanding the electorate to win an election is like depending on registering legions of young voters–it’s not a dependable strategy in the long run, although it does work sometimes.

    Yes, this is a technical exercise with the numbers, and all sorts of other factors play into it. But it’s also important to remember that this district votes R because it was gerrymandered by the Dems to vote R, and contra Alby, if you’re going to expand the electorate to win, you’re going to have to do that in Pike Creek and Hockessin, not in Greenville.

    @RE you can dislike it all you want, but the way that this district became a GOP stronghold is through a successful longterm strategy of organizing those civic associations under the radar. If you are the challenger and you go to those meetings, they don’t want to hear about WEIC or progressive taxation, they want to hear about the Three Little Bakers appeal, the zoning variance for the new CVS on Limestone Road, what the regional planning task force said about new road construction, the water contamination issue in Hockessin, and what’s being done to preserve green space or keep low-cost minority housing out of their deed-restricted developments. If you don’t know the answers to those questions when you walk in the door you have absolutely no chance.

    I live in this district, I’ve campaigned in this district for myself in the 22nd and for others throughout the district (in both legislative and school board elections), and if you’re going to beat the system you have to understand it, and plan accordingly. There is no “message” here to get out that will trump your failure to have a position on zoning variances or right-of-way changes or the failure of DNREC to deal with water contamination in Hockessin wells.

  23. steve is dumb says:

    Steve, every time you post one of your idiotic, half-baked ramblings into the comments section, I have to step back and try to regain the brain cells I almost lost. If you’re so good at figuring out how to win, then how were you never able to do it?

  24. alby says:

    @Steve: I forgot about the Markell defections. As with Purzycki this past election, lots of Rs switched to D so they could vote for Markell against Carney, and it appears many of them have never switched back. They aren’t real Ds, though, just as I am a D for primary-voting reasons only.

    I agree that Pike Creek/Hockessin is the part of the district most likely to go against the R incumbent. Like you, I question whether that’s enough, and I agree with the assessment that a public school teacher and union supporter is not the ideal candidate for this district.

  25. alby says:

    @steve is dumb: The only idiotic, half-baked ramblings here are yours.

  26. RE Vanella says:

    I don’t like or dislike it. Your analysis of what has happened is sound, I’m sure. I’m skeptical of anyone telling me “this is how it’s been done.” I’m not convinced that matters much anymore.

  27. Steve Newton says:

    @steve is dumb: apparently you don’t pay attention real well. I lost because I ran as a libertarian. I was trying to see if it could be done here. It couldn’t. But even had I run that year as a Dem (and John was a good candidate), I’d only have ended up at best with about 38% of the vote.

    I’ve helped school board candidates (including my wife) win this area; I’ve helped other candidates win or run strong in this area. And–unlike you–I actually have a track record of writing (and running for office) under my own name.

  28. RE Vanella says:

    For the record, and if this wasn’t clear, Prof Newton knows his shit (especially in this area). That’s not even in question. Inane trolling is a waste of everyone’s time and would be embarrassing if you weren’t hiding behind anonymity (I assume to protect your family from shame).

  29. alby says:

    @steve newton: You should be flattered. It isn’t easy to develop a personal troll.

  30. meatball says:

    I bet its Protak.

  31. It DOES sound Protackian. Steve knows whereof he speaks, although I think he’s painting the worst-case scenario. OTOH, she’s running in a year where there will likely be more energy on the D side than the R side. His opposition to reproductive rights protection will not play well with a lot of pro-choice R women in the District. In fact, on a whole host of social issues, Lavelle is on the opposite side of the Rethug Party from many in the district. And virtually ALL of the Markell R’s turned D’s. It will be up to Sturgeon and her team to make sure that voters understand that.

    Hey, even Steve thinks there’s a 20% chance that she’ll win. I’m probably around 30%. And a 3 in ten chance of winning is well worth taking. But his analysis is spot-on.