Delaware Political Weekly: November 3-9, 2017

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on November 10, 2017

1. Who’s In, Out, Or Otherwise In AG’s Race.

D’s:  Tim Mullaney: In

Sen. Bryan Townsend: Out

Rep. Sean Lynn: Likely In

Chris Johnson: Likely In

Charles Oberly: Considering, but will not be in race if Jennings runs

Kathleen Jennings: Considering, but will not be in race if Oberly runs

Ian McConnel: Was thought to be out, but he would be the ‘Beau would have wanted me to be AG’ candidate. He was the guy who made it seem that Beau was actually working when he wasn’t. In other words, formidable, with Biden loyalty, and likely to carry Joe’s new book to every campaign appearance.

Dwight Davis: Considering? Is he a registered D?

R’s: Tom Neuberger: In

David Skoranski: Probably In(?)

OK, who can either provide more insight into this race, mention other prospective candidates, or deep-six my brief analysis?

2. Melanie George Smith May Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

Word out of Dover is that she’s playing hardball, perhaps even leveraging dirt that she’s accumulated on others to either (a) garner a golden parachute or (b) run for reelection regardless of her perhaps legal, but untenable, residency issue. In a News-Journal piece on her father, a former legislator said “Lonnie knows how to take care of Lonnie”.  Melanie appears to have learned from the master.  Melanie? If you want to dish that dirt, you’ll find that I’m a great listener (hey, just doing my duty as a faux reporter).  This power play adds context to Erik Raser-Schramm’s comments that legislators should also be neighbors. It also heightens the urgency for someone to step up and primary her.

3. Will D’s Learn Lesson From Virginia?

Said lesson being ‘you cannot win if you do not play’.  Failing to field candidates in this climate is political malpractice. With some noted exceptions. This could be a wave election. So. Here is a list of incumbent R state legislators currently w/o announced challengers:

State Senate:

Ernie Lopez: Will Pete run interference to prevent a challenge to Lopez in this 50-50 Sussex district ? With Park City Kathy directing traffic away from wherever Ernie currently hangs his hat? I can’t stress this enough: Pete Schwartzkopf has no business as Speaker and as a D who stops D’s from running effective challenges.

Colin Bonini: The people in his Kent County district, like people statewide, know he’s a doofus. Often a no-show doofus.  More registered D’s than R’s.  Need I say more?

Gary Simpson: Rumor has him considering retirement.  A credible candidate could nudge him in that direction. 50-50 registration in this Kent/Sussex district.

Bryant Richardson: Word is that some Rethugs don’t consider him thuggish enough.  Could be a nasty primary. D’s should at least be in this race to possibly pick up the pieces.

State House Of Representatives:

Kevin Hensley: Geek could fill us in (I know he doesn’t live there anymore, but that hasn’t stopped Melanie Smith), but disgust with Trump could change the outcome in this swing-R district.

Jeff Spiegelman: Tough one, I know.

Steve Smyk: Ditto.

Mike Ramone: No excuse, none, for not challenging this Newark-area R.  Prime pickup target. See below.

Joe Miro: He’s not gonna be there forever. Correction: He has been there forever. The registration is becoming more D, in fact, there are now  more registered D’s than R’s in this district. In a wave election, and 2018 could be one, this is the kind of district that flips. No excuse for not challenging this seat.

OK, I’m not gonna list all the downstate R’s.  I don’t consider it political malpractice to forego races where you literally have no chance. I think that Rich Collins is the most vulnerable, but it would have to be an Atkins-style D, meaning no D at all. Until proven otherwise, I consider anything west of Route 1 to be Jesusland, with more than a dollop of sexual depravity thrown into the political mix. There’s always sexual depravity amongst the most ‘righteous’ among us. Prime Trump territory. I wouldn’t waste my time. But I’m prepared to change my mind if the right candidate comes along.

4. No Filings. And no set filing fees outside of Kent County.

What’d I miss and whaddayathink?


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  1. liberalgeek says:

    I can tell you that in the 9th we have one candidate already with at least one other considering a run. The rest of the NCC seats are developing.

    In New Castle County, my goal is to challenge every Republican with candidates that are well-trained and armed with a bunch of volunteers.

  2. SussexWatcher says:

    Bryant Richardson is a born back-bencher whose quiet approach masks a raving religious anti-abortion pro-Jesus pro-gun lunatic who still owns the local newspapers. The issue in the GOP is that he took what should have been Danny Short’s Senate seat by taking on Venables, who was an R disguised as a D. Bob was supposed to retire after a final term and hand it over to Short, whose seat would have gone to County Council President Mike Vincent. Richardson fucked up everyone’s plans.

    Look for Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe to step up if Gary Simpson steps out. He’s a former business partner of Dave Burris, and you can bet they’ve been planning his rise for years. He also owns a local online newspaper.

    The thing with Ernie Lopez is he’s likable and friendly, and that still goes a long way down here. The Dems need to tie him to a bigger issue to knock him off. That takes smarts, and the coastal Dems are politically pure but not that intelligent.

    I do think a progressive Democrat could take on Collins and win. Someone who runs an economic populist anti-corporate anti-big business anti-Dover good-old-Boy campaign could take that seat. Collins became the grievance outlet for all the antis down there who were fed up with John Atkins’ dumbass stunts and personal foibles, but he hasn’t done much in office except keep blasting DNREC and DelDOT. Not many people like him personally. But instead, his challenger will be a local mayor, former fire chief or school board member who wimps out, doesn’t take Rich to the mat and gets 42 percent of the vote.

  3. Now THAT is some helpful information. Thanks!

    Do you think a D could mount an effective challenge against Dave Burris’ handpicked candidate?

  4. Arthur says:

    The Delaware Dynasty building has to end. Each time a next generation shows up in Dover its like a photo copy of a photo copy. Eventually, (now) we end up with the guy who really likes pizza

  5. mediawatch says:

    Dwight Davis is a registered R — an African-American Muslim who voted for Trump.

  6. Alby says:

    Dave Burris isn’t stupid or mean enough to fit the mold of a SuxCo Republican.

  7. Paul says:

    Gary Simpson is in my district. His senatorial district cuts across RD 36. The most advantageous prep would be for the local RDs to put forward a candidate, but, are the RDs functional? Greg Fuller is in RD36, but, by any reasonable standard, he cannot function as a standard bearer because, like the current denison of the WH, he thinks only in terms of himself, and has a distinctly grasping attitude without a willingness to do the necessary leg work to get elected. I wasn’t putting him forward as a candidate, but rather discussing him as a committee person. He won’t back any candidate but himself and can sabotage other candidates and the rest of the district committee all by himself. This is one of the problems with our current party. Then there is the whole kerfuffle over the folks in RD14, and Greg belongs in the Jesus column you brought up in Sussex County. Then there is the committee leadership. David Friedland is inching his way to taking over as committee chair, but is so irascible as to make working with him both odious and ultimately intolerable. That said, Gary Simpson should be replaceable but how will the area mobilize without a funtional RD36 committee?

  8. Bane says:

    Dems should fear Mayor Shupe. He is the type of R who could be Governor one day. Where are the Dems young electeds like Shupe?

  9. Alby says:

    @Bane: Can’t find ’em because petrified dog turds like McBride and McDowell won’t retire.

  10. SussexWatcher says:

    “Do you think a D could mount an effective challenge against Dave Burris’ handpicked candidate?”

    No. The only campaign you can run against Gary is an anti-establishment one – in office for 20 years, no progress. (You’d have to be willing to burn bridges, though. He is known and liked.) You can’t run that campaign against Shupe. The guy is young, energetic, smart, experienced, has name recognition, is a good communicator and isn’t an ideologue. He’s really the perfect candidate.

    “Where are the Dems young electeds like Shupe?”

    Hahahahahahah! LOL. Whew. (wipes tears from eyes) Oh. You were serious. There aren’t any.

    In Sussex, we do have a party chairwoman who’s nearing 70 and was a public homophobe during her utter failure of a single campaign for public office. Our party vice-chair is a Jesus freak who has failed in not one but three campaigns for office, unable even to hold on to a do-nothing county job he was given on a silver platter by Ruth Ann Minner. Do either of them count for anything?

    Dems in nonpartisan municipal positions? Well, there’s Chris Calio in Laurel on the town council, who’s the 40th RD chair and son of former elections commissioner Frank Calio. And supposedly Kathy McG in Rehoboth is a Democrat, but who knows.

  11. Melanie George Smith needs a golden parachute?

    Paging ‘Doctor’ Mark Brainard…

    Surprised it hasn’t happened already.

  12. SW is correct. There IS no party structure in Kent or Sussex. To his credit, Mitch Crane tried, but, other than in the shore area, it’s just not hospitable D terrain.

    There’s no excuse for Kent, and I hope that it’s one of Erik Raser-Schramm’s pet projects.

  13. Alby says:

    @SW: I don’t think Bane was confining his question to SuxCo, but the story is the same everywhere in Delaware. Very few young Democrats, especially if you exclude the Carper Cyborg Brigade.

  14. Yep, that’s what I hope that Network Delaware and Delaware United will help to rectify. There are some promising emerging candidates. We need more.

  15. Paul says:

    Bryan Shupe would make a better D than many we have now.

  16. Paul says:

    Gary Simpson in well liked because when he wants to do so, he can be quite charming. On issues he is unread, or barely read. He’s not a reader. He is vulnerable on what he does not know, his command of the facts that leave him defenseless against well constructed, non-disrespectful challenges to his positions on issues.

  17. RunCV79 says:

    Gary Simpson would be a fool to leave office when he’s guaranteed re-election and a chance to be Pro Tem. Word is that there is another high quality candidate possibly entering the 17th SD race. Even in a Dem wave election, the GOP has a small (but not zero) chance to take the majority. No way Simpson walks away from that.

  18. Alby says:

    There won’t be any D wave in Delaware. Democrats have been running the place for a long time now and they’re all out of altitude. They’re about to crash.

  19. Kelly says:

    I can tell you out of all the candidates running for AG Office Tom Newburger will beat all of them, so they should all save there time and money.

  20. Alby says:

    Interesting. Thanks, Kelly. Of all the announced candidates, I’d vote for him. As I said, I’ve interviewed him and found him sharper than the middle blade on a Mach 5 razor. He’s no nut, and his election would be like Larry Krasner’s in Philadelphia.

    I actually saw a column in the Daily News by Christine Flowers, an odious Catholic cultist and power worshiper, saying the Philadelphia she knew was dead.

    Who says it can’t happen here?

  21. SussexWatcher says:

    “They’re about to crash.”

    In 2020, say hello to Governor Simpler, Attorney General Neuberger, Auditor Davies and President Pro Tem Simpson against Speaker Pete and IC Navarro. Or is that alongside Speaker Pete?

    No idea who Simpler is going to want as his running mate, but he’ll also be able to fill the Treasurer’s spot once he moves up. Dems will still have the three federal seats until Carper is forced to step down and Simpler appoints someone – Lavelle? – to fill out the term.

  22. Joshua W says:

    I’m old enough to remember when the Democrats won a huge victory in a special election for a senate seat which a lot of people here were certain they were going to lose.

    I think it’s too early yet to be all chicken little about a DelDempocolypse. There is a lot of enthusiasm out among the base, and deep antipathy for Trump and the Republicans. Add to that the fact that there is a bunch of new Democratic candidates popping up all over the place, and it’s going to be a very interesting election next year.

  23. Alby says:

    “until Carper is forced to step down”

    Pull the other one.

  24. TonyDem says:

    Have heard there’s potential for a rematch of 2014 in the 9th. That could potentially put that seat in play for the dems.

  25. Kelly says:

    I want to know why no one is talking about the high salaries the Mayor Mike is handing out. It makes me sick that he was crying about how he needed to increase the property taxes because the city was short money. I know some of the people that have received the high salaries and believe me they do not work that hard to justify getting them. The Treasurer office employees are the highest paid. Now we know why Mrs. Potter did not have a budget hearing because she would have to explain why she was giving her staff those high increases. So much for the Finance Chairmen letting this happen. Mr. Bud has to go.

  26. OK, Tony, you made me look. Jason Hortiz. This, which is the sum part and parcel of his website, suggests you might be on to something:

    So does this. Good to see he’s going after Trump…and Wagner:

    BTW, I LOVE stuff like this. Keep it comin’ if you’ve got it, folks.

  27. Of course, Hortiz might want to be a bit more forthcoming than he was back in the 2014 Voters’ Guide:

  28. Here was the thread about Hortiz from back in 2014:

    Let’s face it. The 9th is not a district that would be hospitable to a Kowalko or Baumbach. Liberal Geek thought pretty highly of Hortiz, and that’s enough for me should he be the nominee.

    The big issue back then, as you’ll find if you read the thread, was the manner in which Walker abandoned the race so that there would be no primary, just a vote by the committee. That sucked, and maybe hurt Hortiz in the general.

  29. TonyDem says:

    El Som … looks like those voter guide questions were from the 2016 election … If he didn’t run in 2016 that’s prob the reason he didn’t answer the questions.

  30. Tony: I also went to Project Vote Smart, and he hadn’t answered the questions there either. 2018 is a different year, though. Not trying to diss Hortiz at all, just trying to provide whatever context I can find.

  31. TonyDem says:

    Here’s his twitter. Doesn’t appear to like Donald Trump very much