The New Legislative Leadership Teams

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on November 8, 2018

We’ll start with the ‘Just the facts, ma’am’ portion of the story. Here’s who was elected last night at the caucuses:

Senate D’s: Dave McBride, President Pro-Tem; The Ethically-Bankrupt Nicole Poore, Senate Majority Leader; Bryan Townsend, Majority Whip.

Senate R’s: Gerald Hocker, Senate Minority Leader; Cathy Cloutier, Minority Whip.

House D’s: Pete Schwartzkopf, Speaker; Val Longhurst, Majority Leader; Larry Mitchell, Majority Whip.

House R’s: Danny Short, Minority Leader; The Extreme Right Reverend Tim Dukes, Minority Whip.

I deliberately linked to the Matt Bittle story instead of the write-up from That Other Guy. Why? Well, let me just quote from the Other Guy’s story w/o linking to it:

The Senate Republicans also chose Sen. Cathy Cloutier of Arden as their new minority whip – the post previously held by Greg Lavelle of Sharpley who lost his re-election bid on Tuesday.

Uh, ‘Other Guy”, can I call you Scott? Cathy Cloutier doesn’t live in Arden, has never lived in Arden, has never, to my knowledge lived next door to Arden. I should know. I live in Arden. I’ve been to Cathy’s house, which is not in Arden. Her residence is in Heatherbrooke, which is right next to Brandywine High School. Doesn’t live there, either. She’s living outside the district she represents.  Maybe you can jump right on that story. Look, I understand that all of upstate might seem the same to you. But couldn’t you at least have bothered to look up this basic fact on her website? Jee-zus.  OK, let’s see just how long it takes him to correct his screw-up.  Starting…now.

OK, here are my takes. The elevation of Bryan Townsend was an olive branch to progressives in the Senate Democratic Caucus. It’s an encouraging sign, but let’s just see how the committee assignments shake out. The big problem is that Nicole Poore, did I mention that she is ethically-bankrupt, is Majority Leader. Her ethical misfeasance can pose a threat to the entire caucus.  At some point, she needs to be excised, either by the caucus or by the voters.

Man, nobody really wanted to lead that Senate R Caucus, and I can’t blame them.  I guess the greengrocer is as safe a choice as they could make. I see the Cloutier appointment as a valedictory and a way to boost her pension before she leaves the Senate in 2020.

The House D’s: Two ex-cops and the Executive Director of the Police Athletic League.  This team will be way to the right of the caucus on every criminal justice reform effort. By far the worst leadership choices of the night.

As to the House R’s, their choices are proof that this entire party, whatever remains of it, is based far below the canal. Ramone and Smith are the outliers, until they aren’t. Which could well be in 2020.


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  1. Harold says:

    Where is Cloutier living?

  2. SussexWatcher says:

    And Cloutier and DelCollo are the only two R senators above the canal. Looks like four incumbents to target in 2020. May be only two incumbents if Cloutier retires and DelCollo takes on Carney.

  3. CloutierDefeater says:

    I gotta say, I’d love another shot at taking out another senate minority whip

    • You might not get the chance. I think odds are better than 50-50 that she retires.

      BTW, a challenge to Cloutier would have to have a different tone than the challenge to Lavelle. Cloutier projects as a sympathetic character. Lavelle did not.

      • CloutierDefeater says:

        Oh absolutely, and I imagine the emergence of an actual strong challenger would push the odds even higher that she would step down.

    • Beach says:

      Started researching SD7 but I’m happy to help with SD5, too.

  4. Arthur says:

    are you sure she lives outside the district? maybe she rents a room from her campaign manager or something and lives there ‘during legislative sessions’

    • Heh. Heh-heh.

      Keep in mind that what she does is no different than what Dave McBride is doing. Which is to say that neither McBride nor Cloutier should represent districts that they don’t live in. In the end, it’s up to the voters.

  5. BTW, this has been posted for about 3 1/2 hours now. Scott Goss still has Cathy Cloutier as an Arden resident.

    Hey, a lot of us like her. But she doesn’t live here.

    • mediawatch says:

      There’s good reason to be hard on Goss, but if you look back at Bittle’s piece, you’ll see that he says that Cloutier represents the Arden area. (Do you cut him more slack because he works in Dover and so he is allowed to think that central Brandywine Hundred qualifies as Arden?)
      Of course, there’s also the possibility that Goss saw Bittle’s story and decided that Cloutier really is from Arden.

      • Yes, I cut him more slack. She does represent the Arden area (though Arden is hardly the center of the district’s universe…unless you live there.) But she doesn’t live here. Never has. I don’t understand how you can make such a mistake and not at least correct it.

        And, I admit, Bittle’s a better reporter, IMHO. But he’s no Chad Livengood. I think Chad was the best legislative reporter I can recall. Do you have a favorite?

        • mediawatch says:

          Favorites — J.L. Miller and Jeff Montgomery would have to be near the top of the list.
          In the more distant past, Richard Sandza and John Felton.
          In recent years, Livengood tops the list.
          All the others seemed to be passing through News Journal on their way to employment with the state or UD.

  6. Wallflower says:

    Senator Sean Matthews for SD5 has a nice ring to it! How much of his House District is in SD 5?

    • Plenty. About 13K-plus of the 33K registered voters. More than any other RD in the 5th SD. I hear there are other candidates as well.

      However, if Cloutier retires, Sean would be my #1 choice. He and Laura Sturgeon would be quite the public education powerhouse in the Senate.

  7. RE Vanella says:

    “We view fascism as an expression of the decay and disintegration of the capitalist economy. We can combat fascism only if we grasp that it rouses and sweeps along broad social masses who have lost the earlier security of their existence and with it often their belief in social order. But we cannot fully grasp the nature of fascism by viewing its evolution solely as a result of such economic pressures which have been considerably enhanced by the financial crisis of the governments and their vanishing authority.”

    —-Clara Zetkin, Fighting Fascism, June 1923

  8. 20 hours and counting. Cathy Cloutier is STILL from Arden, according to one Scott Goss, who plays the role of a reporter, badly.

    Scott, let me help you out, son. Cloutier officially resides in Heatherbrooke. Spelling’s correct. I checked. So can you.

  9. Rufus Y. Kneedog says:

    Do you think Brian Townsend’s appointment was payback for his early support of McGuiness? Different chambers I know, makes me wonder the true extent of Schwarzkopf ‘s influence.

    • No. However, I think Bryan felt that, in order to be effective, he couldn’t allow himself to be ‘Kowalkoed’, meaning relegated to being a strong voice for progressivism while not getting anything done. If it meant endorsing McGuiness in a race that, at the time, was between Park City and Dennis Williams, then I think he felt it was a small price to pay. I don’t agree, but I think that was his thought process.

      The two chambers pride their independence from each other. So, no, Schwartzkopf had no influence in the decision. The progressives in the caucus wanted to make sure that they had a voice in leadership, and Townsend was their choice.

  10. Martha W says:

    Let me get this straight, you’re targeting two state senators “above the canal” solely because they’re Republicans? Guessing none of you will be happy until you have all Democrats in the state legislature. Sick, power hungry progressives.

    • Alby says:

      Let me get this straight, you’re whining about politicians being “power hungry”? This is as absurdist as criticizing Hillary Clinton for being “ambitious” by running for president after a lifetime of accomplishments — a criticism launched by people who belong to a party that has anal warts like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker wanting to run for president after learning nothing but how to rob the poor to pay the rich.

      The only sick ones are conservatives, who cling to a mythical past as if it will save them from the grave.

    • RE Vanella says:

      This is how politics works. Whoever or whatever made you think otherwise did you a big disservice.

      Yes, you have it straight.

  11. RE Vanella says:

    The more I think about Martha’s comment here the more funny it becomes.

    Imagining following politics closely, but having no idea what you’re following. Like watching an experimental film in a language you don’t understand.

    I think I’m going to begin calling this Albright Syndrome. It’s rampant, folks.