The 2018 MVP Honor Roll

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on December 18, 2018

2018 was a year unlike any other, at least when it came to putting together my MVP list.  So many first-time candidates, outstanding candidates, who came out of nowhere and changed both the present and future of progressive politics in Delaware. Best year ever? Yes, I’d say so.

In the past, I’ve listed Honorable Mentions in addition to my Top 10. I saw that as insufficient this year. So, while I’ll unveil my 2018 MVP List tomorrow, I want to give special props to those who deserved to be on the list and would have been on it in virtually any other year.  Presented in alphabetical order by last name…


DON ALLAN: An unabashed progressive/populist candidate running in a red district.  He ran a superb campaign, generated a lot of excitement, and brought a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers into the fold.  I was only half-kidding when I wrote that he’d be a natural for the 9th RD.   Please run again!

STEPHANIE BARRY: She got in late, otherwise she’d be a State Rep now. She lost her job b/c she ran, thanks to the amoral skunk who she challenged.  If Sleepy John doesn’t name her as director of that Animal Welfare Office, oh never mind.  She deserves a job in her field and a clear shot at Ramone two years from now.  Also, the House Ethics Committee should investigate if Ramone used his office to cost Barry her job. BTW, he did. Please run again!

DARIUS BROWN: The other options to replace retiring Sen. Margaret Rose Henry were an ex-police chief and two ethical open sores. The best progressive alternative won.  We’ll just have to see if he makes a mark in Dover.

COLLEEN DAVIS: Hey, she beat Ken Simpler. Ran a good campaign. She’d be in the Top 10 if not for the issues surrounding her. My fear? She resigns and Carney appoints Sean Barney.

GIGI GONZALEZ: Ran a great race and almost pulled it off. The only reason she didn’t was residual good will towards Joe Miro and the fact that Michael Smith didn’t run a Rethuglican operation. The numbers in that district are only gonna get more favorable for the D’s month by month.  If Smith doesn’t consolidate his support, meaning, if he doesn’t reject the anti-governmental rhetoric of the Delaware Republican Party, Gigi will likely defeat him in a rematch.  Please run again!

KRISTA GRIFFITH: Gee, all she did was knock off the only NCC R incumbent running in a district with a Republican plurality.  So, why isn’t she in my Top 10? As Alby pointed out, her generic language didn’t provide much of a clue as to how she will vote in Dover. And the few clues she did provide were a little concerning. If she becomes a reasonably progressive legislator, she’ll likely be in the Top 10 starting next year.

SEN. MARGARET ROSE HENRY: An enviable progressive record in the Senate.  She deserves a shout-out as she bows out.  It was time, and I also give her credit for knowing it was time.

KATHY JENNINGS: Hear me out. After winning the primary over at least one true progressive, she could have moved to the right for the general election. Instead, she continued with her campaign against using cash bail as a weapon and against jailing drug users. That gave me some hope.

SEAN LYNN: He’s a progressive and doesn’t care who knows it.  He endorsed Kerri Harris and Chris Johnson, and campaigned hard for them.  All the while turning back a challenge from an RWNJ. He may just be my favorite legislator.

SEN. BOB MARSHALL: As his parting gift, he was finally able to force a minimum wage increase through a legislature dominated by the Chamber of Commerce. I will also remember him for his work on protecting nursing home residents and his role in revitalizing Wilmington’s riverfront, the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge in particular.

MIKE MATTHEWS: He placed the cause of public education above his own professional status.  I, for one, wish he’d stayed and fought, however controversial that might have been. However, I have little doubt that nobody will be a more important voice on behalf of public education moving forward.

I know that many of you will believe that several among this distinguished group belong in your Top 10. And they do. My Top 10 is just that, one person’s opinion. (BTW, Spoiler Alert, there will be more than 10 people in my Top 10 as I grouped some people together in order to, um, get more than 10 people in my Top 10.)

If you don’t see a favorite of yours here, hold your fire until tomorrow when I unveil my Top 10 list. Then let me have it with both rhetorical barrels.




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  1. Joshua W says:

    Disagree about the reason that Gonzalez lost against Smith. While I don’t doubt that there’s a lot of love lingering around RD22 for Miro, I think her loss stems from bad blood left over from the primary there and the general unhelpfulness of the local Democrats.

    • Joshua W says:

      I also disagree about Jennings. Her strategy in the general amounted to sitting back, raising money, and just reusing all her material from the primary. I have yet to see anything that would indicate that she’d be proactive in doing any serious criminal justice reform.

  2. We’ll know about Jennings soon enough. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic.

    You’re better positioned to pass judgment on the Gonzalez campaign than I am.

    • Joshua W says:

      I should amend my statement a bit. In races that close literally anything and everything could be to blame: a bad primary, residual love for the former incumbent, maybe a little racism, even bad weather.

      However, I know that Gonzalez’s primary opponent refused to get into contact after losing, and she didn’t publicly acknowledge that Guillermina won on her social media, yet was more than willing to publicly congratulate Mike Smith on his Facebook page the day of the general election. To me it seems like sour grapes, while not the only for the loss in RD22, was certainly a large contributing factor.

  3. Good point. Rachel Blumenfeld went out of her way to help Krista Griffith defeat Debbie Hudson. I don’t know if Griffith wins w/o that support. Class all the way.

    In direct contrast to what Renee Taschner did and didn’t do.

    Come to think of it, Blumenfeld deserves a place on the Honor Roll for what she did. She also helped with Laura Sturgeon’s campaign.

    • Reev says:

      In what way did Blumenfeld help Griffith? I did not see a Blumenfeld supporting Griffith beyond a few social media posts that seemed canned.

  4. I saw photos of her out there campaigning for both Griffith and Sturgeon.

    • Reev says:

      Do you have photos or links to back this up? The only photo I saw was of Rachel’s daughter with Debbie Hudson.