Posted: Jan. 28, 2005


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The Delaware Democrats had two candidates for an executive director to handle the daily operations of the party.

One worked for Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. The other worked for state Treasurer Jack A. Markell.

Naturally it was a coincidence. Naturally it was in no way an early showdown between two potential rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2008, as Carney and Markell themselves were quick to point out, bless their peace-loving hearts.

They said they liked both candidates. Anyway, they said the decision was up to the party officials on the state Democrats' executive committee, not them.

"I didn't have a vote," Carney said.

"Picking an executive director is up to the executive committee," Markell said.

The party officials fussed and fidgeted for more than a month, trying to figure out what to do. It was far too soon to be choosing sides between Carney and Markell, not that it was going on here, of course.

The Democrats finally did what politicians do. They wormed their way out of it. They decided to hire both and pay them identical salaries.

Molly K. Jurusik, who was the 2004 campaign coordinator for Carney, was offered the job of executive director. Raina Harper, a policy adviser to Markell in the treasurer's office, was asked to take a newly created post of political director.

Jurusik starts work on Monday. She is replacing Nicole Majeski, who left to become a senior aide to Christopher A. Coons, the Democrat recently installed as the New Castle County executive.

Harper, meanwhile, re-thought her situation and decided not to take the job. She is completing a doctorate at the University of Delaware, and much as she wants to work in politics, she decided her schooling comes first, according to state Democratic Chairman Richard H. Bayard.

"We tried and tried to persuade her to come with us, but she didn't want to abandon her doctoral dissertation," Bayard said. "I expect her to be helping us out, although it's not on the terms we would have preferred."

The matter appears to be settled. The party appears to have dodged a bullet. Not that anyone was shooting, of course.