Posted: Jan. 22, 2010


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Scott Brown, like any Republican in Massachusetts, was given virtually no chance to come out a winner. Who did he think he is, Susan Boyle?

Brown turned the political world upside down, an unsung state senator skyrocketing to United States senator Tuesday in a moon-shot of an election. If Ted Kennedy was the Liberal Lion, his legacy was sent packing by the Moderate Mouse That Roared.

Delaware Republicans took notice. They have had a dreary decade that shut them out of the governorship, the Senate and most recently any power base in Legislative Hall, so they will look for inspiration wherever they can find it.

If it takes singing "The Impossible Dream" or sending their candidates around the state to campaign in pickup trucks, they sound ready to give it a try.

"Win, baby, win," said Tom Ross, the Republican state chair. "It's a lift for anyone with an 'R' next to their name. People are mad, and the Democrats don't get it."

Something seems to be going on here with state senators. Obama makes it to the White House, and Brown prances to Capitol Hill.

Whatever, the Delaware Republicans are cramming their statewide ballot with people springing from the state Senate. If it works, this would be quite a change of reputation for the upper chamber in Dover. Normally it is best known for the creative politics that gave the state the desk drawer veto.

Congressman Mike Castle is an alumnus. The Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate was a state senator before he was the lieutenant governor and governor. Colin Bonini, who is running for treasurer, is in the state Senate now. If only the Republicans could recruit Charlie Copeland . . .

Copeland was the minority leader before he left the state Senate in 2008 to take a shot at lieutenant governor. The Republicans would dearly love for him to run for Castle's congressional seat against John Carney, the former lieutenant governor who is the Democratic candidate.

"I believe Charlie should run for anything his heart desires. I would be thrilled if he would run," said Bill Lee, the retired judge who was the Republican candidate for governor when Copeland was running for lieutenant governor.

Copeland has not said no, but he has not said yes, either. Scott Brown has him thinking.

"Thank goodness for Massachusetts, and I didn't think I'd ever say that. It really opened my eyes," Copeland said.

The congressional race is the most glaring hole on the Republican statewide ticket. The party has Castle for Senate, Auditor Tom Wagner running for re-election, Bonini for treasurer and Ferris Wharton as the candidate-in-waiting for attorney general.

Like the Massachusetts election, Bonini also gave the Republicans a rosier outlook this week by continuing to demonstrate he really is weighing in for this election -- personally and politically.

Not only is Bonini dieting to slim himself down, but he filed a campaign finance report showing he is bulking up his treasury. He has $95,000 in his candidate account and another $17,000 in his Responsible Delaware PAC -- a solid start for a statewide bid.

Meanwhile, the Democratic ticket has not jelled, either, not as long as Beau Biden stays mum about a decision to leave the Attorney General's Office to run for the Senate seat that belonged to his father-the-vice-president. The Democrats would have Biden for Senate, Carney for Congress, and Carl Danberg for attorney general. They have primaries brewing for treasurer and auditor.

Biden's latest campaign finance report provided no new clues. He is sitting on $97,000 but took in virtually no contributions. Not that there would be any sense in it, if he expected to be opening a campaign account for federal office, instead.

As much as this is shaping up to be a year for state senators, it has been a drag for attorney generals. Not only is Biden holding back, but so is Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney general who could take on Gov. David Paterson in a Democratic gubernatorial primary.

There is talk Cuomo may not say anything until April. April! If Biden waits that long, a lot of people in this state are going to need counseling. If he is inclined to wait, however, the Republicans would prefer him to wait all the way to 2014.

The Republicans' rising expectations have left John Daniello, the Democrat state chair, undisturbed. As always, he figures if his party takes care of fundamentals, the rest will take care of itself, Republican year or not.

"Recruit, select and elect," Daniello said.

If Massachusetts can vote for Scott Brown, the Republicans here will take their chances. Not everything Brown did will work here, though, like that posing nude stuff.

Colin Bonini as a centerfold? Just not necessary.