Posted: Nov. 12, 2012


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

ONE Delawarean set a new record by winning statewide election 13 times.

That would be Tom Carper. He won his third term as a Democratic senator to go with two terms as governor, five terms as congressman and three terms as treasurer, although he could not reach the record the same way today. When he was the treasurer, it was only a two-year term.

Carper broke a tie with Mike Castle, who won 12 statewide races as a Republican elected as a nine-term congressman, two-term governor and one-term lieutenant governor.

Can Carper's record be broken? Check back in 2032 -- if John Carney, the two-term Democratic congressman who also put in two terms as lieutenant governor, is still running for the House of Representatives. He would be 76.

TWO father-daughter tandems have been elected to the state House of Representatives.

The first set was Lonnie George, a former speaker who was a Democratic representative from 1974 until he resigned in 1995 to become the Del Tech president, and Melanie George Smith, a Democratic representative since 2002. Now there are also John Viola, a Democratic representative since 1998, and Andria Bennett, a newly elected Democrat.

Viola and Bennett have the distinction of serving concurrently. Not to mention Bennett is probably unmatched in family ties to the chamber.

Andria Bennett has the seat last held by Brad Bennett, her husband, a Democrat whose second drunken driving arrest kept him from running. The same seat once belonged to Brad Bennett's late father Ed Bennett, a Democrat who -- just to complete the circle -- served with Lonnie George.

THREE candidates have nobody to blame but themselves.

The first to self-destruct was Brad Bennett. The second to take himself off the ballot was Ron Poliquin, a lawyer who was running as a Republican for state representative until the Supreme Court suspended him from the bar for misconduct. They were nothing compared to the third.

Somehow Eric Bodenweiser thought he could run as a Republican for state senator with child sex crimes allegedly in his past. He forgot the fundamental rule of this small state's politics: There are no secrets in Delaware.

FOUR Democratic governors made it to two terms.

Jack Markell joins Ruth Ann Minner, Tom Carper and Bert Carvel, who was the only one to serve split terms. There also were five Republican governors to reach the constitutional limit -- Mike Castle, Pete du Pont, Caleb Boggs, Walter Bacon and Douglass Buck.

Why are they all in the 20th and 21st centuries? Because governors were not allowed to run for a second four-year term before the Constitution of 1897.

FIVE legislators are all the Republicans have left in New Castle County seats.

The senators are Cathy Cloutier and Greg Lavelle. The representatives are Debbie Hudson, Joe Miro and Mike Ramone.

In the most populous county? This is no way to build a majority.

SIX new state senators were elected.

The Democrats are Nicole Poore and Bryan Townsend. The Republicans are Gerald Hocker, Greg Lavelle, Ernie Lopez and Brian Pettyjohn.

SEVEN days are all Tom Gordon has to wait to be sworn in.

The incoming New Castle County executive normally is installed in January, but not when the outgoing one is an unelected executive, elevated from County Council president to fill a vacancy, as Paul Clark was.

The early departure is particularly hard on Clark, who wanted to stay but lost to Gordon in the Democratic primary. Clark initially put up a fuss, denying that a murky state law meant he had to leave office a week after the election, but eventually he decided to go quietly.

EIGHT races over eight years have been run and won by Jack Markell and Matt Denn.

The Democratic governor and lieutenant governor have gone pell-mell from election to election. Markell won: treasurer (third term in 2006), a primary for governor (2008), and governor (2008 and 2012.) Denn won: a primary for insurance commissioner (2004), insurance commissioner (2004), and lieutenant governor (2008 and 2012.)

NINE new state representatives were elected.

The Democrats are Paul Baumbach, Andria Bennett, Trey Paradee, Charles Potter Jr. and Kim Williams. The Republicans are Tim Dukes, Ron Gray, Steve Smyk and Jeffrey Spiegelman.

TEN times Joe Biden has been on the ballot here.

Biden was on the Democratic ticket for New Castle County councilman once, senator seven times and vice president twice. Is that all there is?