Posted: Feb. 7, 2008


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Politics is a smorgasbord for John Brady. He is a big guy with an appetite for second and third helpings -- maybe even a fourth, depending on how it is counted.

Brady, a 49-year-old Sussex County lawyer, loves public life so much that he gobbles up whatever he can get. In his newest sampling, he declared his candidacy Thursday for state insurance commissioner on the Republican ticket.

If Brady wins, it would be his third office in eight years. He also works on the side as an attorney for the Republican majority in the state House of Representatives.

Brady first was elected the Sussex County register in chancery, essentially the clerk of the Court of Chancery, and cheerfully helped to abolish the office so the renowned forum for corporate law more sensibly could appoint its own staff.

He switched to running for Sussex County recorder of deeds, the official in charge of property records. When he ran for a second term, the Democrats did not even bother putting up an opponent.

On Return Day, the celebration in Georgetown post-election, Brady has a habit of handing out political stickers that have his name on them but are vague about the office. It saves printing costs.

Brady's most recent sticker said, "Let the Big Guy Work for You" -- now unveiled as his slogan for insurance commissioner.

Brady is a big guy, big enough to be his own political billboard. "I'm big. OK? That's one of those things you've just got to look at," he said as he declared his candidacy. "With a big insurance commissioner, we can get respect and do things."

Delaware is a little place. Brady decided the traditional announcement tour through the state's three counties was not big enough for him, so he created a fourth he called "Appoquinimink County" to give him another stop in lower New Castle County.

He was scheduled to go from Rehoboth Beach in his home county, to Dover in Kent County, to Wilmington in New Castle County -- the city where he grew up and went to Salesianum School -- to Middletown in "Appoqunimink."

One thing not so big is Brady's campaign treasury. He had $6.97 at the end of last year. He says he is remedying that deficiency, and he had better. Gene Reed Jr., a Democrat also running for insurance commissioner, took in more than $100,000 in 2007. Tom Savage and Karen Weldin Stewart, two other interested Democrats, are in the hole from previous candidacies.

The new insurance commissioner will replace Matt Denn, a one-term Democrat giving up the office to run for lieutenant governor.

Brady is campaigning on a number of issues -- tax credits to encourage small businesses to offer their workers insurance, an effort to enroll more uninsured children in a government program, a way to reduce rates for teen-age drivers through safety training, and better insurance protection for coastal homes.

"A change is needed," Brady's political Web site at says.

If Brady wins, change is guaranteed. Matt Denn is about as opposite to a big guy as there can be. Think "jockey" and "sumo wrestler."

# # #

Delaware Democrats needed two days after the presidential primary on Super Duper Tuesday to figure out how to apportion their delegates between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but hold on.

It is one of the deep dark secrets of politics that the allegiance of the 23-member delegation could be different by the time of the convention.

Obama won the primary with 53 percent of the vote, Clinton polled 42 percent, and the rest went to Joe Biden, the favorite son, and others. Under party rules, only Obama and Clinton were entitled to delegates by exceeding a threshold of 15 percent.

The Democrats had 15 delegates to allot through the primary. It was clear immediately afterwards that Obama had seven delegates and Clinton six, based on statewide and countywide voting, but the division of two delegates from Wilmington was still up in the air.

The delegate calculus is so complex that it took a ruling from the Democratic National Committee to decide that Obama won both of them, giving him an edge of 9-6. For now.

There are another eight delegate slots, automatically going to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, the two Democratic senators and party officials. They are unpledged. They can back whomever they please.

The automatic delegates provide wiggle room. It will ensure Delaware is with the winner at the convention. If Obama wraps up the nomination, they will be for him. Otherwise, it is a cinch the state will use their votes to morph into a delegation for Clinton.

There is obviously a reason the voting Tuesday was called a "primary" election. The politicians have fixed it so they get the last word.