Posted: Feb. 5, 2010


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The Delaware Republicans would like to think they are experiencing a mini-revival, mirroring the larger comeback the Republicans have staged nationally since their dismal 2008 campaign.

Around the country, the Republicans picked up the governorships in Virginia and New Jersey, and best of all, they spirited away the Senate seat in Massachusetts.

Replacing Ted Kennedy with Scott Brown was like beating the Russians in ice hockey, only better. The Russians were never responsible for making people have to pay attention to Harry Reid as the Senate majority leader.

The state Republicans pulled off a triple flip of their own by winning three special elections for the General Assembly. They put Joe Booth in the state Senate and Tom Kovach and Ruth Briggs King in the state House of Representatives.

It is a nice streak, but overall, it is like admiring Nero for his skill at playing the fiddle.

The state Democrats have the more remarkable run. They installed newcomers to statewide office in five of the last six elections -- Jack Markell as treasurer in 1998, John Carney as lieutenant governor in 2000, Matt Denn as insurance commissioner in 2004, Beau Biden as attorney general in 2006 and Karen Weldin Stewart as insurance commissioner in 2008.

This does not count the statewide appointments the Democrats collected to fill vacancies with Carl Danberg as attorney general, Ted Kaufman as senator and Velda Jones-Potter as treasurer now running for the office.

The Democrats' record will be on the line in 2010, but the Republicans are rallying to interrupt it faster than they can say Michael Newbold Castle.

Chris Coons, the New Castle County executive, is the designated Democrat trying to break into the statewide ranks by running for the Senate. All he has to do is outpoll Congressman Mike Castle, who has won more statewide elections than any other Republican in Delaware history.

Anything can happen in politics, but it is safe to say that County Council President Paul Clark, a Democrat who would inherit an opening for county executive, probably can find a better use of his time than planning a transition.

It is good if a party can plug people into statewide office. It is better if they can keep advancing, the way Castle accomplished it for the Republicans as lieutenant governor, governor and congressman and Tom Carper did it for the Democrats as treasurer, congressman, governor and senator.

The Democrats fielded candidates who could plan for more -- with Markell morphing into governor, Denn into lieutenant governor and Carney campaigning as the front-runner for the Congress.

Karen Weldin Stewart, this does not mean you.