Posted: March 19, 2007


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The first press release from James T. Bowers, the Republican candidate in the special election, focuses on his status as a "lifelong Brandywine Hundred resident."

It is a credential designed to forge a bond instantly with the voters in the campaign to replace former House Majority Leader Wayne A. Smith, a Republican who resigned to run a health care trade association. A date for the election between Bowers and Democrat Bryon H. Short has not been set.

Jim Bowers is 48, a Baby Boomer who grew up when Brandywine Hundred was the engine that drove the DuPont Co. and made a political powerhouse of the Delaware Republican Party.

With that upbringing, what possibly could have possessed Bowers to be registered as a Democrat for a while?

It turns out Bowers spent several years living in Wilmington, which was as Democratic as Brandywine Hundred was Republican, when Daniel S. Frawley was the mayor. The first time Frawley ran in 1984, a lot of Republicans changed their registration so they could vote for him in the Democratic primary.

Frawley was not only a DuPont Co. lawyer, the sort of candidate easy for someone from Brandywine Hundred to love, but he was a personal friend of Bowers. The two played rugby, the signature play-hard-party-harder sport of the Frawley administration.

"I was a Democrat so I could vote for him," Bowers said.

It is not a very big political sin, but it does mean that Bowers' assertion about being a "lifelong Brandywine Hundred resident" needs an asterisk.

It should read: *A lifelong Brandywine Hundred resident except for the years he lived in the city and became a Dan Frawley Democrat.

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U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has a new director of constituent services. Selecting Marla Blunt-Carter for the job probably was a no-brainer for Delaware's Democratic senior senator.

As political families go, it takes one to know one.

Biden, of course, is the father of Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, the legacy candidate elected attorney general. Blunt-Carter's father is Theodore Blunt, the Democratic president of the Wilmington Council and a possible candidate for lieutenant governor. Her sister is Lisa Blunt Rochester, once a Cabinet secretary for Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and a past president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League.

Lisa is the oldest sister at 45. Marla is 40. In between, Ted and Alice "LaTrelle" Blunt have a non-political daughter. Thea, 42, is an engineer in Aberdeen, Md., for the U.S. Defense Department. (Delaware Grapevine takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the sisters' ages, which were provided by their father with typical paternal guesswork.)

Marla was the daughter who followed Ted's academic footsteps -- Winston-Salem State University, an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in social work from Rutgers University.

"All three are smart. All three love their daddy," Ted Blunt said.