Posted: May 9, 2008


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The Delaware Republicans were determined to come out of their convention last weekend in Dewey Beach with a statewide ticket put together, even if they were at the mercy of vacation plans and medical bulletins.

Bill Lee was drafted for governor while he was thousands of miles away in Disney World. John Brady was endorsed for insurance commissioner while he was up the road in the Beebe Medical Center in Lewes.

A week later, Lee and Brady still were not on the campaign trail, but they were close.

Lee signed the papers Friday to set up a campaign committee, to be called "Lee 2008," so he could collect contributions. It all but made him a candidate for governor for the third time.

"When you're about to jump out of an airplane, you usually check your parachute first. If you don't have enough money, you can't run a campaign. I've run a campaign without much money. It was fun, but I lost," Lee said.

The official filing should not be far behind. "It's likely to be sooner rather than later. It may even be next week," Lee said.

Brady was released from the hospital Friday after what was suspected to be heart-related trouble but turned out to be pneumonia. He said he had tests that checked his heart out but discovered he was a little anemic and low on potassium. The doctors also tweaked the prescription for blood pressure medicine he has taken since 1987.

"I'm clear to campaign. No restrictions," Brady said.

Brady spent a week in Beebe but did not waste his time. "Every nurse and certified nursing assistant knows what I'm running for," he said.

Yes, Brady's hospitalization was covered by insurance.

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Demonstrations to rouse support for candidates at Delaware political conventions have gone the way of the typewriter and transistor radio. No one has them anymore.

Mike Castle, though, is a throwback kind of guy. He cannot seem to part with them entirely, not after a political career that stretches back to his election to the legislature in 1966, his first stop on the way to lieutenant governor, governor and congressman.

Castle was at the Republican state convention to pick up the party endorsement, as he campaigns to extend his state record in the U.S. House of Representatives to a ninth term.

He did not bother with a band or a balloon drop or a snake line of t-shirted volunteers swiveling through the aisles of the convention hall at Ruddertowne, but his campaign staff did distribute multi-colored beach balls for the delegates to bat around the room in celebration of the moment.

Castle unloosed the beach balls despite what happened when he used them two years ago for his endorsement in the same place, and an over-exuberant lob from someone shattered a chandelier. Castle got a bill for $1,000.

Guess what? It happened again. Another beach ball pulverized another chandelier.

The Democrats are trying to portray Castle as over the hill, but he still can turn a trip to the beach into something out of Animal House.