Posted: July 11, 2013


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

A loss can eat at a politician. Colin Bonini ate back.

It has left Bonini where he is today, someone who knows there is nothing easy about counting votes or counting calories, not enough of the one and too much of the other.

Bonini is a Republican state senator from Kent County near Camden. When it comes to either politics or food, he is no Jack Sprat.

Bonini consumes merrily. Hungry for something beyond the legislature where he has served since 1994, he ran for state treasurer in 2010 but lost a close one by 6,000 votes to Chip Flowers, the Democrat who won.

Now, with Bonini's Senate seat and the treasurer's race up again in 2014, he is actually thinking about running for both of them at the same time. It is legal, although a bill making its way through the Delaware General Assembly would limit a candidate to one office only, if it were to be adopted.

Meanwhile, Bonini has been acting like he is eating for two offices. Even he knew it had to stop.

Although he was too embarrassed to give his weight, he said he figured out he was in trouble when he was checking the personal stats of pro football players and found himself thinking, "Eh, those guys aren't so big."

It was time for another edition of "Pounds for Hounds."

Bonini has been here before. As his 40th birthday approached in 2005, he combined a diet with his love of dogs and a politician's skill for putting the arm on people to set up "Pounds for Hounds," collecting pledges for donations to an animal shelter for every pound he lost.

Bonini shed 40 pounds, but it did not last, so here he goes again.

"I have put that weight back on, so we can have a continuing revenue stream," he quipped.

Bonini, by the way, is no less overenthusiastic about pets as he is about running for office and eating. He and his wife Melissa Harrington, a neuroscientist at Delaware State University, have three dogs, an Akita named King, a shepherd mix named Sierra and a mutt named Cleo.

With the next campaign season and the diet looming, it must make Bonini the only politician not only trying to come back from a loss, but a gain.

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When the end has to come for someone who loved politics, it might as well be on the Fourth of July.

It was that way for Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who both died on Independence Day in 1826, exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed.

It was that way this year for Joyce Wright, the director of the Kent County election department for about 20 years. She was 67.

"We will miss Joyce. She certainly had elections in her heart and Kent County in her heart," said Ken McDowell, the director of the Sussex County election department.

Wright and McDowell went way back. Before they were election officials, they were in politics together, Wright as the Kent County Democratic chair and McDowell as the Sussex County Democratic chair.

Wright's replacement will be selected by the Kent County Board of Elections, a panel of three Democrats and three Republicans appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

It should not be a surprise that people being mentioned for the post are Abby Betts, the immediate past chair of the Kent County Democrats, and John Mancus, the current chair. Not after where Wright and McDowell came from.