Posted: Aug. 12, 2016


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Just what Colin Bonini needed in his campaign for governor. Another obstacle.

It was not enough that Delaware has not elected a Republican governor since the 1980s? Not enough that Bonini is up against John Carney, who has already been elected statewide five times as the Democratic congressman and lieutenant governor? Not enough that Bonini still has to go through a Republican primary against a Tea Party-type candidate?

On top of all that, Bonini has come down with a case of Lyme disease.

It had Bonini feeling so bad, it was like an unrelenting physical reminder that Carney had a 57 percent approval rating while only 29 percent of the Republicans, Bonini's own party, were committed to him in a recent PublicMind Poll, which is administered by Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Bonini's health is improving, now that he is being treated with what he described as "super-duper" antibiotics, and his doctor has him thinking he will be fine.

"I've been feeling terrible for weeks and weeks, flu symptoms and tremendous joint pain. I felt like it was like the first day of football practice, like every day," Bonini said.

Bonini is a big guy, but it was a teeny tiny speck of a tick that undid him.

Lyme disease is carried by infected blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, or more scientifically as Ixodes scapularis. Its ill effects can include fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash, as recounted by the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Bonini might have the odds stacked against him as a candidate to get elected governor but not as a candidate to get Lyme disease, not when he lives at a place called "Black Dog Farm," which could be tick paradise.

It is a 10-acre horse farm in Kent County, just north of Magnolia, with seven horses, two dogs and three cats Bonini owns with Melissa Harrington, his wife who is a professor involved in neuroscience research at Delaware State University.

Between the flu-like sickness in the summertime and the farm, Bonini's symptoms were blinking Lyme disease. It was confirmed when he tested positive. "I don't think it was that difficult a diagnosis," Bonini said.

Bonini has tried to keep campaigning, even though he was told by Joseph Rubacky, his doctor, to rest. Naturally, this has not worked out well for Bonini, either.

Bonini showed up Tuesday evening for the Delaware Electric Cooperative's dinner, an annual event that draws thousands of people to the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.

Bonini was distributing little flashlights, his signature campaign trinket, when he spotted Rubacky arriving for the dinner and Rubacky spotted him.

"My doctor walks in, and he's like, Colin, you're supposed to be in bed. I said, would you like a flashlight?" Bonini quipped.

Just like Bonini. He is a happy campaigner, and not even Lyme disease can tick him off.