Posted: Sept. 25, 2010
By Celia Cohen
"Campaign Notebook" is a collection of items about political events in Delaware. This one takes a look at the first Republican gathering in the aftershocks of Primary Day and a candidate with a crime but no punishment.
Hours before the Brandywine Region Republicans held a "Road to Victory" dinner on Friday, the home page of their Web site rebelliously featured only the candidacies of Tom Wagner for auditor and Colin Bonini for treasurer.
Not Christine O'Donnell for senator. Not Glen Urquhart for congressman.
This was going to be an interesting evening.
Pete du Pont, the celebrated governor from 1977 to 1985, was scheduled as the keynote speaker. Mike Castle, the congressman and ex-governor himself who was du Pont's lieutenant governor, was supposed to introduce him. O'Donnell, who just clothes-lined Castle's political career, was supposed to attend.
Everybody came. The mood has been better at shotgun weddings.
Thank heavens for the seating arrangement. It strategically distributed the principals among the round tables, set up for about 100 Republicans attending the event at the Brandywine Country Club.
Du Pont had the prime table at the front of the room. Castle was to his left. (Naturally.) Urquhart and Bonini were both seated at a table to du Pont's right. O'Donnell was back a row to du Pont's extreme right. Wagner was kind of lost in the middle.
The dinner was in Castle country, but unpleasantries were avoided.
Castle and O'Donnell converged in neutral territory in the center of the room. O'Donnell was working the tables, and Castle approached with his wife Jane to offer congratulations loud enough for others to hear. It was a Kodak moment.
When O'Donnell gave a little speech to the crowd, she said to Castle, "So many people love you, and it's an honor to be here with you."
When Castle spoke, he joked at his own expense, noting that all he had to do to run as lieutenant governor in 1980 was to say "yes" when du Pont asked him. "It seems like a hell of a lot simpler way to get a nomination than what I went through this year," Castle quipped.
Du Pont took care of the rest. "It seems to me like this Tea Party thing that is going on is really helping the Republican Party," he said.
All that was left to do was exhale and go home.
# # #
Taking the police on a high-speed chase in North Carolina is not enough of a crime to get a candidate kicked off the ballot here.
Doug Campbell, who filed for attorney general, has been cleared by election officials to remain on the ticket of the Independent Party of Delaware, despite a run-in with the law in 2004.
The charge against Campbell, speeding to elude arrest, was treated as a felony under North Carolina law, and felons are not allowed to run for office in Delaware. But what Campbell did is not regarded as a felony here, and Delaware law prevails.
"We are going to leave Doug Campbell on the ballot. After research, his felony in North Carolina does not rise to the level of felony in Delaware," said Elaine Manlove, the election commissioner.
Campbell's candidacy creates some company in the voting booth for Beau Biden, the Democratic attorney general who did not draw a Republican opponent, not with the political fire power he can call in.
Campbell looks like the first candidate to run for attorney general after going to jail. Also the first to make his living seal-coating parking lots and driveways.