Posted: Sept. 15, 2014


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Political parties hate to have their rows in public. They would really rather not have their conventions turn into reality shows.

The Delaware Democrats figured out how to avoid it a long time ago. They stopped having conventions to endorse candidates and instead leave it up to their party's executive committee, meeting out of the public eye.

The Delaware Republicans finally came up with a way this year to detox their own convention, which their party rules say they have to schedule annually. Traditionally it has been in the spring.

What the Republicans did this time is they held their convention when it would not matter That would be after Primary Day, when all of the intraparty contests were over and the candidates for the fall campaign season were set.

It kind of takes the ruckus out of who should get the endorsements.

Not that the Republicans do not have their reasons. They are still trying to knit themselves back together again after their bloodbath four years ago. Castle over O'Donnell at the convention! O'Donnell over Castle in the primary! Coons clocking the Republicans in the general! Oy.

So Saturday at Delaware Technical Community College in Dover, four days after the primary, was the time for the Republicans to feel safe enough to meet. About 350 people attended.

It was less a convention and more of a pep rally.

About the only contention was the proud declaration from Hank McCann, the Kent County Republican chair, calling his county the home of Punkin' Chunkin', which is on its way to Dover Downs after years as a Sussex County staple, and there was a little booing out of the Sussex delegation.

Otherwise, the Republicans took the occasion to rip the Democrats for being, well, Democrats. Speaker after speaker hammered away at the state's direction under the Democrats' one-party rule. (So which party is responsible for letting that happen?)

The Republicans introduced their statewide slate:

Kevin Wade against Chris Coons, the Democratic senator; Rose Izzo against John Carney, the Democratic congressman; Ted Kittila against Matt Denn, the Democratic lieutenant governor, for attorney general; Ken Simpler against Sean Barney, the Democratic candidate, for treasurer; and Tom Wagner, the auditor, against Brenda Mayrack, the Democratic candidate.

The statewide candidates stuck with the theme in their speeches. The ones running against incumbents criticized their opponents for being career politicians, otherwise known as running for office and actually winning, like, more than once.

"The office of attorney general is not a waiting room for the governor's office," Kittila groused.

Simpler could not criticize Barney for being in office, so Simpler, who is running on his resume in finance, criticized Barney for wanting to be in office.

"He wants to do something good, but I want to have the contest about whether you're good at doing something," Simpler quipped.

Wagner, as the only Republican in statewide office, was left with making the most of being there.

"We have one-party control. The only difference is we have an independent state auditor. My opponent is the former executive director of the Delaware Democratic Party," Wagner said.

So much for all of that. What would happen if they gave a convention and nobody came? About the same as what happened when people did.