CORDREY, SHARP . . . AND DAVE MCBRIDE?
Posted: Dec. 20, 2005
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner is in need of a new transportation secretary, and this year she showed a preference for old Senate caucus mates in her Cabinet. Another one, state Sen. David B. McBride, says he is available. There are those who want him, and those who don't.
MOVE OVER, IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE
Posted: Dec. 16, 2005
After coming up empty in two presidential elections, the Democrats are talking about revising the presidential election calendar to lessen the clout of Iowa and New Hampshire, not that either state intends to roll over. There also are some implications for Delaware.
Posted: Dec. 12, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Republicans discover they do have a use for Beau Biden, the Democrat running for attorney general. The Superior Court answers the question, where have all the sashes gone, long time passing?
THE DECORUM AFTER THE STORM
Posted: Dec. 8, 2005
When Carl C. Danberg took the oath to become attorney general, he restored order after what has been a riveting episode in Delaware politics, full of dealing and speculation. He emerged as the right man in the right place at the right time.
MY FAIR BRADY
Posted: Dec. 7, 2005
M. Jane Brady traded in her political life as a Republican attorney general for judicial life as a Superior Court judge in a swearing-in ceremony that could not have done more to draw a contrast between the two.
RICH ABBOTT: THE PREQUEL
Posted: Dec. 6, 2005
Last week Richard L. Abbott, a Hockessin lawyer, ran afoul of the court because of what he wrote. Two years ago he ran afoul of the court because of what he said, and it was serious enough to lead to a disciplinary sanction, now expunged.
THE COURT IS NOT AMUSED
Posted: Dec. 1, 2005
There is a time and place for sarcasm, but the Superior Court is not it. Richard L. Abbott, a Hockessin lawyer and former New Castle County councilman, has been told by Judge Jan R. Jurden it is not nice to imply that county officials are monkeys.
JANE BRADY'S LAST CONTRIBUTIONS
Posted: Nov. 30, 2005
Before Attorney General M. Jane Brady becomes a Superior Court judge next week, there are some things that belong to her that she has to give away. How appropriate that she is managing to do it in this holiday season.
A DISPATCH FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN BOSNIA
Posted: Nov. 23, 2005
Hear ye, hear ye, Judge Richard S. Gebelein is sitting in the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, his location since he took early retirement from the Superior Court here. As he did as a JAG officer in Afghanistan, he is sending e-mail home.
MINNER FINDS AN ATTORNEY GENERAL ALMOST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
Posted: Nov. 21, 2005
Never mind all the dealing that went into the creation of a vacancy for attorney general. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has turned to Carl C. Danberg, the chief deputy attorney general, to fill the opening. It is an appointment that is virtually impossible to criticize.
Posted: Nov. 18, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Charles M. Oberly III holds the record for tenure as attorney general and would be willing to extend it, if asked. The Democrats have someone thinking about the congressional race.
BEAU BIDEN SAYS NO TO AN APPOINTMENT BUT YES TO A CAMPAIGN
Posted: Nov. 16, 2005
Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III has decided the only way he wants to be attorney general is to get elected. As the word spread that he turned down an appointment that was the back end of a political deal, he said he would run for the office next year.
MICHELE ROLLINS SAYS THANKS BUT NO THANKS TO A SENATE RACE
Posted: Nov. 14, 2005
State Republicans will have to look for another candidate, now that Michele M. Rollins has told them her business commitments stand in the way of a race against U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, the Democrat who is up for re-election next year.
STATE REP. TINA FALLON IS READY TO RETIRE
Posted: Nov. 13, 2005; updated: Nov. 14, 2005
There was not much suspense in the announcement that state Rep. Tina Fallon made Monday in Seaford. Her retirement at age 88 has been anticipated by both her fellow Republicans and the Democrats. She also endorsed Seaford Mayor Daniel B. Short for her seat.
A DEAL IS A DEAL, FOR ALL THAT
Posted: Nov. 10, 2005
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner had something that Attorney General M. Jane Brady wanted, and Brady had something to give in return. A deal was born. It joins a centuries-old tradition on how Delaware judges get to the bench.
JANE BRADY AND POLITICS HAVE THEIR DAY
Posted: Nov. 9, 2005
The state Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm Attorney General M. Jane Brady as a Superior Court judge over the objections of a lawyer who protested that politics was behind the appointment. As if the Senate did not know that?
BAR ASSOCIATION WON'T OPPOSE BRADY
Posted: Nov. 4, 2005
Another possible barrier to Attorney General M. Jane Brady's nomination to the Superior Court melted away, when the Delaware State Bar Association decided to keep any objections it may have to itself and not go to the state Senate with them.
Posted: Nov. 2, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Michele M. Rollins thinks about getting in. Tina Fallon thinks about getting out. The Bankruptcy Court is ready for new judges. Richard H. Bayard is ready for a new partnership.
A PREGNANT SILENCE FROM BEAU BIDEN
Posted: Oct. 30, 2005
The timing was as good as it gets. As M. Jane Brady, the Republican attorney general, heads for the bench, the Democrats held a dinner keynoted by Beau Biden, their projected candidate. He had an announcement, but not the one his party was waiting for.
BRADY GETS THE GOVERNOR'S NOD FOR A JUDGESHIP
Posted: Oct. 27, 2005
Attorney General M. Jane Brady has the governor's approval to trade in the shoe leather of the campaign trail for the robe of a judge. Brady was included in a number of judicial appointments that Gov. Ruth Ann Minner sent to the Senate late Thursday afternoon.
HANG ON, THOSE NEW BANKRUPTCY JUDGES ARE COMING
Posted: Oct. 27, 2005
Relief is on the way for the federal Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Interviews are said to be scheduled for five candidates who are up for four new judgeships to create a six-member bench for the busy court, known for handling corporate mega-cases.
TO NO ONE'S SURPRISE, BRADY MAKES THE CUT FOR THE COURT
Posted: Oct. 25, 2005
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has to make her choice by the end of the week for a Superior Court judgeship from a list forwarded by her Judicial Nominating Commission. Surprise, surprise, Attorney General M. Jane Brady is said to be on the list.
MORE RUMBLINGS ABOUT MICHELE ROLLINS
Posted: Oct. 15, 2005
Michele M. Rollins did not even have to attend the "Salute at Vicmead," the premier fund-raiser for the Delaware Republican Party, to increase the speculation that she is taking a serious look at running against U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, the Democrat up for election next year.
WHAT DOES CARPER WANT?
Posted: Oct. 13, 2005
U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper has been busy, engaged in everything from giving a grant to a local fire company to joining a discussion on the future of the national Democratic Party and coming in for some strange scrutiny on Capitol Hill. Apparently there is something big on his mind.
GOOD LUCK SCALING A POLITICAL PLATEAU
Posted: Oct. 11, 2005
The politics is glacial in the Delaware Senate, where the Democratic majority never seems to change and the membership only slightly less so. Despite that history, there will be efforts to shift matters around in the election next year.
WANTED: REPUBLICAN STAR TO RUN AGAINST CARPER
Posted: Oct. 5, 2005
A top-name Republican is said to be thinking about running against U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, the Democrat whose term is up next year. State Republican Chairman Terry A. Strine is not saying who it is, but he offered up a description. One Republican in particular fits the bill.
STATE REPUBLICANS ARE ADRIFT ON AN EBB TIDE
Posted: Oct. 3, 2005
The Delaware Republican Party is in desperate need of a comeback, some of its woes the result of forces beyond its control, some of them self-inflicted and some a combination of both. Much of its downfall comes from the loss of its longtime business partner.
THE CARNEY TOUCH
Posted: Sept. 30, 2005
Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. collected a wad of campaign contributions, mostly from lawyers, for earnest money toward a 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor. Not all who gave their money are guaranteed to give their vote, though.
HOW TO BE FUNNY IN POLITICS WITHOUT EVEN TRYING
Posted: Sept. 26, 2005
Even politics has a silly season. It is what happens when the Republicans go calling on a Democratic senator's office, when the congressional delegation sends out a press release, and when a Republican also-ran decides to take a survey.
IN THIS DELAWARE LAW FIRM, IT'S DEGREES OF CONJUGATION
Posted: Sept. 21, 2005
A merger between two Delaware law firms has created a model of connections in a state that is known for them. The consolidated practice is bound together by legal, political and family ties, as well as by a certain elected office that the lawyers really rather would not talk about.
"IT'S GOOD TO BE A B.A.D."
Posted: Sept. 19, 2005
Brandywine Hundred is not what it used to be. For decades it was Republican territory, but the times are changing. Now the Democrats are finding friendly voters there. The party calls them B.A.D. -- "Brandywine Area Democrats" -- and had a picnic for them.
BRADY APPLIES FOR SUPERIOR COURT JUDGESHIP
Posted: Sept. 15, 2005
Attorney General M. Jane Brady has decided she would rather be a Superior Court judge than run for a fourth term next year, as she was widely expected to do. Instead, she appears to be leaving her fellow Republicans in a terrible lurch.
BRADY LOOKS LIKE SHE'S RUNNING BUT . . .
Posted: Sept. 12, 2005
Attorney General M. Jane Brady is acting as though she is running for re-election, holding her customary fund raiser and such, but it is also possible that the three-term Republican could go in a different direction. Her situation will become clearer after Thursday.
MARKELL MOVES INTO CAMPAIGN MODE WITH A NEW MANAGER
Posted: Sept. 9, 2005
State Treasurer Jack A. Markell already has the money for his 2006 re-election campaign, and now he has the man he wants to run it. It is another sign of how serious Markell is about advancing politically, even as he still shies away from talking about it.
AN ITCH FOR "SIX IN '06"
Posted: Sept. 2, 2005
Delaware Democrats are working to recruit candidates for the state House of Representatives in response to a speech in the spring from House Minority Leader Robert F. Gilligan, who called on his party to elect "Six in '06" and overturn the Republican majority.
Posted: Aug. 31, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper has an early encounter with Hurricane Katrina in the Florida Keys. Word of a new law firm around town surfaces hastily.
A SUSSEX COUNTY BIDEN JAMBOREE
Posted: Aug. 28, 2005
For years and years, the Sussex County Democratic Beach Jamboree at Cape Henlopen State Park has been a political stage for U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. The 2005 version was more of the same, particularly with his son waiting in the wings.
Posted: Aug. 26, 2005
There are some interesting questions swirling through the Delaware bench and bar these days. One of them is about a potential replacement for Richard S. Gebelein on the Superior Court, and another is about a lawyer who unceremoniously left Richards Layton & Finger.
FOOD FOR POLITICAL THOUGHT
Posted: Aug. 21, 2005
Summertime in Delaware is for picnics in Sussex County, so both the Democrats and the Republicans made the most of it Saturday as they served up food and politics. Even U.S. Sen. George Allen, the Virginia Republican in the next presidential pack, dropped in.
CASTLE HAS HIS POLITICS DOWN TO A SCIENCE
Posted: Aug. 15, 2005
U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle finds himself on the cutting edge of science and politics as he pursues legislation that would open up the field of embryonic stem cell research. It is not exactly a place where he ever expected to be.
"WE LOSE A GOOD SOLDIER"
Posted: Aug. 11, 2005
Richard S. Gebelein is retiring from one judgeship so he can take another one. The Superior Court held a farewell ceremony to recognize Gebelein for a combination judicial-and-military career that has taken him from Wilmington to Afghanistan and now to Bosnia.
Posted: Aug. 9, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. gets his PAC up and running. The Wilmington law firm of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor gets a new lawyer, and -- surprise, surprise -- she knows politics.
A PRESIDENTIAL ALERT ALREADY?
Posted: Aug. 5, 2005
Three years before the next presidential election, Delaware is getting a visit from one of the dozens of candidates thinking about running. Since it is a Republican, naturally he is going to Sussex County, the most Republican county that the state has.
POLITICS BY NUMBERS
Posted: July 28, 2005
Take the voter turnout in New Castle County in 2004. Stir in statewide candidates. The result is a head start for Democrats that only intrepid Republicans can overcome. It is a trend that is manifesting itself from election to election.
GEBELEIN GETS SET TO GO
Posted: July 26, 2005
Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein is almost ready for the good-bye handshakes so he can depart for Bosnia to join an international court. His colleagues are planning a sendoff for him next month at the New Castle County Courthouse.
MINNER AND LEE TOOK FRIENDLY FIRE IN 2004
Posted: July 20, 2005
The 2004 election returns for governor seemed so typical with Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, the Democrat, carrying upstate to win and William Swain Lee, the Republican, carrying downstate. A closer look shows that both of them lost votes in strange places.
Posted: July 15, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Chief Justice Myron T. Steele was closer to the London terrorist attack than he knew at the time. The Republicans set a goal that the Democrats can like.
I HEARD YOU PICKET NEWSPAPERS
Posted: July 13, 2005
Frank Sheeran, who once ran the Delaware Teamsters union, confessed to killing Jimmy Hoffa. He also confessed to being part of an important moment in Delaware politics, as told in I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, a local lawyer-turned-author.
THE STATE SENATE GETS SHAGGY
Posted: July 8, 2005
Anyone attempting to find a reason for this story will be prosecuted. Anyone attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. With apologies to Mark Twain, this is a story that goes nowhere in particular, but it is the state Senate's own fault.
Posted: July 6, 2005; updated: July 7, 2005
Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein is a big step closer to swapping Delaware for Bosnia. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has nominations for the Superior Court, Court of Common Pleas and Family Court to consider for a special Senate session in the fall.
EVEN IN DOVER, IT IS MBNA (MUCH BANK NEWS AROUND)
Posted: July 1, 2005
While the last day of the legislative session usually is all about the budget bill and other must-do measures, all that seemed to matter this June 30 was the sale of MBNA to Bank of America and what it will mean for Delaware.
GEBELEIN COULD LEAVE THE DELAWARE BENCH FOR BOSNIA
Posted: June 29, 2005
Instead of returning to the Superior Court after going to Afghanistan on active military duty, Judge Richard S. Gebelein has thoughts about an international judicial appointment in Bosnia. He would need help from the legislature to do it, though, and time is running out.
CASTLE STUMPS FOR BEN FRANKLIN, HIS GREAT FOREFATHER AND OURS
Posted: June 27, 2005
U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle made the case for Benjamin Franklin, a blood relation, on "The Greatest American," a Discovery Channel program broadcast Sunday evening. The competition was George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ronald Reagan.
CARNEY SAYS WHAT EVERYBODY KNOWS
Posted: June 24, 2005
The Democrats who went to a fund raiser for Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. got what they came for. They heard him say he expects to run for governor in 2008, even though he knows he does not have the field to himself.
GLASS AND NERVES ARE SHATTERED IN LEGISLATIVE HALL
Posted: June 23, 2005
A hearing on a bill about embryonic stem cell research was interrupted when a glass desktop shattered in the state House of Representatives chambers, and no one knew why. It had people looking for answers in unusual places.
Posted: June 21, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Blood relations matter to state Sen. Charles L. Copeland and New Castle County Executive Christopher A. Coons. A proposal to name a bridge for the late William V. Roth Jr. gets more help than it needs.
OLD TIMES HERE ARE NOT FORGOTTEN
Posted: June 17, 2005
At the Pete du Pont Freedom Dinner on Thursday evening, the Delaware Republicans brought in Newt Gingrich as their keynote speaker and showed they still know how to raise money. Once upon a time, they knew how to govern, too.
SCIENTIFIC POLITICS MEETS POLITICAL SCIENCE IN THE STATE SENATE
Posted: June 15, 2005
The science and the politics of embryonic stem cell research came together Tuesday in the state Senate. The result was that the politicians encouraged the scientists to conduct their work in Delaware. Next the state House of Representatives will have its say.
HAVE FUND RAISER, WON'T TRAVEL
Posted: June 13, 2005
Eight legislators -- seven Republican representatives and one Democratic senator -- went out to Lake Tahoe last week for a meeting of the Council of State Governments. So how come it was a legislator staying home who got tripped up?
THREE OF A KIND
Posted: June 10, 2005
Party unity is a sometime thing for the three members of Delaware's congressional delegation. Senate Democrats Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Thomas R. Carper and House Republican Michael N. Castle have a habit of breaking with their colleagues, according to an analysis of their votes.
ACTUALLY, BIDEN COULD RUN FOR BOTH OFFICES
Posted: June 7, 2005
The next presidential election in 2008 coincides with the end of U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s sixth term. If he somehow found himself on the national Democratic ticket, it appears that Delaware law would look kindly on him if he wanted to hedge his bets.
Posted: June 3, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Davis family makes its way to Legislative Hall. The du Pont family makes its way out of the upper reaches of Delaware politics in a turn for the history books.
AFTER A BREAK, THE STATE HOUSE NEEDS A BREAK
Posted: June 2, 2005
The state House of Representatives will not be in session Tuesday, although the state Senate will be. June, the legislature's busiest month, is an odd time to be taking a day off, but the House has its reasons for this unusual break.
BIDEN RAISES MONEY . . . AND EYEBROWS, TOO
Posted: May 31, 2005
U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is looking for a windfall of $1,000-plus checks to come his way in Delaware with two events planned for June. The six-term Democrat needs to stockpile the money for his next Senate campaign. Honest, he does.
Posted: May 25, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Attorney General M. Jane Brady is making the political rounds as she cranks up her campaign for 2006. The Republicans get going with their restyled New Castle County operation.
POLITICS IN HIS VEINS
Posted: May 23, 2005
The Blood Bank of Delmarva is looking for a few good donors for its summer blood drive, but even a politician will do. Guess who was the first Delawarean to roll up his sleeve -- and to make sure that everyone knew about it?
TRUTH IN SPRINGTIME
Posted: May 19, 2005
In the half-year that has elapsed since the last election, the Delaware Democrats and the Republicans have feted the winners and consoled the losers, gotten over the gloating and licked the wounds. Now it is time to tell the truth.
THE FERTILIZATION OF EMBRYONIC POLITICS
Posted: May 16, 2005
The politics of stem cell research is providing an unusual meeting ground of different philosophies and fields. It was evident Monday at a press conference in Wilmington with U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, state Rep. Deborah D. Hudson and state Sen. Robert L. Venables.
"A LIFELONG DEMOCRAT, BORN ON DELAWARE DAY"
Posted: May 14, 2005
Delaware Democrats elevated John D. Daniello from New Castle County chair to state chair at their convention Saturday in Dover, even though they knew what they were getting into. The party also celebrated its good fortunes at the polls.
THE CHOICE FOR CHIEF MAGISTRATE KEEPS IT ALL IN THE FAMILY
Posted: May 12, 2005
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner is nominating Alan G. Davis, a Sussex County lawyer who is also a state House attorney, to run the Justice of the Peace Courts. Davis' father is a magistrate, and his great uncle is one of the governor's closest advisers.
ORDER IN THE CONVENTION
Posted: May 11, 2005
The Delaware Democrats are not expecting any surprises when they hold their state convention Saturday in Dover. The main order of business is electing new officers, headed by John D. Daniello for state chair.
GRIDIRON AND BEAR IT
Posted: May 9, 2005
The crowd at the First State Gridiron Dinner & Show knows to expect the unexpected, as Delaware's annual political roast was held Saturday for the 14th time, but this year even the organizers had to deal with the unexpected.
DANIELLO EMERGES FOR DEMOCRATIC STATE CHAIR
Posted: May 4, 2005
The Delaware Democrats were left searching for a state chair when Richard H. Bayard surprised them by deciding against another term. The search seems to be ending with John D. Daniello, recently re-elected as the New Castle County party chair.
Posted: April 27, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Republicans may have a candidate to run against Jack A. Markell, the Democratic state treasurer. Michael E. Harkins reports to a federal prison in Pennsylvania.
REPUBLICAN CONVENTION NOTEBOOK
Posted: April 25, 2005
The Delaware Republicans did more than re-elect a state chair at their convention. They gained new insight into Bill Clinton and jostled a little over the nomination for governor. For Sussex Republicans, the gathering in Brandywine Hundred was in a county too far.
REPUBLICANS ARE FINE TO FALL IN LINE WITH STRINE
Posted: April 23, 2005
The Delaware Republican Party did what it was expected to do in re-electing Terry A. Strine as state chair at a convention Saturday in Brandywine Hundred. What it was not expected to do was to show a new determination to stop its skid in statewide elections.
Posted: April 22, 2005
The Delaware Republicans are holding a convention this weekend in Brandywine Hundred to elect a state chair. They are not expected to make a change. Where they could use a change is in the fortune of their party in statewide elections.
Posted: April 19, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Richard S. Gebelein is due to return to his life as a weekday judge/weekend warrior. Christopher A. Coons has 100 days in office, just as Franklin Roosevelt did.
FOUR LAWYERS MAKE THE CUT FOR CHIEF MAGISTRATE
Posted: April 18, 2005
A new chief magistrate is in the works as Gov. Ruth Ann Minner considers a list of candidates recommended by her Judicial Nominating Commission. Her appointee will replace Patricia W. Griffin, who left the post two months ago to become the state court administrator.
"JUST DO THE RIGHT THING"
Posted: April 14, 2005
Elbert N. Carvel, the governor who served split terms, also had split memorial services. His second one Tuesday in Legislative Hall in Dover was an opportunity for Gov. Ruth Ann Minner to draw a parallel about discrimination in his day and hers.
NO NEW CHAIR FOR STATE DEMOCRATS YET
Posted: April 12, 2005
Democratic leaders have put together a list of possible candidates for their state chair. Coming up with the names is one thing. Getting one of them to agree to take the job is another. The party has about a month to figure it out.
WHEN IN ROME
Posted: April 7, 2005
As the world's attention turns to the funeral for John Paul II, two of Delaware's best-known officials are in Rome, one purposely for the papal ceremonies and one by accident of timing. Both are swept up in the historic events.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Posted: April 5, 2005
Some defeated candidates never fade away, they just find something else for themselves in politics. Whether they ran for statewide or local offices, they are finding new niches for themselves in party politics, lobbying and a municipal race or two.
DANIELLO RE-ELECTED, WANNA MAKE SUMTHIN' OF IT?
Posted: April 2, 2005
Anybody who knows John D. Daniello would not be surprised that he got himself re-elected the New Castle County Democratic chairman, along with the officers he wanted serving with him. This is a politician who knows what to do with a gavel.
Posted: March 30, 2005
The Delaware Democrats know they will have a new state chair after their party convention this spring, but the Republicans do not know whether they will have a new one, too, after their own convention. It is an unsettled time for both parties.
Posted: March 28, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Beau Biden gives a speech on his own behalf to the Sussex County Democrats. Richard S. Gebelein sees a little more law and order in Afghanistan.
GILLIAM SR. IS RETIRING FROM THE URBAN LEAGUE
Posted: March 23, 2005
James H. Gilliam Sr., the founder and only chairman the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League has known, has decided to retire with his 85th birthday approaching. A well-known political name has surfaced as his likely replacement.
THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT MIKE HARKINS
Posted: March 20, 2005
After a lifetime in politics, Michael E. Harkins came to an end that was more disappointing than it was surprising. At an emotional sentencing, the ex-secretary of state was sent to jail for his excesses as the executive director of the Delaware River & Bay Authority.
HARKINS HAS HIS LAST HURRAH
Posted: March 17, 2005
Michael E. Harkins got in one last St. Patrick's Day before he goes to court for sentencing for his crimes at the Delaware River & Bay Authority. He had one of those times that could have happened only in Delaware.
BAYARD IS STEPPING DOWN AS DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN
Posted: March 16, 2005
State Democratic Chairman Richard H. Bayard has decided not to seek another term, surprising his party and leaving it casting about for a replacement when it elects new officers at its state convention this spring.
GEBELEIN IS COMING HOME
Posted: March 14, 2005
Richard S. Gebelein, the Superior Court judge called up for active duty, expects to be on his way home next month from Afghanistan. In e-mail to Delaware Grapevine, he reflects on what he will remember and what he is looking forward to.
"BERT CARVEL WAS A GREAT ONE"
Posted: March 12, 2005
Elbert N. Carvel understood what it meant to be the governor of a small state. His personal touch and his accomplishments were recalled Friday during a memorial service in Laurel after his death Feb. 6 at the age of 94.
THE REALITY OF PRISON ENDS ROGER BLEVINS' LIFE OF FANTASY
Posted: March 10, 2005
Roger D. Blevins III, a small-time Democratic operative, was sentenced Thursday to more than three years in federal prison for using campaign money from U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. to pay for a fantasy life that began on the Internet.
Posted: March 8, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. William Swain Lee does not seem to be finished with politics yet. State Sen. John C. Still III, the Republican minority leader, proves he is a money player.
SWIFT BOAT POLITICS, REVISITED
Posted: March 5, 2005
Delaware Republican leaders who wanted to salute the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth found themselves defending against a mysterious group calling itself the Swift Boat Republicans for Truth during a Republican State Committee dinner.
PUTTING THE LEGISLATURE IN PLAY
Posted: March 3, 2005
After the certainty of death and taxes, there has been the immutability of the Delaware General Assembly, Democratic in the Senate and Republican in the House of Representatives. Hard to believe, but it could be coming to an end.
Posted: March 1, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Sussex County Democrats make an interesting choice for a keynote speaker at their upcoming spring dinner. Richard S. Gebelein takes on drug dealing in Afghanistan.
Posted: Feb. 16, 2005
U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. thinks he might have a book in him, but he does not know what he would write or whether he will. If he does, though, it seems certain that he would have to include a story about a table and redemption in the U.S. Senate.
Posted: Feb. 13, 2005
An anonymous sneak attack on Terry A. Strine, the Republican state chairman who is running for a second term this spring, was one of the problems facing the party Saturday evening during the annual Kent County Lincoln Day dinner in Dover.
LINCOLN DAY DISORDER
Posted: Feb. 11, 2005
Thoughts of Abraham Lincoln may hit very close to home when the Delaware Republican Party gathers Saturday for a Lincoln Day dinner in Dover. These days the party is facing something of a civil war of its own.
Posted: Feb. 9, 2005
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. goes on TV. U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle goes to the House floor. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper goes to a party. Some long-awaited dates for sentencings are set.
GOV. ELBERT N. CARVEL, 1910-2005
Posted: Feb. 7, 2005
Gov. Elbert N. Carvel, a two-term Democrat who was one of Delaware's major political figures of the 20th Century, died Sunday shortly before his 95th birthday. He was an unforgettable presence whose fearless stands made his mark on the state he loved.
Posted: Feb. 4, 2005
Even without an opponent in sight, state Treasurer Jack A. Markell has used a personal loan to fill his campaign treasury with more than $1 million. With that kind of money, there is every likelihood the two-term Democrat has more on his mind than re-election.
WEIGHT LOSS FOR POLITICAL GAIN
Posted: Feb. 2, 2005
Who knows what lurks in the weight-loss plan of a politician? State Sen. Colin R.J. Bonini, a Dover Republican, is pondering more than poundage in a very public decision to go on a diet that he expects will last until the legislative session ends June 30.
FOOLS AND THEIR MONEY ARE SOON IN POLITICS
Posted: Feb. 1, 2005
The money flowed like fool's gold once the legislature went through the charade of pretending to reject a quadrennial package of pay raises. The Delaware Compensation Commission deserved a little more respect than it got.
SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE
Posted: Jan. 28, 2004
The Delaware Democratic Party had a dilemma. It had two candidates for executive director to run its daily operations. Throw in some overtones regarding Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. and state Treasurer Jack A. Markell, and how can it be sorted out?
THE SENATE STILL DELIVERS VOTES FOR CORDREY AND SHARP
Posted: Jan. 27, 2005
Years after retirement, Richard S. Cordrey and Thomas B. Sharp, a pair of Senate ex-presidents pro tem, showed they still know how to run the chamber. They were confirmed for the governor's Cabinet as they bulldozed over any misgivings about them.
Posted: Jan. 20, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. As a former governor and current congressman, Michael N. Castle goes to every inauguration he can. Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein describes getting to the office in Afghanistan.
THERE WAS NO JANUARY THAW FOR THIS INAUGURATION
Posted: Jan. 18, 2005
The temperature was chillingly low and the security was chillingly high as Gov. Ruth Ann Minner took the oath of office for her second term and last time. Nor was the politics of the day any warmer than the weather.
THE GOVERNOR DID WHAT??
Posted: Jan. 14, 2005
It is not every day that the governor announces a couple of new appointments to her Cabinet and people think she must be joking. It happened Thursday, when Gov. Ruth Ann Minner tapped two ex-senators and no one could believe it.
Posted: Jan. 13, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Delaware officeholders make a national mark by what they do and what they say. 'Twas the season for politics in holiday cards.
THE FOG OF POLITICS RETURNS TO DOVER
Posted: Jan. 12, 2005
Beneath the congratulatory mood and humor of the General Assembly's opening day, there was a brewing concern about a new tone coming to Delaware politics, even though the politicians themselves were largely the same.
JUST FOR INSURANCE, THERE ARE TWO OATHS FOR MATT DENN
Posted: Jan. 10, 2005
Matthew P. Denn is not only the state's new insurance commissioner but a new father of twin boys. Because there are two sons, there also were two oaths of office for the first Democrat to have the post in 12 years. One of those oaths was Monday.
IT'S WITHAM AND YOUNG FOR THE KENT COUNTY BENCH
Posted: Jan. 7, 2004
In a late afternoon flurry, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner on Friday settled on Superior Court Judge William L. Witham Jr. as her nominee for Kent County resident judge and chose Dover lawyer Robert B. Young for the seat that Witham's promotion would open.
EVEN GOVERNORS KNOW THEIR PLACE AT OLD DRAWYERS
Posted: Jan. 5, 2005
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner joined with the Friends of Old Drawyers to help them honor former Gov. Sherman W. Tribbitt for his contributions to the historic church in Odessa. Both governors took a back seat to the real star -- the church cemetery.
THE COURTS LOSE A JUDGE BUT GAIN AN ADMINISTRATOR
Posted: Dec. 20, 2004
Chief Justice Myron T. Steele looked homeward to find a new administrator for the state court system. Chief Magistrate Patricia Walther Griffin has agreed to give up her judgeship to take the job, beginning in February.
BIDEN GETS THE FEEL OF A MISSILE ATTACK
Posted: Dec. 16, 2004
A military aircraft with U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and three Senate colleagues aboard fired flares and took evasive action after radar showed it was under a missile attack during a trip to Iraq two weeks ago.
MORE KENT COUNTY JUDGES ARE IN THE WORKS
Posted: Dec. 14, 2004
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has a list of candidates from her Judicial Nominating Commission for two Kent County seats on the Superior Court. The choice for one opening is not really in doubt, but there are four names for the other.
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTE WAS STRICTLY ACADEMIC
Posted: Dec. 13, 2004
The Electoral College was no partying school this time. Delaware's Democratic electors -- Nancy W. Cook, James "JJ" Johnson and Timothy G. Willard -- cast the votes for president in a losing cause when they convened Monday in Dover.
FROM THE BEACHES TO OUTER SPACE, THE DELEGATION CAN HELP
Posted: Dec. 10, 2004
There will be federal money coming to Delaware for all sorts of things because of the efforts of the congressional delegation. There will be the usual, such as beach replenishment and roadwork, but also the unusual, like a space center. But no weather museum.
COUNTING MINNER'S POLITICAL CAPITAL
Posted: Dec. 7, 2004
Ruth Ann Minner heads into her second term as a 51 percent governor who has run her last campaign. How much political capital has she accumulated and spent? Her stands on the smoking ban and the gay anti-discrimination bill had a lot to do with it.
THE ONLY SUBJECT IN THIS COLLEGE IS POLITICS
Posted: Dec. 3, 2004
For the fourth presidential election in a row, Delaware's three members of the Electoral College will be Democrats. The party is sending James "JJ" Johnson, Nancy W. Cook and Timothy G. Willard to the ceremony-laden voting on Dec. 13 in Dover.
HANDS ACROSS THE AISLE
Posted: Nov. 30, 2004
Thomas R. Carper, the Democratic senator, and Michael N. Castle, the Republican congressman, appeared together to talk to Young Democrats and Young Republicans at the Charter School of Wilmington. It seemed like so much more than that.
Posted: Nov. 23, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. As Thanksgiving approaches, Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein prepares to observe the holiday in Afghanistan as a JAG colonel. Here at home, Delaware Democrats and Republicans are celebrating in different ways this year.
CARPER & CASTLE: MR. INSIDE & MR. OUTSIDE
Posted: Nov. 18, 2004
A brief lame-duck session of the Congress has put a spotlight on U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper and U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle. Carper got there with his patented inside game, and Castle made noise with one of his customary outside stands against the House leadership.
A TIE VOTE GOES TO THE GOVERNOR
Posted: Nov. 15, 2004
When lawyers involved in a recount for a Sussex County Council seat did a quick check of the state code, they found little to guide them on what would happen if the candidates were tied. It turns out the governor has a say, as a former New Castle County Council member points out.
SUPPOSE THERE WAS A TIE?
Posted: Nov. 12, 2004
An election for Sussex County Council came down to a three-vote victory after a recount last week. As the margin got closer and closer, the question arose about a tie. What would happen then? Delaware election laws barely offered a clue on how a deadlock should be broken.
SOGGY RETURNS OF THE DAY
Posted: Nov. 4, 2004
So much for that saying that it never rains on Return Day. The customary post-election celebration in Georgetown was drenching. Still, the parade was held, the hatchet got buried, and the politicians got started on their next round of campaigning with an array of sly stickers.
THE MIGHTY STREAK HAS STRUCK OUT
Posted: Nov. 3, 2004
Delaware has lost The Streak, a record it began more than 50 years ago of voting for the winning presidential candidate. There was some pretending it was still intact four years ago, when the state went for the candidate who won the popular vote, but now there is no doubt, it is gone for good.
DELAWARE GOES DECIDEDLY DEMOCRATIC
Posted: Nov. 2, 2004
With victories in Delaware for John F. Kerry and Ruth Ann Minner, the electorate has voted Democratic for president and governor for four elections in a row. U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle remained a bright spot for the Republicans, who otherwise suffered the loss of a promising class of recruits.
TURN OUT, TURN OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE
Posted: Nov. 1, 2004
The Democrats had a rally to get out the vote on Saturday, and the Republicans had one on Monday. Neither drew much of a crowd -- which goes to show that both parties these days are relying on organizational techniques to get their people to the polls Tuesday. It is not rocket science, but it works.
Posted: Oct. 29, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. State Treasurer Jack A. Markell goes out of state on the Democratic celebrity circuit. Richard S. Gebelein in Afghanistan finds that soldiering is soldiering, even for 58-year-old Superior Court judges.
THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT STRIKES BACK
Posted: Oct. 28, 2004
A Republican political spot brought U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's side to defend the first-term Democrat in her run for re-election. It was all about women, prisons and public safety.
NEW YORK'S PATAKI DID WHAT BILL LEE WANTS TO DO
Posted: Oct. 27, 2004
Republican William Swain Lee's campaign for governor got a lift Wednesday from New York Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican who came to Wilmington to talk him up. They appeared together at a lunch hosted by U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, who used to be a Republican governor himself.
DELAWARE DEMOCRATS OUT-REGISTER REPUBLICANS
Posted: Oct. 25, 2004; updated: Oct. 28, 2004
The new voter registration figures show that Delaware increasingly is becoming a Democratic blue state. With the final numbers now in, the Democrats have about 18,000 new voters and the Republicans about 8,000 new voters for the election a week from Tuesday.
Posted: Oct. 22, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Republicans pull a radio spot, but they say it is not for their own reasons. Claire M. DeMatteis finds work outside of U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s office. Judge Richard S. Gebelein writes again from Afghanistan.
SIDESWIPING THE ELECTION
Posted: Oct. 21, 2004
The Democrats and the Republicans in Delaware have different expectations when the voters go to the polls on Nov. 2. With little evidence that either will have much success trying to knock off the other's incumbents, they are focusing on open seats with only the occasional foray against an officeholder.
IT'S FATHER-AND-SON POLITICS FOR THE BIDENS
Posted: Oct. 19, 2004
U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is a front-line Democrat, barnstorming the country for his party's presidential ticket. His son Beau is taking a less public route to make his mark on state politics this election season -- and who know what will turn up for him in the future?
GEORGE JARVIS, LAWMAKER & CABINET OFFICER, 1927-2004
Posted: Oct. 15, 2004
George Jarvis, a Republican legislator and Cabinet secretary, died Friday after a lengthy illness at age 77. He arrived in Dover during the Republican heyday of the late 1960s and early 1970s and made his mark by knowing a public life could do public good -- but was even better with a little mischief thrown in.
Posted: Oct. 14, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The dueling campaigns of Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Republican William Swain Lee are seeing what they want to see in recent polls. Judge Richard S. Gebelein is grateful for a largely peaceful election in Afghanistan.
FOR MINNER, HOME IS WHERE THE HARD VOTE IS
Posted: Oct. 13, 2004
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner made a pitch for votes in Kent County, the place she calls home, and she had good reason to take the time to do so. Delaware's central county cannot be taken for granted by statewide Democrats -- not even if they are U.S. Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Thomas R. Carper.
THE SECRET WEAPON OF ERNIE LOPEZ
Posted: Oct. 11, 2004
Ernesto B. Lopez, the Republican running for New Castle County Council president, is not the average novice candidate. Because of a master's thesis he was writing, he found his way into a political network that has committed to helping him out -- and what a network it is.
THE BILL LEE NO ONE KNOWS
Posted: Oct. 7, 2004
William Swain Lee is the judge who bested murderer Thomas J. Capano and then came off the bench to run for governor, and everyone knows it. There is more to Bill Lee than that, however, most of it rooted in a turbulent time in the 1970s when he faced personal, financial and legal crises.
RUTH ANN MINNER'S 5 x 7 CARDS
Posted: Oct. 5, 2004
Republican William Swain Lee says Gov. Ruth Ann Minner is not on the up-and-up when it comes to debating. He says she is cribbing during their joint gubernatorial appearances -- that is, when she comes. Minner's campaign says there is nothing wrong with being prepared.
Posted: Oct. 1, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Not everything concerning Delaware happens at home. Lobbyist Robert L. Byrd sees a little more of parts of Alaska than he planned. Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein reflects on elections in Afghanistan.
THE DEMOCRATS GET TORNADOED
Posted: Sept. 29, 2004
The Democratic staffers at state headquarters are prepared to deal with the Republican Party and maybe even the Green Party, but a green sky and a tornado? On Tuesday afternoon they were in the thick of the storm that menaced the state, and so were a couple of Republicans.
JackPAC SAYS IT WITH DOLLARS
Posted: Sept. 28, 2004
Democratic candidates have received more than $40,000 since 2002 from "The Committee for a Better Future." Behind that innocuous name is a well-known politician who is helping out his party and no doubt also helping out himself. No one has seen anything like it in Delaware before.
Posted: Sept. 27, 2004
A conference hosted by the Council of State Governments in Alaska is proving to be more attractive to the governor and 11 state legislators than the campaign trail is. Despite elections at home, they headed out for a five-day session that began Saturday and ends Wednesday.
THE SHOTGUN TICKET OF COONS AND CLARK
Posted: Sept. 23, 2004
Democratic primary voters put Christopher A. Coons and Paul G. Clark together as a ticket for New Castle County executive and County Council president. It is not an easy alliance, not with suspicions remaining that Clark was linked to Sherry L. Freebery, who lost to Coons for county executive.
A NEW PRESIDENT JUDGE LEADS A CONFIRMATION PARADE
Posted: Sept. 21, 2004
In a leisurely special session, the state Senate returned to Dover to approve some judicial nominations, including the elevation of Superior Court Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. to president judge. It was a good day for the governor, a good day for Kent County and a good day for Senate Democrats.
THE HEAT RISES TO FAHRENHEIT 911 IN A POLITICAL DEBATE
Posted: Sept. 20, 2004
In a multi-office debate, Democrat Paul Donnelly wanted to ambush Republican Rep. Michael N. Castle with the way he was ambushed by film maker Michael Moore, and the smoking ban was stubbed out between Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Republican William Swain Lee.
GOOD-BYE TO REP. BOBBY QUILLEN, 1928-2004
Posted: Sept. 18, 2004
State Rep. George Robert "Bobby" Quillen, a Republican from Harrington, will be remembered for his cherubic cheerfulness, his sockless attire and his courage as he coped with liver cancer. The longtime legislator died early Saturday morning at his home at the age of 75.
Posted: Sept. 16, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein is on the ground in Afghanistan for his assignment as a JAG officer. The candidates for lieutenant governor go to the Wilmington Rotary Club for their first debate.
THE NOT-SO-GREAT DEBATE
Posted: Sept. 15, 2004
The sparks did not fly when Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, the first-term Democrat, and William Swain Lee, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, met Tuesday in Newark for their first formal debate. Lee came closer to mixing it up with a panelist. Maybe it was the format. Maybe it was just early in the campaign.
DAVE ENNIS GETS AROUND TO ANNOUNCING
Posted: Sept. 13, 2004
With seven weeks to go before the election, Republican David H. Ennis finally made his candidacy official for insurance commissioner with the customary three-county tour. He is the last statewide candidate to announce but the first to use a Segway scooter to do it.
Posted: Sept. 11, 2004
Primary Day in Delaware produced a bunch of predictable outcomes. An indicted candidate lost in the Democratic election for New Castle County executive. Endorsed candidates in a Republican contest for governor and a Democratic race for insurance commissioner won.
VAUGHN IS THE CHOICE TO LEAD THE SUPERIOR COURT
Posted: Sept. 10, 2004
For the third time in a row, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has decided to nominate a fellow Kent Countian for a leading judicial post. She wants Superior Court Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. to be the court's next president judge. The state Senate is expected to consider the confirmation later this month.
IT'S BOMBS AWAY FROM FREEBERY
Posted: Sept. 8, 2004
New Castle County Democrats are finding manila envelopes at the door. It is a literature drop from Sherry L. Freebery, blazing away in the last days of the campaign for the Democratic nomination for county executive against Christopher A. Coons, her chief rival in the primary on Saturday.
LABOR DAY IS A WORKING HOLIDAY FOR KERRY'S CAMPAIGN
Posted: Sept. 6, 2004
The Delaware operation for John F. Kerry capitalized on Labor Day to turn it into a campaign event for the Democratic presidential candidate. It held what it called a "front porch conversation" in a neighborhood in Wilmington, the friendliest of places for Democrats.
Posted: Sept. 2, 2004
For the Delaware Republicans in New York for the national convention, their seats could have been a little better and the state's color was off, but they are nothing if not resolute as they head into an election they believe could begin to turn their fortunes around. Michael N. Castle and William Swain Lee were here to talk about it.
NEW YORK NOTEBOOK
Posted: Sept. 1, 2004
The Delaware delegation in New York City took time to laud W. Laird Stabler Jr., who is ending his tenure on the Republican National Committee. For Priscilla B. Rakestraw, the other national committee member, this convention is special, too. The state Democrats try to issue a challenge to the Republicans, but it flops.
Posted: Aug. 31, 2004
With Rudy Guliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain as high-profile speakers, this Republican convention in New York City is one that Mike Castle can love. The Delaware congressman is looking for a bigger say for moderate Republicans like himself. That would suit his home state delegation.
THE DAY NEW YORK STOOD STILL
Posted: Aug. 30, 2004
The Delaware delegates are being reminded at every turn why the Republican Party chose New York City for its national convention. They encounter it at their hotel, they see it on the streets, and they heard about it at their welcoming dinner on Sunday night. It ought to be a constant throughout the week.
A POLITICAL TRIPLE CROWN FOR CASTLE?
Posted: Aug. 29, 2004
At the Democratic national convention last month in Boston, there was a lot of speculation about the future of U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a Cabinet post. Now comes the natural follow-up at the Republican national convention in New York City, where the buzz is about U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle.
Posted: Aug. 27, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Delaware Republicans go to New York City for their national convention. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper lends his name for John Kerry's campaign. William Swain Lee follows Gov. Ruth Ann Minner to the airwaves.
Posted: Aug. 23, 2004
One way to measure the health of candidates is to check out their campaign financing. The reports are in for the primary election, and some of the candidates need a transfusion of cash if they are going to make it. Others are doing fine. Sherry L. Freebery is a special case.
Posted: Aug. 19, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper deals with campaigns, past and present. The folks at Republican state headquarters take a pause from political war-making to turn to match-making in this election season.
Posted: Aug. 17, 2004
The political ground campaign has been ongoing for some time now, but the air campaign has been silent until Gov. Ruth Ann Minner opened it up this week with advertising on cable television. As of now, she has the airwaves to herself -- not surprising, given the financial realities of state politics.
Posted: Aug. 15, 2004
Without any fanfare, the first gubernatorial debate of 2004 between Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Republican William Swain Lee was held Saturday evening in a living room in Rehoboth Beach. They appeared at a fund-raiser for the Delaware Liberty Fund, a gay rights organization.
AND THE CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT JUDGE ARE . . .
Posted: Aug. 13, 2004
Politics, gender and geography are at play in the decision to name a new president judge for the Superior Court. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner received a list of candidates Friday from her Judicial Nominating Commission to replace Henry duPont Ridgely, who moved to the Supreme Court.
A FIELD DAY FOR POLITICS, SUSSEX FARM & HOME STYLE
Posted: Aug. 11, 2004
Anyone who harvests crops or votes is welcome every year to the University of Delaware's Farm & Home Field Day near Georgetown. Farmers and politicians had an extra reason to come together this time because of a gift from former Gov. Elbert N. Carvel, still contributing at the age of 94.
CARPER AND MINNER, TOGETHER AGAIN
Posted: Aug. 8, 2004
The lips barely had time to uncurl, from the time Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper were together at Governor's Day at the Delaware State Fair until they met up at a fund-raiser for the Stonewall Democrats on Saturday evening in Rehoboth Beach. They managed just fine.
WILL HARKINS GET A LUCKY BREAK?
Posted: Aug. 5, 2004
Michael E. Harkins was supposed to be looking at five months to two years in jail for his spending spree at the Delaware River & Bay Authority. Now it appears he could wind up with less time because of an upheaval in the federal sentencing system. His sentencing has been postponed at least until October.
GOVERNOR'S DAY WASN'T SO FAIR
Posted: Aug. 4, 2004; updated: Aug. 6, 2004
Governor's Day last week at the Delaware State Fair was supposed to be devoted to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, but it turned into a day of political shadow-boxing when a former governor or two also showed up. This, after Minner came all the way home from the Democratic convention in Boston to attend.
CHASING JOE BIDEN
Posted: July 29, 2004
U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be on the stage Thursday evening at the Democratic national nominating convention in Boston. It is his most visible appearance, but Biden has been hard at work all week, keeping up a schedule that seems more like an audition. But for what? Whatever it is, it is bringing him lots of attention.
Posted: July 28, 2004
Wilmington Councilman "Stormin'" M. Norman Oliver, the delegate for Al Sharpton, explains how he will vote in the roll call for the presidential nomination in Boston. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper and state Treasurer Jack A. Markell have some things to say, too. Other Delawareans set their sights on the stars.
SECURING THE NOMINATION
Posted: July 27, 2004
The Democratic nominating convention in Boston seems to be one part politics to three parts security. The Delaware delegation had to navigate a maze of checkpoints to get inside the FleetCenter. Once the delegates made their way to their assigned seats, the challenges still were not over.
PITCHING A BOSTON SURPRISE
Posted: July 26, 2004
The surprises in Boston for the Democratic national convention are supposed to be hard to come by. Still, John F. Kerry threw one at the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park. U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. managed a surprise appearance, and Wilmington Councilman Norman M. Oliver still has a surprise in store.
GREETINGS FROM THE BOSTON "D" PARTY
Posted: July 25, 2004
The Delaware delegation has arrived in Boston for the Democratic national convention, where the mood is fiery, the slogans are ribald, and the demonstrations can be as silent as a lamb or as loud as a bullhorn. As for the delegation's hotel, it can get a little fiery, too.
BEAU BIDEN IS COMING, AND SCHNEE IS SORT OF GOING
Posted: July 23, 2004
A Wilmington law firm that has given safe haven to retired judges and politicians has brought in Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III as a new name partner and renamed itself Bifferato Gentilotti & Biden. It also is lending Carl Schnee to the state court system at the chief justice's request.
PLEASE DON'T LAUGH AT THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Posted: July 22, 2004
Lieutenant governor is an office that almost never seems to be taken seriously, maybe not even by the candidates running for it. Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr., the Democratic incumbent, and James P. Ursomarso, the Republican challenger, declared for the office this week without much to say about the life-and-death matters that really do give weight to the post.
Posted: July 20, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. State Sen. Karen E. Peterson decides that all things considered, she would rather not be running for governor this year. Sherry L. Freebery promises the Supreme Court she will not practice the law she never practiced.
JUDGE GEBELEIN IS CALLED UP FOR AFGHANISTAN
Posted: July 19, 2004
Richard S. Gebelein is not only a Superior Court judge but a colonel in the Delaware Army National Guard, and his experience as a staff judge advocate in charge of the legal staff has led to an assignment in Afghanistan. He leaves next month for what he expects to be a year away from home.
MINNER DECLARES HER CANDIDACY ONE LAST TIME
Posted: July 17, 2004
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner spent Saturday traveling the state in what was a traditional candidate's announcement for office but also something of a farewell tour. Delaware's first-term Democratic governor made a pitch for votes in the last campaign she intends to run.
Posted: July 16, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Delaware politicians are engaging in a daisy-chain of speculation about what would happen if U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. became secretary of state. Meanwhile, Biden is hanging out with Hillary Rodham Clinton -- in Wilmington.
CONGRESSMAN CASTLE DRAWS A DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE
Posted: July 14, 2004
Before Wednesday evening was out, Delaware Democrats expected to have a candidate to run against U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle, the six-term Republican with a history of swatting challengers aside. The Democrats are turning to a novice candidate from Smyrna for the task.
COONS DOES BETTER IN HIS POLL THAN ON THE STUMP
Posted: July 13, 2004
In the Democratic primary for New Castle County executive, Christopher A. Coons has conducted a poll that gives him all the more reason to wish his joint appearance last month with Sherry L. Freebery, his opponent for the nomination, had gone differently.
CHRIS COONS' NUMBERS CRUNCH
Posted: July 8, 2004
An old finance report from Christopher A. Coons' 2000 race for New Castle County president is haunting his current campaign for the Democratic nomination for county executive, leading to untold political intrigue in what is already a seamy election season.
A BRONZE STAR
Posted: July 6, 2004
In a tribute to the late Mayor Thomas C. Maloney, his friends gathered last week to unveil a bronze statue of him on the Market Street Mall in Wilmington. Naturally there was something a little ironic going on. It is unlikely that Maloney would have wanted it any other way.
Posted: July 2, 2004
All's well that ends well -- whether it is the confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice or the departure of four legislators from the House of Representatives. Within the formal proceedings of the last night of the General Assembly, there was time for the human side, too.
SHADOW BOXING ON JUNE 30
Posted: July 1, 2004
The finale of the 2004 legislative session had the look of a showdown between the House Republicans and the Democratic governor, but it never quite happened. There is no way to have a showdown when one side wants to fight but the other does not.
BRING IN THE HEAD OF TERRY SPENCE
Posted: June 28, 2004; updated: June 29, 2004
Ever since colonial Delaware separated from Pennsylvania, the legislature here has gone its own way. Historian Carol E. Hoffecker has written about it in a new book called Democracy in Delaware. Just how creative the legislators can get is shown by the photograph at the beginning of the book.
RIDGELY'S STUTTER STEP ON THE WAY TO SUPREME COURT
Posted: June 24, 2004
Henry duPont Ridgely, the Superior Court president judge, looked like a shoo-in for a Supreme Court vacancy. Then word of his nomination leaked prematurely, and now there is a question whether the state Senate will get to him before the legislative session ends on June 30.
KENT COUNTY RISING
Posted: June 4, 2004
After 40 years of wandering in the political wilderness, Kent County has become a force again. It has a governor. It has a chief justice. It has legislative power and legal power, and it may not be finished yet. This is a county that finds itself with the right people at the right time.
FREE-FALL FOR FREEBERY IN NEW CASTLE COUNTY
Posted: June 2, 2004
Nothing focuses the voters like a federal indictment. The charges announced last week by U.S. Attorney Colm F. Connolly are sure to have an effect on the three-candidate race for New Castle County executive with Christopher J. Castagno, Christopher A. Coons and Sherry L. Freebery.
A REPUBLICAN OPENING
Posted: May 27, 2004
Delaware Republicans are wondering what to do about an anticipated opening for the state vice chair. Would it be a good idea to use it to clear away a pesky primary, or would that be counterproductive? There was a lunch Wednesday at the Wilmington Club that could have a bearing on the decision.
"OUR LAW AND OUR LIBERTY ARE IN COMPETENT HANDS"
Posted: May 26, 2004
Not even all the formalities of an investiture ceremony could keep the fuss-aversive character of Myron T. Steele, the state's new chief justice, from coming through. Everyone from the governor to law clerks came to the Kent County Courthouse on The Green in Dover to watch.
A MURDER MYSTERY FOR GOP CHAIRMAN TERRY STRINE
Posted: May 24, 2004
Long before the country house owned by state Republican Chairman Terry A. Strine came to political attention, it had come to prominence in criminal lore. The house was the site of the sensational murder of Katharine Thompson Wood, the sister of the famed "Silk King."
Posted: May 18, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Thomas P. Gordon and Sherry L. Freebery are involved in a Mother's Day mystery. A Republican giving a nominating speech for national committeewoman forgets one of the most basic rules of politics.
WHAT WENT DOWN IN DEWEY (AND WHAT WENT UP)
Posted: May 16, 2004
Conventions come and conventions go, but the 2004 Republican state convention in Dewey Beach was one of those rare times when it matters. The Delaware GOP took a searching look at itself and cast the votes expected to have a lasting effect on its self-image as "Big Tent" party this is philosophically inclusive.
THE GLOVES ARE OFF FOR GOP NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN
Posted: May 14, 2004
Delaware Republicans are heading into a combative election Friday evening, when they vote for a new national committeeman. The surprise candidacy of businessman Thomas H. Draper has led to a backlash and a commitment from John R. Matlusky, the party's state vice chairman, to run, too.
Posted: May 11, 2004
The Delaware Republicans are not a party at peace as they go into their state convention at the end of the week. The hard feelings are most evident in what is happening with National Committeeman W. Laird Stabler Jr. and National Committeewoman Priscilla B. Rakestraw, two top party officials.
A DEMOCRATIC SKELETON IN THE GOP CHAIRMAN'S CLOSET
Posted: May 10, 2004
Politicians do not like party switchers. Delaware Republicans are surprised to learn that they elected one as their state chairman last year when they installed Terry A. Strine as their leader. Strine has been a Republican, an independent, a Democrat, an independent and a Republican.
SAYING GOOD-BYE TO EDIE HEMPHILL
Posted: May 8, 2004
Kent County brought out its best, including the governor and the chief justice, to say good-bye to Edie Hemphill, the clerk of the peace whose memorial service was Saturday at the Felton fire hall. From performing weddings to dishing up slippery dumplings to helping others, there was no one else like Edie.
STEELE CONFIRMED AS CHIEF JUSTICE
Posted: May 5, 2004
Myron T. Steele was confirmed Wednesday as Delaware's chief justice by an overwhelming and joyous vote that masked the intensity of his Senate confirmation hearing. Steele was able to satisfy his questioners about his role in a controversial rent-cap case that had threatened his nomination.
Posted: May 4, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Democrat Penrose Hollins announces for New Castle County Council president. Democrat Brian J. Bushweller does the same for a Kent County legislative seat. State Sen. Karen E. Peterson still bides her time.
IT'S LIEUTENANT BEAU BIDEN
Posted: April 29, 2004
That new lieutenant in the Delaware Army National Guard is Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, who signed up as a JAG officer. He was keeping it quiet until dad blabbed. If Beau Biden has political office on his mind, he can find role models right in the Guard.
TIDYING UP THE TICKET
Posted: April 22, 2004
Kelly L. Gates, one of two Republicans running for lieutenant governor on their own, has decided to defer to James P. Ursomarso, the running mate favored by William Swain Lee, the leading Republican candidate for governor. Gates will play a prominent role in Ursomarso's campaign, instead.
COONS ENDORSED IN SECRET SESSION
Posted: April 21, 2004
Christopher A. Coons won a secretive endorsement for county executive from the New Castle County Democrats' executive committee, which would not discuss its decision in public or even reveal what the vote was. Rival Sherry L. Freebery and her backers left the meeting in protest.
STEELE NAMED CHIEF JUSTICE
Posted: April 19, 2004
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has decided to nominate Supreme Court Justice Myron T. Steele for chief justice, sticking with him through an ugly ethics investigation and an unabashed campaign for her to name Justice Randy J. Holland to Delaware's top judicial post.
BILL LEE GETS A RUNNING MATE
Posted: April 17, 2004
William Swain Lee, the leading Republican candidate for governor, appears ready to make good on a promise to find a candidate for lieutenant governor some weeks before the Republican convention in mid-May. The word is he wants James P. Ursomarso of the Wilmington car dealership family.
Posted: April 16, 2004
An ethics investigation into Supreme Court Justice Myron T. Steele, conducted while he is said to be under consideration for chief justice, has cleared him of allegations of favoritism and impropriety. The accusations were described as "totally baseless and unfair."
Posted: April 15, 2004
It is the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. The Republicans run a rookie for New Castle County Council president and rally around him. The Republicans in Kent County prepare to install someone new as their chairman.
HURRAH FOR RANDY HOLLAND
Posted: April 14, 2004
If judges and lawyers voted for chief justice, the tone of an elite bench-and-bar dinner Tuesday showed that Randy J. Holland would win in a walk. As it is, the choice belongs to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, who is said to favor Myron T. Steele, problems or no problems and dinner or no dinner.
COURT OPENS PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION ON STEELE
Posted: April 12, 2004
In the aftermath of a controversial rent-cap case, Supreme Court Justice Myron T. Steele has become the subject of a preliminary disciplinary investigation by a judiciary panel that works in secret -- just at a time when Steele is under consideration to become the next chief justice.
ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES IN SUSSEX COUNTY
Posted: April 8, 2004
In the convoluted politics of Sussex County, the election last week for a new Democratic chair may have something to say about the future of a rookie Republican representative. Strange things can happen when a governor gets involved in county politics.
REMEMBERING PEG HOOD
Posted: April 7, 2004
For all the candidates and officeholders who are the public face of politics, there has to be Peg Hood, the volunteer who makes it tick. After decades and decades of work for the Delaware Republicans, she died Saturday at 82, leaving behind a party that learned to do things her way -- or else.
DELAWARE DEMOCRATS GO NATIONAL
Posted: April 3, 2004
Two months after Delaware's presidential primary, the Democrats assembled Saturday to elect delegates to the national convention in Boston. The delegation reflected John F. Kerry's victory here with a a lone slot for a delegate for Al Sharpton. The delegation is listed in Generally Presidential.
BETTS ELECTED SUSSEX DEMOCRATIC CHAIR
Posted: April 2, 2004
Lynn Mangene Betts emerged as the new Sussex County Democratic chair, winning an election to fill the unexpired term of Thelma Monroe after she stepped aside to become the county clerk of the peace. Betts takes over an organization intent on turning its fortunes around in the 2004 election.
Posted: March 31, 2004
These days the question surrounding John F. Kerry is his choice for vice president, but once the whispering down the lane gets past that, it will be time to speculate about the people he might want for his Cabinet. That is where the name of Joseph R. Biden Jr. comes in.
CHIEF AMONG US
Posted: March 30, 2004
The elaborate trappings of retirement for a Delaware chief justice were all there at a dinner Monday evening for E. Norman Veasey -- the official portrait, the presence of the governor and the congressional delegation, and of course, the spirited speculation about who will succeed him.
AN AWKWARD TIME TO SAY "OOPS"
Posted: March 26, 2004
At the worst possible time, a conversation with a lawyer has blown up on Supreme Court Justice Myron T. Steele, just when he is being considered for chief justice. State senators say they would have questions for him if the governor submits his name for confirmation.
"MIKE HARKINS BECAME THE DRBA"
Posted: March 22, 2004
After living high as the Delaware River & Bay Authority's executive director, Michael E. Harkins was in federal court Monday to pay for it, pleading guilty to two felonies for turning the public agency to private use. It took four prosecutors' offices to bring in Harkins, a onetime secretary of state.
A SUPREME GAME OF MUSICAL CHAIRS
Posted: March 19, 2004
When Delaware Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey retires next month, it appears that the center chair on the Supreme Court will go to one of its current members. Three justices are said to be on a list of candidates that Gov. Ruth Ann Minner is reviewing for appointment to the state's top judicial post.
OH, RUNNING MATE, WHERE ARE YOU?
Posted: March 17, 2004
The clock is running on William Swain Lee, the front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor, if he wants to name his own choice for lieutenant governor. The retired judge already missed a golden opportunity last week to present someone at the Republican State Committee dinner.
SUSSEX COUNTY LOSES A 'GOOD OLD GUY'
Posted: March 15, 2004
D. Ray Ellerman, a Sussex County Republican elected clerk of the peace three times, died Sunday after a long illness, leaving behind memories of a fun-loving officeholder who appeared in one of the most talked-about political ads of the 2002 campaign. The governor will appoint his replacement.
TURKEY IN THE STRAW
Posted: March 13, 2004
The Delaware Republican Party entertained itself Friday evening with a straw poll for three statewide offices. The results were so predictable that it was a good thing U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, one of the state's best-known Democrats, unexpectedly turned up at the event to provide a little life.
ANYTHING GOES IN THE SUSSEX 41st
Posted: March 5, 2004
No legislator may be a bigger target this election season than state Rep. John C. Atkins, the Republican who represents a Sussex County district that usually votes Democratic. While Atkins has been known to shoot his mouth off, the Democrats have been known to shoot their foot off, so who knows what will happen?
Posted: March 3, 2004
It's the little things that make politics tick. This is a column about that. Paul G. Clark shows he is serious about running in New Castle County. Patrick W. Murray makes a serious move in Kent County. Matthew P. Denn, an insurance commissioner candidate, breaks up all that seriousness.
FORMER COUNTY EXEC RICK COLLINS