Archive for November, 2012

Looking Ahead

November 26, 2012

  This will be my second post on the recent elections. Again I will focus on a local race here in Sussex County.

  My previous post was titled, “Looking Back”, since it was looking at a race that the Republican, Don Ayotte, lost to Democrat, Joan Deaver, for the 3rd councilmatic district of Sussex.

  I have titled this post looking ahead because it was won by the Republican, a man who many feel will be the future of the Republican party, and a positive influence in Delaware politics for the citizens of the district he ran for, and for the citizens of the county and the state.

  I am referring to Ernie Lopez in the new sixth state senatorial district, who first won the GOP primary against fellow Republican Glen Urquhart.

  As I did in my previous post, I am asking for the views of those outside of the race as well as those who may have had a hand in helping Mr. Lopez win.

  First let us look at the primary win, which put Mr. Lopez in a position to then go on to win the general election.

  It was a primary like most filled with controversy from the very beginning. Many people felt that Mr. Urquhart took advantage of his newly acquired position as the chairman of the Sussex County GOP Executive Committee. Many felt that instead of finding a viable candidate to run against Democrat Pete Schwartzkopf in the 14th Rep. District, or any candidates for that matter, Mr. Urquhart chose to primary Mr. Lopez for the sixth. I would also point out that Mr. Lopez had announced his intentions first, though that too was a bit of a controversy.

  Mr. Urquhart was also criticized for not choosing to run against Rep. Schwartzkopf himself instead of challenging in a primary.

  For the most part both candidates attempted to keep the race free of personal attacks, at least on the service. There was a lot of talk of Mr. Lopez’s job with the University of Delaware, and whether it would be a conflict of interest.

 Mr. Lopez focussed on the issues and kept it positive.

 Now the question is, how did Ernie Lopez win the primary and the general election? He won them both the same way so I will just say it once for both races.

  First and foremost Ernie Lopez as a candidate fit the district that he was running for. Some felt that he was too moderate, most of these voices did not even live in the district, so their voices did not carry much weight. They are the same people who think you can build the robo-candidate and run them in any race.

 Second, Ernie Lopez may have been the hardest working candidate in the 2012 election cycle. He won the old fashion way, by knocking doors and meeting people. And unlike other candidates who were not as successful, when people meet Ernie Lopez, they like him and they hear what he is saying. But just as, if not more importantly, Ernie Lopez when meeting people, listens to them.

 It is ironic that both in the primary and the general elections Mr. Lopez’s opponents tried at the end to attack Mr. Lopez through surrogate organizations, though both denied any knowledge of the ads.

  Mr. Urquhart was supported by the hard right PAC known as the 35th Conservative Citizens PAC, even though he had been involved in their fund-raising events, he went on the Bill Colley show and denied knowing who they were, along with Mr. Colley who had MC’d these events.

  In the general election Andy Staton (D) was supported by out-of-state pro-homosexual groups, no surprise since Mr. Staton is an openly gay man.

 In both cases Mr. Lopez stayed above responding to the attacks, instead choosing again to stick to the issues.

  In the primary Mr. Lopez defeated an opponant who many felt was the robo-candidate that could win anywhere. In the general election Mr. Lopez defeated an openly gay man in a district that has a large community of homosexual citizens, one who was also endorsed by the powerful Rep. Schwartskopf and also by the Governor, Jack Markell.

 First let me acknowledge that this does show that not all homosexuals are single issue voters and that, in that community, much in the same way within the conservative movement, there is a vocal minority of fringe voters that often cloud the real issues with their single-minded way of thinking.

 I believe that Ernie Lopez can be the future of the GOP in Delaware, not because we should try to replicate him as the robo-candidate for every race, but because we should learn from his example. That we should first seek candidates that fit the races they are entered into. The candidates should be focussed on the issues, and the voters should educate themselves about the issues and the candidates, and not rely on special interest groups who seek to involve themselves into every race in attempt to spread their myopic views.

  I believe that Ernie Lopez possesses the conservative views that will lead this state to new levels of success, while also possessing the integrity to be able to compromise with the opposition, without compromising those conservative values, to be able to move in that direction.

 My only regret is that I was otherwise involved during the 2012 election cycle and was unable to work directly with Mr. Lopez’s campaign, I am sure there was much to be learned. Great job Ernie, and to all that helped you. Thank you much.



Looking Back

November 18, 2012

  Last Monday we were encouraged by the Sussex County GOP to show up and “VENT” about the recent elections.

   I wrote about my concern that the GOP would focus only on the negative, which I felt the term vent inferred.

  I would like to say that for the most part the meeting of the Sussex County GOP was friendly and positive.

   I do believe that it is important to look back at all of the races, both the wins and the losses in an effort to learn from our mistakes and our triumphs.

  This will be just the first, in a possible series, of post taking a hard look at individual races. I am hoping to get the opinions of those who were involved in the races, as well as those of the people watching from the outside. I hope that we can have an honest discussion of what went wrong and what went right.

  We had a lot of high-profile races, from the race for the presidency, to the local race for the Delaware 19th senatorial district, which was won by a come from behind Brian Pettyjohn, we had the blood, sweat and tears of the hard-fought Ernie Lopez win over the heavily endorsed Democrat Staten.

  Of course we had the uphill battles for the state-wide offices, where we came up short with Jeff Cragg for governor, Kevin Wade for U.S. Senate and Tom Kovach for U.S. Congress. Tough losses in races that were long shots at best.

  So with so many possible races to look at,  it was a difficult choice for my first post on this topic. I wrote so much about the Pettyjohn race as it was happening I felt that I would wait to recap that one for later. That being said I thought I would focus on a Sussex race first, for as they say, “all politics are local”.

   So for my inaugural post on this topic I have chosen the most local of local races, the race for the third councilmatic district between incumbent Joan Deaver(D) and her challenger Don Ayotte (R).

  Of course being the incumbent there wasn’t much for Mrs. Deaver to do other than to run on her record. The life of an incumbent is made and failed on their record, it is the challenger that must set the tone for the race and it is the challenger that must prove the unproven, that they can do the job better than the person who is currently doing the job.

  For those who are not aware, Mr. Ayotte was unsuccessful in his challenge for the seat on the council. What we are looking at here, is why. I will offer my own insight, but I am really looking for the thoughts of others.

  I think Mr. Ayotte got off  on a bad foot in the primary against Brent Wangen when he chose to accuse Mr. Wangen of plagiarizing his campaign, Mr. Ayotte also chose to accuse Mr. Wangen of accepting donations from developers in an attempt to say that Mr. Wangen could be bought, even though Mr. Ayotte himself had received the maximum amount from a developer as well, one who had also donated to Mr. Wangen.

  In the general election against Mrs. Deaver, Mr. Ayotte seemed uninspired. He chose to pick only the low hanging fruit of issues. His total focus on how he would create jobs in Sussex was only what was expected and nothing new.

  For someone who had accused another candidate of plagiarizing a campaign, Mr. Ayotte seemed to borrow liberally from the stock issues. He showed no depth of knowledge, even on these tried and true bumper sticker issues and was often at a loss for answers during interviews. It would seem to anyone paying attention that Mr. Ayotte had not done much homework before deciding to run for this office. Like many candidates he seems to have not thought about what he would do, if he were actually elected.

  On style points Mr. Ayotte is not a comfortable public speaker, often stumbling over his answers, when he actually had one. He has a tendency towards anger when cornered and comes across as being unwilling to compromise in any way contrary to his own preconceived ideas.

  However, beyond the optics and the delivery, I feel that the problem that the Republican candidate had in this race was a shallowness on the issues. There seemed to be nothing beyond the bumper sticker rhetoric, no new ideas, nothing to convince the voters that he had what it would take to actually do what he was promising. If we are to win races then we must find candidates that first of all fit the districts they are running for, but also we must have candidates that can articulate solutions, not just point out the problems.

  The Republican party has moved beyond the point where we can simply attempt to out cliché the Democrats, we must offer real solutions to real problems.

Veterans Day

November 11, 2012

 Though Venterans Day has been overshadowed by Memorial Day and is not celebrated to the same extent, I would encourage all citizens to take a moment today to stop and quietly reflect on the sacrifices of those members of our great nation who sacrificed time with their families, and sometimes their very lives to protect us and keep our nation safe and free.

 If it is your way then offer a prayer for the fallen and those left behind, and also a prayer for those still in harm’s way and the ones at home waiting for them.

  If it is not your way then simply reflect on the debt owed to those who have put on a uniform and stood a watch.

  May God bless and keep all of our brave veterans who are still with us and cradle those who have passed on.

  God Bless the United States of America !

Did I Miss Something?

November 9, 2012

  I purposefully waited before posting about the recent elections. I was afraid that if I wrote too soon, anything I said in my excitement over the outcome would sound like gloating.

  I wanted to be able to give due credit to those who deserved it, for the hard-fought races and the wins, and to recognize the efforts of those who were unsuccessful without demeaning those efforts.

  I went to my first Returns Day ever yesterday, this is a two-hundred year old tradition here in Sussex, where the winners and losers come together to “bury the hatchet”, and to show that even though one party won and one party lost, that they recognize that to be able to govern effectively for the people, that they will have to work together in the coming days, months, and years.

  So after experiencing this tradition first hand, I was finally in the right state of mind to write about the elections.

  That was until I opened my email from the Sussex GOP Executive Committee announcing the next monthly meeting on Nov. 12th.








  This was the entire email, nothing added and nothing deleted.

  Did I miss something?

  I understand that on the state level, and the national offices, the Delaware GOP again fell short, but that is really no surprise. We have a lot of work to do in this regard.

  But I am troubled when the “leadership” of the Sussex GOP sends out an email that says, “COME AND VENT!”.

  This from the “leadership” of the one county in the state that had huge success in electing and re-electing Republicans.

 Exactly what are we suppose to vent about?

 Maybe we should vent about re-electing incumbents like Ruth Briggs-King, Danny Short, Dave Wilson, Gary Simpson, or maybe we should be venting about Gerald Hocker moving successfully from the House to the Senate, or about Mr. Gray taking his place in the House. We even held all of our County Council seats that were challenged from without and within.

  Maybe we should be venting about electing the young guns of Sussex, possibly the hardest working candidate Ernie Lopez, who defeated an openly gay man in the Rehoboth area, one who was endorsed by both Gov. Markell and Rep. Schwartzkopf, the unexpected Steve Smyk, who was attacked by outside agitators, or the lightning in a bottle Brian Pettyjohn, who stepped up and threw himself into a whirlwind full of hornets.

  Or maybe we are expected to vent about the unsung hero of the entire election cycle, Rich Collins, yes he lost, but by a margin so small that John Atkins may not get a good night’s sleep from now until the next election.

  I am truly troubled that the email sent by the Sussex GOP “leadership” announcing the first meeting following an election, that should be regarded as a real success for Sussex County, has the statement of,”COME AND VENT!”.

  Instead of a positive message such as, “come out and share our successes”, or “come out and cheer our winners”, but no, we are encouraged to,,”COME AND VENT!”.

  Granted, the second part of the message seems a bit more positive, “THIS IS A CHANCE TO EXCHANGE VIEWS AND IDEAS

  That’s the easy part, look to the campaigns that were successful and realize it is about hard work, and finding the candidate that fits the race. Not about sitting in a room and venting.

    This is not a positive message in my opinion, it is a message from a faction within the party that see the wins we achieved, as losses for their narrow political views.




Cangratulations !

November 7, 2012

 I just want to congratulate all of the winners, in all of the races.  I will be putting up a more in-depth post later, but right now I am operating on about eight hours of sleep in the last forty-eight hours.

  I will just say that between the local wins and the state and national losses, it is a bitter-sweet day, but we are Americans and we will get up go to work, we will see our mistakes and attempt to correct them, because after all, we are still the greatest nation, with the freest system of governance in the world.

 God Bless us all and the United States of America !