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.