Primary Day

For those who don’t know, I always work as poll worker for the Department of Elections on Election Days, running voting for the 1st of the 13th, roughly covering the area around Oak Hill and Willow Run in Elsmere.

Quote of the Day from an election worker:

“Paul, did you get called a geek a lot when you were a kid?”
(Response: “Are you kidding? I still get called a geek.”)

From a voter:

To her young daughter as they were entering the booth: “If you touch anything, I’m leaving you here!”
(The election worker who heard that had to run across the room to keep from laughing out loud.)

As far as the results go:

I was surprised by the Markell victory. I figured the union support and strong ground organization that Carney seemed to have (at least I saw it in the City) would carry the day. It’s also a shame for Bill Lee, as I thought Carney would be the weaker opponent in November for him. An interesting item: Apparently a lot of Republicans switched their registration in order to vote for Markell. Including some people you’ve heard of. Those stories in the News-Journal about the massive gains in Democratic registration may have been less a sign of Democrat strength and more a sign of Markell’s strength.

The first signs I had that Carney might be in trouble was at my polling place where Markell had a challenger and greeters present while Carney had neither, even though it’s a fairly blue-collar traditional district. (Hillary carried it in February, despite her loss in the state.) I had expected Carney to carry my district fairly easily given that profile, but it was actually a dead tie at the polling place. The unofficial results show that Carney carried the district once absentee ballots, which are counted at the Department of Election’s county office, were included in the total, but the narrowness of that victory showed greater Markell strength than I expected.

Other than that, the elections seemed to turn out the way I would have hoped, at least in the races I care about:

Republican 4th Senate: I was glad to see John Clatworthy win. He’s a good guy with the right values. It was rough to see him running against Mike Fleming, who that description also fits. I just have a better relationship with John, so I was pulling for him. Hopefully, Mike will find an opportunity to seek another office in the near future.

Democrat County Executive: Glad to see Gordon go down. We did not need him back in office.

Democrat County Council President: I was disappointed to see Clark win again. Too many ethical clouds around him.

Mayor of Wilmington: I was glad to see Baker win. He’s earned another term. He needs to focus on crime this term; that’s been the weakest part of his performance. It’ll also be interesting to see what he does knowing he’ll never have to face the voters again. If you thought he was blind to public opinion before, you probably haven’t seen anything yet!

City Council President: The best choice won.

8th District City Council: I was glad to see Martelli pull this off. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him from all types of people. And Hay clearly wasn’t a fit for the district, either in his background or temperament.

The best news though: this will all be over in two months, as long as the Democrats don’t drag a lot of elections into the courts because they don’t like the results again.


As probably everybody knows now, Obama picked Senator Biden as his running mate. As a Delawarean, I’m excited by the pick. It’s not often Delaware makes the news in a positive manner. It just remains to be seen if Biden’s propensity to put his foot in his mouth can be overcome now that he’s got the largest stage of his career.

It still seems wrong to me, at a gut level, that there could be a Vice-President from Delaware. We’ve never had someone in that high a position before. And it seems even more wrong that if there’s a Vice-President Biden, we’ll likely have a Senator Beau Biden. Ugh.

Novak: Biden for VP? for VP?::By Robert D. Novak

Before multimillionaire Democratic power broker James A. Johnson quit as Sen. Barack Obama’s chief vice presidential screener, the name that came to the fore in his internal discussions was 65-year-old, six-term Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware.

Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, made a good impression in his losing bid for the presidential nomination this year. The downside on him is that he talks too much. But he provides expertise and experience in national security that Obama lacks and, as a Catholic, adds cultural diversity to the ticket.

A footnote: Presidential supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton who are possibilities for vice president include Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. The leading Clintonite for vice president, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, has definitively ruled himself out.

I’m not sure that Biden is the best fit for Obama. He’s not from a terribly big state, and his tendency to run his mouth could get Obama in trouble. Given the competition that can develop between a presidential candidate and his running mate, Obama may get upset if he’s not the only verbal gaffe machine on the ticket.

Novak mentions Ed Rendell, who I think would be the best match for Obama. He’s from a big state that could swing the GOP’s way, brings executive experience and comes off as a regular guy people can relate to. The downside is that unions may still hate him from his time as Philly mayor. But I think he’s the strongest candidate overall.

Live-Blogging the GOP State Convention

I’m here at the Republican State Convention with a weak signal, so I may have stop at some point, but we’re about to begin the nominating and endorsement process.

We gathered here in regional caucuses at 7:30 to elect representatives to the various convention committees and to give candidates a chance to speak to us and make their pitch for our support. I was selected to be one the Wilmington region’s representatives on the Resolutions committee. So a few minutes after the start of the convention, I left to attend the meeting of the resolutions committee, where we passed two resolutions: one remembering those Republicans who have died since the last state convention and another one honoring the memory of former Republican national committeeman W. Laird Stabler, Jr. For obvious reasons, I don’t know what the convention as whole did during that time.

A video message from John McCain was played urging us to unite behind his candidacy to keep the White House in Republican hands.

Delegates to the national convention were elected as were electors who will cast Delaware’s electoral votes if McCain carries Delaware.

A video message was played from Newt Gingrich urging us to support some platform an organization of his developed. He’s clearly laying the groundwork for a run for the Presidency in the future.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh gave the keynote address in support of John McCain’s candidacy, including a story about how McCain worked to try to peacefully resolve a standoff with a Montana militia under the condition that his involvement not be publicized. The more I learn about McCain, the more I respect him.

Currently, State Senator Gary Simpson is giving an address placing Mike Castle’s name in nomination for the convention endorsement. As I’ve often felt at past conventions, why do we need to go through the whole rigmarole for Castle? We know he’s running, we know he’ll be endorsed. I think Castle would get the delegates more enthused if he just bypassed it all and saved us some time rather than going through multiple speeches and a rally. State Representative Debbie Hudson just began her seconding address. A nomination speech, plus two seconding speeches, plus a rally, plus an acceptance speech is a bit much for an endorsement that’s not in doubt.

In terms of other bloggers, I’ve seen, but not had the chance to speak to, Dave Burris and David Anderson. Elbert of That’s Elbert with an “E” had told me he would be stopping by, but I haven’t seen him. And Tyler Nixon just shook my hand as I was typing the prior paragraph.

Updates as news warrants. I will likely be leaving early as I have a mid afternoon commitment in Wilmington.

UPDATE (10:12): In an upset, Castle was endorsed unanimously. While bouncing beach balls around during the rally, a chandelier was broken.

UPDATE (10:31): Castle spoke for almost 20 minutes. Michele Rollins was just introduced in her position as head of Winning Women here in Delaware and is speaking about Mike Castle some more. We didn’t hear enough about him already? She’s now switched to talking about picking good candidates and referred to “President McCain” in the present tense.

UPDATE (10:34): Nominations for Senate are beginning. John Davis, chairman of Kent County is placing the name of Tim Smith (I think) into nomination.

UPDATE (10:36): Oops. Davis zigged when I thought he would zag. He’s actually nomination Christine O’Donnell. He gave a long introduction without naming the name of his candidate and I guessed wrong.

UPDATE (10:41): I was going to make a comment about the rude people talking during Vance Phillip’s seconding speech for O’Donnell, but it seems to be O’Donnell’s people themselves doing it. Phillips made a comment: “I love both Christine O’Donnel and Tim Smith. How’s that for a politician?” I’m supporting O’Donnel, but Smith made an impressive talk to our Wilmington caucus this morning.

UPDATE (11:10): Turns out that a neighbor of mine is also a delegate from Wilmington. So I’m not the only Republican on my block. And she tells me that some of the guys across the street who I haven’t gotten to know yet are also Republicans.

UPDATE (11:15): Christine O’Donnell won the endorsement with 60.7% of the vote just over the 60% requirement. Smith has promised to drop out and support the endorsed candidate.

UPDATE (11:21): Liane Sorenson, while nominating John Brady for Insurance Commissioner said he graduated from “Sallies” I hate that. The name is Salesianum.

UPDATE (11:40): Dave Graham, candidate for Governor, couldn’t find anyone willing to place his name in nomination. As one person behind me said, referring to the filing fee, “There’s $5,300 well spent.” Mike Protack’s scheduled nominator couldn’t be found, so David Anderson, a scheduled seconder had to step up and fill the void.

UPDATE (11:43): Forgot to mention: Brud Lee, Judge Lee’s son knew my website when he saw my name tag. I’m not used to people knowing my blog. That’s quite surprising.

UPDATE (11:44): Protack’s scheduled nominator is not giving the second seconding speech. Apparently his granddaughter texted him and he had to respond. Certainly forgivable.

UPDATE (11:47): It was just said that Mike Protack doesn’t give up. Isn’t that exactly why so many people are annoyed with him? It’s the top of the ticket or nothing for him?

UPDATE (12:26): Bill Lee got the endorsement with over 80% of the delegate vote. We were discussing at one point if Protack would take the hint if he got crushed by a candidate who wasn’t even present and had earlier promised not to run. We decided probably not. If the hint were to be taken, it would have been taken by now.

UPDATE (12:37): While we’re going through the process of nominating and seconding speeches for Charlie Copeland for the Lieutenant Governorship, I figured I’d give an update on some other issues going on here. Terry Strine, the current state chairman, had decided to run for National Committeeman would resign the office of state chairman upon officially becoming committeeman at the national convention. There was to be an election to select his replacement after the regularly scheduled convention today. Tom Ross, current City Republican Chairman, was the only candidate for the election. (I’ve known Tom for almost a decade now and he’s actually the reason I came to my first convention since 2001 in order to support him in his race.) In the past week, Laird Stabler, III, son of the long-time National Committeeman, announced his intention to run for the position so long held by his father. Last night, the State Committee elected Stabler by a margin of about 5 or 7 votes. (I forget which right now.) So, we’re still up in the air as to what is going to happen as to if there will be an election for State Committee Chairman or not. I asked Tom Ross just after the vote on the gubernatorial endorsement and he only said an announcement would be coming soon. The announcement made just before the start of the endorsement process for Lieutenant Governor was to hold on until an announcement was made. That’s likely an attempt to keep people from leaving, as is often the problem when the Convention is at the beach, as it is today. (One Convention I was at actually lost its quorum due to people leaving since there were no important offices left to issue endorsements for.) Updates on the state chairman’s election (or not) as events warrant.

UPDATE (1:05): Terry Strine did resign. In a rather emotional address, he announced that would resign this coming Friday. He stated that he’d be doing the same activities in a private capacity that he would be doing as National Committeeman: raising funds, building ties to the national party and conservative organizations in DC, etc. He’s already agreed to serve as co-chair of McCain’s Delaware organization, and will be working on Charlie Copeland’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor and John Clatworthy’s campaign for State Senate, and extended an offer of assistance to other campaigns. He took a lot of grief in his tenure as State Chairman but it needs to be remembered that it’s a thankless job, without pay and many long hours that he took on when no one else would. He’s done a lot for the party and he will continue to do so in the future.

UPDATE (1:13): Tom Ross is officially the next chairman of the Delaware Republican Party. As I said above, I’ve known Tom for a decade now, and he’s a hard worker, fair and honest person who will do what is right and necessary to help rebuild and strengthen the Republican Party in Delaware. In his brief but fiery acceptance speech, he showed he’s not afraid to take it to the Democrats and he will do so as State Chairman.

And with that done, we’re adjourned!

Another incentive for businesses to move to Delaware

New Jersey on the Chesapeake –

There was good news in Maryland last week, where the state legislature voted to repeal a widely loathed tax on computer services. Much less appealing is the way they did it: In place of the tech tax, legislators pushed through a late-night income tax rate surcharge on Marylanders making more than $1 million a year to 6.25% for three years.

Consumers and business groups had fought the tech tax that had many companies considering moving their offices over state lines. Republicans aimed to offset the computer tax repeal by slowing the rate of growth in state spending to 3.7% from the Governor’s planned 5.9%. But Democrats who dominate the legislature jammed through the income tax hike after defeating five attempts to repeal the tech tax without it.

The surcharge continues Maryland’s march up the ladder from a low- to high-tax state. Two years ago Maryland had a low flat tax rate of 4.75% on income of more than $3,000. Last year it made the code more progressive, raising the rate to 5% on single filers earning more than $150,000 and the top rate to 5.5% on those over $500,000. State pols also raised the corporate tax rate to 8.25% from 7%, and the sales tax to 6% from 5%.

As California and New Jersey have shown, a steeply progressive income tax makes state revenue highly dependent on relatively few earners. In good times, those earners do well and the pols spend the excess revenues. But in slowdowns, the state quickly finds itself in deficit, and, true to this form, Maryland’s pols now find themselves on the New Jersey ratchet to ever higher rates.

As state Senate Minority Whip Allan Kittleman pointed out, many of Maryland’s so-called millionaires are actually small businesses that pay taxes through their proprietor’s personal tax returns. With the state’s economy struggling, wise money would avoid cudgeling a sector that has grown to more than 440,000 small businesses statewide. They now have another incentive to move to Delaware.

The only thing that might save Delaware’s economy is that the Democrats in surrounding states understand economics even less than ours do.

Employers warn that minimum wage increase will reduce employment, Senator refuses to listen

Some employers fear minimum-wage hike | delawareonline | The News Journal

Dukart said his company, which employs about 700, has very few workers earning minimum wage, and those who do usually get a raise within a year. Nonetheless, the proposal would drive up his labor costs for those earning the minimum and put pressure on him to increase other wages.

“From a business standpoint, we’re getting hammered on every end,” Dukart said. “When your labor increases, so does your payroll tax and workers’ comp, and it just goes on and on and on.”

Saul Hoffman, chairman of the economics department at the University of Delaware, said most economists agree that minimum-wage hikes cause some employers to cut back on hiring, making it harder for some workers to find jobs.

“If employment is lower, somebody isn’t getting a job who would otherwise get a job,” Hoffman said. “We don’t see a layoff necessarily, but we just see a position not getting filled.”

Dukart said a business can never afford to have an incompetent employee, but in the good times a boss might have “more of a heart.”

“When times are pretty tough, you can’t afford to have a heart as much,” Dukart said.

Marshall rejected the argument that a minimum-wage hike would result in a loss in jobs, saying the evidence from previous increases shows that Delaware has not lost jobs.

What Marshall fails to understand is that we can’t see how many jobs went uncreated because of the previous increases. It’s this invisible, but real nonetheless, job loss that we should seek to avoid. And a job not created is an opportunity for someone lost, which reduces their work experience, which reduces their future income potential. The surest way to hurt the poor is to keep them from getting jobs.

Think of it this way: when gas prices go up, we try to use less gas. When electricity costs more, we make sure to turn the lights off when we leave the room. Is Senator Marshall denying the laws of economics don’t apply to jobs? That somehow employers are exempt from behavior we all practice in our daily lives? Raising the minimum wage is bad economics, bad logic and bad for the poor while appearing helpful. So naturally Democrats love it.