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.

Thomas Sowell: It should be earned, not given

Townhall.com::An Old Newness::By Thomas Sowell

Many years ago, a great hitter named Paul Waner was nearing the end of his long career. He entered a ballgame with 2,999 hits — one hit away from the landmark total of 3,000, which so many hitters want to reach, but which relatively few actually do reach.

Waner hit a ball that the fielder did not handle cleanly but the official scorer called it a hit, making it Waner’s 3,000th. Paul Waner then sent word to the official scorer that he did not want that questionable hit to be the one that put him over the top.

The official scorer reversed himself and called it an error. Later Paul Waner got a clean hit for number 3,000.

What reminded me of this is the great fervor that many seem to feel over the prospect of the first black President of the United States.

No doubt it is only a matter of time before there is a black president, just as it was only a matter of time before Paul Waner got his 3,000th hit. The issue is whether we want to reach that landmark so badly that we are willing to overlook how questionably that landmark is reached.

I’m a sucker for a good baseball analogy, especially when it works as it does here. We shouldn’t obsess ourselves with getting “the first black President” (or woman President for that matter); rather, we should focus ourselves on getting the best president we can at all times. Just like Paul Waner wanting to earn his 3000th hit, the first black President should be someone capable and qualified. Obama seems to fail on both accounts.

We had a similar situation in Wilmington last decade. Jim Sills was the first black mayor of Wilmington and that seemed to put him beyond reproach in many people’s eyes. Meanwhile, his administration was spending like crazy, destroying the tax base, handcuffing police among lots of other damage he did to Wilmington, that we’re still trying to fix and recover from. But he was untouchable in many eyes due to his status as “the first black mayor.”

Electing on identity politics alone, as Obama’s and Hillary’s supporters often seem to be pushing, can be very damaging if the wrong person is being elected due to their identity. Wilmington’s past shows that, and it’s lesson the entire nation shouldn’t be forced to learn.

Representative DiPinto’s New Job

Mayor Baker Appoints State Representative Joseph G. DiPinto as Director of the Wilmington Office of Economic Development
Retiring State Lawmaker and Former City Council Member Will Begin His New City Duties In August

Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker today announced the appointment of State Representative Joseph G. DiPinto as Director of the City’s Office of Economic Development. Mayor Baker said DiPinto, who has announced he will retire in November after serving Wilmington’s 4th Representative District for the past 19 years in the Delaware General Assembly, will begin his new duties with the City in August. Representative DiPinto is also a former Member of Wilmington City Council and a former scientist with the DuPont Company.

The City’s Office of Economic Development sits within the Mayor’s Office in City government and is responsible for guiding the Administration’s business and job development efforts and advising the Mayor on the expansion of the City’s business base.

“One of Wilmington’s most distinguished citizens and one of Delaware’s most honorable public servants will now have a primary role in our ongoing efforts to develop a new Wilmington from the old,” said Mayor Baker today. “I could not be more thrilled and appreciative that Joe has agreed to lead Wilmington’s economic development efforts and utilize his many years of skill, wisdom, and accomplishments directly to making Wilmington a more vibrant and productive City,” the Mayor continued. “This is a wonderful day for Wilmington and for everyone who is hopeful about the City’s future prosperity.”

“Jim Baker and I have been good friends for many years and were bi-partisan co-sponsors on City Council of some important legislation, such as waterfront zoning and development, establishing the Design Review Commission for neighborhood development, and establishing the Wilmington Arts Commission,” Representative DiPinto said today. “Mayor Baker knows that when I left City government in the late 1980’s for State service, it was because I thought I could best assist the City through a role in the General Assembly, and that assessment turned out to be correct,” DiPinto continued. “Now, with the recent resurgence in residential and business growth in the City, coupled with the annual financial support the City is receiving from the General Assembly and Governor, the City can begin to control its own destiny. I am honored and excited to return to City service and to work with the Mayor and Council to help guide the City’s future.”

Mayor Baker’s Chief of Staff William S. Montgomery worked with Representative DiPinto for many years in Montgomery’s former role as head of Legislative Council in Dover and initiated the recent discussions with the State Representative about returning to City service.

“Joe brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to one of the most important positions in City government,” said Montgomery. “He also brings his considerable skill at negotiation and consensus building which will serve the City well. We are extremely fortunate to have Joe join this Administration.”

Representative DiPinto will earn $92,841annually as Wilmington’s new Economic Development Director.
He replaces Richard V. Pryor who had served as Economic Development Director for Mayor Baker’s Administration until Pryor’s retirement in March of this year.

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This is a good thing. He’ll still be able to help the City of Wilmington which has been his passion for years.Wilmington just got a great public servant.

What does Joe DiPinto’s retirement mean?

There’s a couple of ramifications to the retirement of State Representative Joe DiPinto.

First, this gives the Democrats a chance to narrow the margin int he House of Representatives. While DiPinto was no right-winger, an increase in the size and influence of the Democratic House caucus can only push the General Assembly to the left.

Second, the General Assembly loses a leader who was knowledgeable about the issues and committed to doing right. I’ve never known anyone who actually knew him to say a bad thing about him. (Although some of the Loony left on the Delaware blogosphere have.) Far more common is to hear about how he’s always willing to help and knows everything. One elected official once remarked to me that no matter what issue Joe was approached, he knew about it and could give a history of it going back decades. That’s a big loss to the General Assembly.

Third, this could mean a rough road ahead for the City of Wilmington in getting more state funding and assistance. One prominent Democrat once told me “The only reason the City gets anything out of Dover is Joe DiPinto.” Without him and the trust people have in him, less money will be heading up to Wilmington. This is especially true if the Democrats pick up the seat. The Republicans aren’t likely to look kindly on a city that won’t elect a single Republican except when forced to. (The non-majority part at-large seat on City Council.) When you tack on that there’s a lot of resentment of Wilmington from the state as a whole, Joe’s loss will likely be felt in Wilmington’s wallet.

While DiPinto was never as conservative as I would have liked (who is, right?), I could always trust that he was doping what he believed to be right. That in itself will be a loss in the House. I’ve known him since I was about 4 years old and have had the pleasure of being his campaign treasurer since 1998. I’ve always known him to be a good, honest and dedicated politician, the model of what politicians should be: devoted to helping his constituents and the the entire state. We’d so well to have 62 people in the General Assembly like him, so it’s a shame we’re losing the original model.