Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Questions for Karen Hartley Nagle--08/26/2008

Karen is running in the primary for US Congress. In this race, I have endorsed Jerry Northington, one of her two opponents.
Today I shared the following with a friend, who plans to listen to Karen on WILM this morning:

Three questions for Karen

If so far this year (in the most recent financial filings) you have raised less than $3,100 in individual contributions, how do you expect to beat Mike Castle who during the same time raised over a half million dollars?

With negative $700 in the bank, how can you compete with Castle, who has over $1.5 million—that is positive $1.5 million? These figures come from http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.php?id=DE01&cycle=2008

If you are indeed committed to getting Republican Mike Castle out of office, then after losing to Dennis Spivack in the Democratic primary in 2006, 40% to 60%, why did you run as a candidate of the Independent Party of Delaware, and divert 2% of the general election vote, which would otherwise have been available to weaken Castle?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Progressive Update--08/25/2008--Obama & DE Update

Seven Weeks (and a day) To Go to the November Election
Obama Update 1—I am hosting an Obama Acceptance Speech Watching Party this Thursday at 9pm. For more information, and to RSVP, go to http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gpl9sc
Obama Update 2—I am leading or co-leading the effort within Delaware to help Obama win in Pennsylvania—cross-border work (generally door knocking, but perhaps also phone banking). UD student Paul Ruiz and high schooler Tim McBride are organizing youth for Obama (email paulruiz87@gmail.com if you know of a student who may be interested in helping). We need lots of people who can drive (themselves and others, including youth) to PA, likely Chester County, every weekend in September and October (and the first weekend in November). I expect to have more information on this next week.
Obama Update 3—I have signed up at my.barackobama.com. In the ‘neighbor to neighbor’ (NTN) section on the left, I can click on Delaware NTN, and be presented with 50 phone calls that will help the campaign. At this point, it is generally verifying names and addresses, but shortly will be getting folks to help at events throughout the state. The provide the script, and you can do it all online, perhaps on your lunch hour.
Delaware Primary Election—September 9th.
Governor—I strongly prefer Jack Markell (http://www.markell.org/) over John Carney. Jack has brought fresh ideas and delivered in his 6 years as treasurer. I feel that Carney has been a party insider for too long, and is too beholden to the ‘good ole boys’. I agree with state senator Karen Peterson that he has failed to distance himself from current Governor Ruth Ann Minner, whose failures include healthcare in state prisons and the DE Psychiatric Center’s mismanagement. If you agree with me that the state Democratic Party has failed Democrats throughout the state in the past, and needs fresh leadership, vote for Jack Markell on the 9th.
US Congress--I am hopeful that, with Biden on the ticket, Delaware will have a chance to kick Mike Castle out of Congress. My pick for Democratic challenger is Jerry Northington (http://www.northington08.com/). My second pick is Karen Hartley Nagle. Micheal Miller is a very distant third.
State Senate—I like Michael Katz in district 4 (http://katz4senate.com/), who is running against fellow Democrat (but for less than a year) Dee Durham. I have not endorsed either candidate in district 6 (Michael Terranova and John Mackenzie)—I like both candidates.
New Castle County—I like Chris Coons much more than Tom Gordon for county executive. I am wimping out and not endorsing either candidate for county council president (Paul Clark and Bill Dunn)—both candidates have their strengths and weaknesses. I prefer Tom Scherer in council district 12, a fresh challenger to incumbent Bill Bell, who can use your help.
What can you do. First, determine which candidates you like. Next, contribute. This can be time, talent, and treasure. Most have websites (,http://elections.delaware.gov/filed.shtml), all have phones. Ask how you can help them. It could be making phone calls, it could be door knocking, it could be showing up at events, it could be writing a check, it could be putting a sign in your yard. Everything helps.
Paul S Baumbach

Monday, August 18, 2008

Progressive Update--08/18/2008--Obama Update & Delaware Primary Forum

Obama News—Delaware (finally) has a state director of the campaign, Marla Blunt (marlablunt@yahoo.com), who is initially working out of DelDems HQ off Basin Road. Please email her or Rob Carver (rcarver@pfracp.org) if you would like to volunteer.
Paul Ruiz (paulruiz87@gmail.com) is the ‘State Director for Delaware Students for Barack Obama' (both college and high school, where Tim McBride is helping). Paul has a very impressive gameplan, including canvassing trips into PA every weekend, starting 9/6/08. For now, I suggest that you work through him if you are interested in door knocking in PA.
The national convention starts next week in Denver. http://www.demconvention.com/typical-day has a mini-schedule. Expect the VP to be named this week, and look for a great speech by them next week, before the culmination, Barack Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday night before 75,000 Democrats.
Earlier this summer, Democrats across the country were asked to meet in neighborhood groups (including several in Delaware) and share their top concerns for the country. This feedback was incorporated into the Democratic Party’s Platform, “Renewing America’s Promise.” The full 94 pages can be found at http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/2008%20Democratic%20Platform%20by%20Cmte%2008-13-08%20(2).pdf Thanks are due to everyone who participated in this effort. The platform will be discussed, perhaps amended, and voted upon at next week’s national convention.
Delaware Primary Election—On September 9th, the state will determine which Democrats will face which Republicans in the November election. I have shared my thoughts on many of these races in past posts. It is time for you to make up your mind.
I chair the social justice committee of my church, www.uufn.org. We are hosting a Delaware State Primary Candidate Forum, this Saturday, from 8am to 3pm. There are seven primary races represented, with fourteen or more of the sixteen candidates agreeing to participate. Please find the current flyer at http://www.uufn.org/temp/ForumFlyerHours.pdf These forums need three factors to be successful—high participation by candidates, high participation by the audience, and good moderators. We have lined up WDEL’s Allan Loudell in the morning and WILM’s John Watson in the afternoon as the moderators. What we need is YOU. Please join us! Consider printing the flyer and posting it at work, and sharing it with your friends.
Paul S Baumbach

Monday, August 04, 2008

Progressive Update--08/04/2008--State Wide Offices

There are seven Democratic candidates for the three state-wide offices up for election this year—Jack Markell and John Carney for Governor, Matt Denn and Ted Blunt (who is withdrawing) for Lieutenant Governor, and Gene Reed, Karen Weldin-Stewart, and Tom Savage for Insurance Commissioner. I have met with all but one of them (John Carney), in my role as member of the Progressive Democrats of Delaware’s Endorsement Committee.

Governor—I endorse Jack Markell for this office. Both candidates are good individuals, with good experience and character. I find that the Markell/Carney comparison is similar to the Obama/Clinton comparison. Carney has been an insider to the state Democratic party for longer, and is less likely to ‘rock the boat’. Jack Markell, in contrast, is more likely to offer fresh ideas (he has produced a 70-plus page blueprint for his plan for Delaware, if elected). In January I endorsed Markell, based on his willingness to stand up to part insiders. He called the Democratic leadership in the legislature to stop state Senator Harris McDowell’s roadblock to offshore wind power, and he called the Democratic leadership in the legislature to open the General Assembly to the public, making it subject to FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act.

One of my top reasons for backing Barack Obama is his willingness to take on tough issues, and to make waves when they need to be made (calling for higher gas mileage requirements, for instance). Jack Markell shares this admirable trait. John Carney’s waffling on Eminent Domain convinces me that Jack Markell is the best choice for Governor. Please vote for Jack on September 9th.

Please note, that as with Hillary, should John Carney win the primary election, I will be pleased to back him against the Republican candidate. However, during the primary, I prefer ‘the change candidate’, Jack Markell.

The Progressive Democrats of Delaware has endorsed Jack Markell. The state and county Democratic Party has endorsed John Carney (not necessarily a positive in my book), and is spending their warchest for misleading radio ads promoting Carney as ‘the windpower candidate’, rather than spending it to win races against Republicans.

Lieutenant Governor—This is an easy call, as the 2nd Democratic candidate is withdrawing, leaving Matt Denn as the Democratic candidate in November. The reason that I spend time on this race is two-fold: I like Matt Denn and think that he will make a good Lieutenant Governor, and second, he will be facing Charlie Copeland, a northern Wilmington Republican state Senator, and heir to the DuPont fortune. Yes, this is the same Charlie Copeland who refused to let his fellow senators vote on SB141, the bill to make it illegal in Delaware to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. He said that it would be bad for business. That’s crap, and Copeland is stuck in a Ward Cleaver time-warp. The problem is that the Copeland campaign is very well-funded, and so Matt Denn needs your help. Go to www.mattdenn.com to contribute or volunteer.

Matt has been an outstanding Insurance Commissioner, breaking the mold set by the prior Republicans, and actually having the office work on behalf of citizens, rather than on behalf of the insurance companies. He will bring the same ‘dedication to the people’ to the office of Lieutenant Governor, with your help.

The Progressive Democrats of Delaware has endorsed Matt Denn.

Insurance Commissioner—This race is a pain. There are three very nice people running for the office. All have strengths, and all have weaknesses. I would like to take pieces of each to create a perfect candidate, but I can’t. I will therefore share the positive traits of each, and will remain on the fence. I expect to support whomever wins the primary, in their run against Republican John Brady in November.

Gene Reed has worked in the IC office for more than twenty years, including time in each department, and working under both Republican and Democratic ICs. He knows the office inside and out. He also has the best-organized campaign, with plenty of volunteers and money to get the word out. If money and experience in the department matter, Gene is the most likely candidate to win the September primary.

Tom Savage is a wonderful fellow. He is a retired firefighter, with twenty years’ experience as an unpaid lobbyist working in Dover for firefighters and police. He has a laser-focus on bringing single-payer medical coverage to Delaware. He has said that he would not run for re-election if he is unsuccessful in this initiative in his first term.

Karen Weldin-Stewart is similarly focused on improving healthcare for Delawareans. Her background is varied, and has focused on state oversight of failing insurance companies (think of the role that the court plays with bankrupt individuals and companies), maximizing the benefits that can be paid out to policyholders.

Again, all three want to serve as the next Insurance Commissioner. There are enough weaknesses in each that I am not comfortable endorsing any. I plan to back whichever candidate the Democratic voters (like you) choose on September 9th.

Delaware Liberal—I have been afflicted with a disease—I am becoming addicted to www.delawareliberal.net, a blog on (primarily) local Delaware political topics, (primarily) by liberals. It is rough and tumble and raw, but like listening to Howard Stern, can be habit-forming (so I hear). I suggest that you ‘stalk’, read but don’t post, for awhile. I was lambasted in my first post, as I did not understand that ‘Dr. McDowell’ was not the writer’s attempt to describe (barely) Democratic state Senator Harris McDowell, but rather universal healthcare advocate Dr. Floyd McDowell, one of the founders of IPOD, the Independent Party of Delaware.

Help in Deciding—I am chair of the Social Justice committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark (UUFN, www.uufn.org). We are hosting an all-day forum on Saturday August 23rd starting at 9am, with candidates for primary races (Democratic governor, Republican Governor, Democratic Insurance Commissioner, Democratic US Representative, Democratic state Senate District 6, County Council President). Don’t take my word on which candidate to support in the primary—come to the forum on 8/23/08 and meet the candidates yourself! (I’ve attached a preliminary flyer. Please consider posting it around town/county/state.)