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 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, 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, 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.)

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