Say what you will about politicians, most work pretty hard

August 14, 2012

Ever wonder who puts up all those campaign signs that seem to spring up overnight like weeds?

(And by the way, I enjoy seeing campaign signs - at least until election day. It shows that Americans care about their democracy. Not everybody does.)

Sometimes it’s the candidates themselves. Last Monday, on a hot afternoon, I saw Glen Urquhart placing his own signs near the Wawa on southbound Route 1.

Urquhart’s opponent for the Sixth Senate District Republican nomination, Ernie Lopez, has also been busy. Last week he picked up support near and far.

Locally, Lopez was endorsed by two prominent businessmen, John Burris and Joseph Schell.

A former House majority leader and president of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, Burris is the personification of the state Republican establishment.

In his joint statement with Schell, Burris said, “We believe that what the General Assembly is missing today are men and women of vision, courage, initiative and good judgment. Ernie has these traits as well as strong leadership and discipline. We must support young leaders like this to make Delaware all it can be.”

The key word in that statement may be “young.” Republicans have been notoriously weak in developing statewide candidates and Lopez, 35, has potential. Whatever their strengths, this year’s Republican contenders are largely unknown to the electorate. They haven’t run for statewide office before.

(Could you name them? Here are the Republican statewide candidates and the offices they are seeking: Jeff Cragg, governor; Sher Valenzuela, lieutenant governor; Kevin Wade, U.S. senator; Thomas Kovach, U.S. representative; and Ben Mobley, insurance commissioner. The only one with real political experience is Kovach, who is New Castle County president.

Sad to say for the state GOP, but Alex Pires has attracted more attention running against U.S. Sen. Tom Carper as an independent. But then Pires, owner of Jimmy’s Grille, served pretty good food at his announcements. Nationally, Lopez picked up the endorsement of Project Restore America, which produced a commercial for Lopez. Project Restore America was founded by Paul Welday, a former U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp aide.

The commercial - professional, but not overly slick - shows Lopez on beach, first by himself and then with his family.

Identifying him as a Sunday school teacher and an educator, the ad says Lopez wants to put people back to work by reducing regulations on business and cutting the gross receipts tax, “Delaware’s hidden sales tax.”

Campaign notes ...

Another candidate working hard for votes is Marie Mayor, who is running to be the Democratic nominee for the 20th District seat against Lynn Rogers and Thomas D. Jones Sr., both of Milton. (The district includes Lewes, Harbeson and Milton.)

Mayor said she’s introducing herself through the mail, door-to-door and by phone.

“Between yesterday and today,” she said, “I made one hundred phone calls.”

That’s her personally. She also has people making calls on her behalf.

The biggest concern she hears? “It’s the uncertainty in the economy,” she said. In many cases, she said, the people she talks to are concerned not so much about themselves, but about their children.

Lise Haupt, Sussex County coordinator for Obama for America, said Democrats will hold a street fair for all of Sussex County Saturday, Sept. 15 in Georgetown. She expects a speaker from the national campaign. More to be announced .

John Brady introduced himself in a big way to voters at a recent Democratic meet and greet. For reasons of truth-in-advertising and full disclosure, he said, “I advertise as the ‘Big Guy.’ I really think I’m the biggest candidate in my race.”

I’ve never seen a candidate make that pitch.

Delaware, unfortunately, doesn’t require its candidates to weigh in before entering the political ring, but my guess is he’s right: If you prefer voting for your politicians by the pound, then “Big Guy” John is your man.

More seriously, he vowed, if elected, to balance the budget of the Sussex County Clerk of the Peace office. The current clerk of the peace has gotten it close, he said, “but it’s still off.”

He said he can close the gap by refusing to be reimbursed for mileage. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be a public servant in this county,” he said.

And you’ll know it’s him driving around in his white Takoma. It says “Big Guy” right on the license plate.

Brady is running against Republican Brooks Witzke of Laurel and Libertarian David Eisenhour of Lewes.

  • A number of accomplished writers will be appearing in the Politics column every Tuesday on a rotating basis to explore the dynamic world of politics at the local, county, state, national and world levels.

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