WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Stiff winds buffeting Governor Markell as he hits the road for Town Hall meetings

The last few weeks have not been kind to Governor Markell

Yes, a few victories, such as saving the Port of Wilmington's Dole business and some other job creation, but the Governor has run into some stiff headwinds:


E. Norman Veasey, the independent prosecutor chosen by state Attorney General Beau Biden to explore campaign finance irregularities, is trying to find out if Governor Markell or anyone in his 2008 gubernatorial campaign coached donors into making illegal campaign contributions, or had any knowledge of those donations.

Until recently, Delaware's official unemployment rate was running beneath the national rate. No longer.

After studying data on the housing market, industrial production, and unemployment, Moody's Analytics declared Delaware the only state in the union still at risk of tumbling back into recession. Whether that analysis is correct or not, it tends to create a vicious circle for Delaware as the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) under Alan Levin tries to woo new businesses to Delaware.

You also have the lingering wounds from funding packages offered to Fisker Automotive and even Bloom Energy.

Given Delaware's less than stellar economic outlook, Governor Markell's overseas trade missions have also come under fire, particularly a recent trip to Israel which cost taxpayers about $62,000. The state ended up subsidizing the expenses for some business leaders after the Governor's office said they'd pay for it themselves. More glaringly, the Governor's press secretary Cathy Rossi accompanied the Governor on that trip at taxpayers' expense, along with her husband, part of Markell's security team.

(Some will say some or all of the above is the inevitable consequence of one-party dominated government in Delaware. Yet, while one can imagine a fierce struggle to be the Democratic nominee for governor - even another Dem primary as we saw in 2008 - it remains an open question whether the Republicans can produce a big-name candidate -- or even be competitive.)

So in this climate, the Governor had decided to hold three, Town Hall-type meetings up & down the state under the title, "Conversations with the Governor -- Moving Delaware Forward." Undoubtedly, the state's economic position will dominate, but it'll be interesting to see if any of these other subjects comes up.


Tuesday, September 17th, 7:00 P.M.: Delaware Tech - Dover campus -- Corporate Training Center -- Room 400

Thursday, October 3rd, 6:30 P.M.: Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes

Thursday, October 10th, 6:00 P.M.: Delcastle High School auditorium, Newport

Posted at 7:45am on September 16, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 16, 2013 9:11am
This might be the time where IF the Delaware G.O.P. were smart [and that's a big IF], the Delaware G.O.P. could find a MODERATE Republican candidate and run him/her for Governor in 2016. I believe many in the state are getting tired of these DEM solutions where WE the taxpayers pay, and get NO reults, and those who received the money don't pay it back. Bluewater Wind, Fisker, and Astra-Zeneca definitely come to mind. Also that Delmarva Power deal during Minner's time [another DEM governor] where she and her minions tried to lure other electric companies here [Golly, it failed in California before we tried it; what made them think tiny Delaware would do better if it wouldn't work in the nation's most populous state?]. Then when it did fail here, our electric rates nearly doubled in one fell swoop; plus other "great", get-rich-quick schemes where we the taxpayers have been taking it on the chin and the corporate big-shots get a pass, as do our Governor and Legislative folks, who never seem to have to pay for their mistakes. So the mistakes just keep on comin' and we just keep on sendin' them back to Dover to do it again. So who are the dummies here???

But the key for GOP success is a MODERATE Republican, NOT some TEA party/Christine O'Donnell type, but more like a Chris Christie, Russ Peterson, or Mike Castle-type Republican. I believe the G.O.P. could regain the Governorship IF the party plays its cards correctly and don't allow the extremists from down-state to control who the Del G.O.P. picks for a candidate. The Del G.O.P. might be able to start swinging things more their way in Delaware, IF they don't try to make this Texas or Alabama, but remember this is Delaware, a moderate blue state.

Mon, Sep 16, 2013 10:06am
I agree, Mike, that this is an ideal time for Republicans to make their move. But I fear a candidate will have to come from the outside, much like Russ Peterson. Unless someone should emerge during the 2014 election, we would be better off selecting someone from industry or education to make the run. Any candidate with strong ties to either the Tea Party or the moderate wing is doomed to failure.

I do not fault the governor for taking his press secretary (what an outdated term – news secretary is far more appropriate since there really isn’t a “press” anymore). I also understand the taxpayers picking up the tab for some business leaders. The governor needed them along for the trip to make sense. But I do oppose the trips in general, believing he would make better use of funds if he courted state-side business, much as Governor Rick Perry is doing. But Governor Markell is paving the way for his future, not the best future of the state.

Mon, Sep 16, 2013 10:18am
Both of your arguments boil down to the statement that Republicans need to run someone who is does not act like a Republican...


Republican philosophy and everything Republicans stand for is an abomination. The Tea Party - which both of you despise and recognize as the reason Delaware is now a one-party state - actually embodies Republican principles far better than any other Republican.

The Republican philosophy - and everything it stands for - is a loser. Other than that, Republicans are pretty decent people.

Mon, Sep 16, 2013 10:23am
As for Markell, I wish him luck, but his performance this past term since his staff was reshuffled makes me believe his inner circle is lacking in imagination, experience, and creativity. Without being cruel, this administration is winding down just like Happy Harry's did before it was sold.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 16, 2013 10:56am
Kavips: You said to run someone who doesn't act like a Republican; I disagree. I said someone who doesn't act like a TEA party person. The moderate wing of the G.O.P. [the Russ Peterson's, the Mike Castle's, and today's Chris Christie) were all Republicans, but not the ultra-right-wing types. There IS a difference.

JimH's point might be the ticket for a G.O.P. victory. Getting someone from industry to run. There was a time when the G.O.P. had hoped to have Alan Levin of Happy Harry's fame run for Governor. The DEL G.O.P. thought it knew better and nominated someone else [forget his name] and once again gave the Governor's house went to the DEMS.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Sep 16, 2013 11:26am
Keep in mind, Mike, Alan Levin saw the coming Democratic tidal wave and WITHDREW himself from consideration BEFORE he ever announced for Governor.

Retired Judge Bill Lee agreed to run when no one else of any stature would toss his/her hat into the ring, with Charlie Copeland running for Lieutenant Governor. This was NOT an instance of the Tea Party nominating one of its own.

Allan Loudell

Mon, Sep 16, 2013 12:14pm
Glen Urquhart maybe?

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 16, 2013 3:07pm
Thanks for the updated info, Allan.

I didn't realize, or more likely, have forgotten, Levin had dropped out.

IF I remember correctly, the first time Judge Lee ran for Governor, the G.O.P. didn't pick him [the election before - 2004], and they should have. Judge Lee was well-liked, because he was the judge who was the judge for the Tom Capano case.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 16, 2013 3:16pm
EarlGrey: Glenn Urquhart seemed like a decent guy, but I seem to remember a film clip of him circulating around during whatever election that was [on You Tube??], with him backing some point-of-view of the Nazi's [I'm sure Kavips and/or Billsmith will remember that to which I'm referring.]

That sort of stupid statement [even if taken out-of-context] might have the political impact of Mitt Romney's 47% remark... probably making it much more difficult for Glenn to win a statewide election as the DEMS would have a field day with such a comment. As I remember, it seemed pretty damaging, when I heard the comment, and I was shocked he said it and disappointed that he had such a belief.

Sorry, I just don't remember what it was he said. But THAT issue would need to truly be explained in a very open way, which might not be possible. So if I were the G.O.P., I might want to avoid Mr. Urquhart as my candidate.

Mon, Sep 16, 2013 8:20pm
So what does Markell care about "stiff winds"? He's in his second term and can't run for a third, so what does he have to lose unless he plans to challenge Carney or Coons in the next Democratic primary?

Tue, Sep 17, 2013 4:15am
Urquhart has run too many times and lost; would not be a good candidate.

It is too soon to tell. The best option is for a new party to open and steal the real conservatives. That would put Republicans again in the center. From that point they could steal conservatives not happy with the hard conservative line, and steal Democrats not happy with the hard progressive line.... All three parties would equal out based on the voting numbers and would have to work together. The Dems and Republicans would go along on business interests, and the Teas and Republicans would go along on social issues....

You would have a conservative leaning state rather quickly if we added a conservative party. As for anyone person having enough charisma to unite the two groups of Republicans, forget about it. Can't be done.

Tue, Sep 17, 2013 4:20am
Tying a loose thread above. Mike: you said the Republicans should run a Peterson, Castle, or Chris Christie type. Problem is.. they did. He (Castle) didn't have the votes to win in a primary. Those who voted O'Donnell are still anti Moderate Republicans. You should hear them call everyone a RINO, still.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Sep 17, 2013 8:40am
Kavips: One detail you've forgotten. During that election campaign, the mouthpiece for the ultra-right-wing side of the G.O.P. on the radio nationally [elRushbo] had encouraged his minions to change their registrations from G.O.P. to DEM so they could vote in DEM primaries to mess them up. As I recall it was called Operation Chaos.

Why O'Donnell won the nomination is that [I believe Allan reported this way back then in an interview during his midday newsblock] that many of these G.O.P. folks in Delaware ended up shooting themselves in the foot, because as it turned out, the real primary of importance for Delaware was the Castle/O'Donnell primary battle. Those G.O.P. folks couldn't vote in THEIR primary and that left the decision to the hard-liners downstate who preferred the far more conservative O'Donnell to the moderate Castle. The dye was cast and Delaware lost a good, worthy person in Congress to serve Delaware, who voted with his party about 75-80% of the time vs. Chris Coons who votes with the DEMS 100% of the time.

I'm sure Allan can shed more light on this, and correct any misstatements I've made. I'm hoping I've remembered this correctly, but that was what I remember hearing on WDEL with Allan as to why Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell won that primary.

So I believe that yes a moderate Republican like Castle, Russ Peterson, or a Chris Christie could win the Governor's Mansion in Dover.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Sep 17, 2013 10:47am

The northern Delaware Republicans seeking to re-register as Democrats had different intentions.

For the most part, they weren't trying to create chaos within the Democratic Party, statewide or nationally. They just saw the real action in the Democratic Party, and wanted to vote for candidates they regarded as more appealing: Perhaps someone on the Democratic Presidential ballot but ESPECIALLY to vote for Jack Markell over John Carney in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Remember: Markell came out of Newark High School, had gone to the highly regarded University of Chicago, and came from a business pedigree. Markell assembled a coalition of youthful liberals/progressives and Brandywine Hundred / Chateau Country Dems & (former) Republicans against the Democratic-establishment, labor-backed, Carney.

So these now former Republicans voted for Markell with real enthusiasm, and intended to vote for him again in November. It wasn't the Rushbo-inspired chaos.

Problem: Many of these folks never got around to re-register as Republicans (if that was their intention) in time to vote in the Castle/O'Donnell Congressional primary. Doubtless - just like Castle's OWN people - they had no idea that O'Donnell would become such a potent force, aided by the remaining downstate, staunchly conservative Republicans and out-of-state money. By the time it became apparent that O'Donnell could topple Castle (and to some people, that was never apparent, even days before the election), it was too late to switch party affiliations.

If Delaware had an open primary system - or allowed people to switch party affiliations up to primary election day - then perhaps Castle's forces could have mounted a last-ditch effort to re-register these people. But it was too late!

Actually it was REVERSE Rushbo chaos: The exodus of northern New Castle County Republicans from the Delaware G.O.P. had the obvious effect of swinging the Delaware Republican Party further to the right, and, of course, that would play into the hands of the ideological purists like Rushbo. Indeed, it was the Delaware G.O.P. that was at the receiving end of the chaos, as staunch downstate conservatives went to war with upstate, culturally less hardline G.O.P. leadership from New Castle County.

Allan Loudell

Tue, Sep 17, 2013 12:36pm
So I believe that yes a moderate Republican like Castle, Russ Peterson, or a Chris Christie could win the Governor's Mansion in Dover."

Mike: I agree with you on the type of Republican that can win in the blue state of Delaware...the two lower counties will not like the moderate, but they also don't have the numbers to run (and win) with a Tea Partier.

BUT, I don't think a moderate like Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, McCain, Dole or any other will beat Hillary in 2016.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Sep 17, 2013 1:26pm
Allan: Thank you for the rest of the story and the clarifications.

That explains quite well what happened and how we could end up with Christine O'Donnell as our Senatorial candidate. That was a lot more complicated than I had imagined.

EarlGrey: I'm not sure a right-winger would beat Hillary either. I must admit, I do like Rick Perry, but am not sure he could win. He surely wouldn't get Delaware's 3 electoral votes in 2016, as the First State will be "Hillary Country" if she's the candidate for the DEMS.

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 11:12pm
I see Allan answered Mike's question. I agree with that assessment. However, it was not a lot of people who switched. Maybe around 200? Would just add that as early as January that 2010 election year, one of Delaware's pundits who has an amazing accurate track-record predicted O'Donnell would win the primary and Chris Coons would win the General.. it was predicted in January. They got teased a lot until after the primary election... But they nailed it.

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