Prescient picks

You likely remember I pulled out my crystal ball and took a somewhat educated guess at how the Delaware primary elections would turn out. If we were doing the old (ladies and) gentlemen’s bet at the WCRCC, I might have vacuumed my fellows’ wallets once again – I even got the order of the GOP governor’s race correct. But there’s more analysis to come.

I’ll begin with the bonus:

My first bonus prediction: at least two sitting Democrat members of the Delaware General Assembly lose in the primary. I can’t tell you just who but I suspect at least one will be a veteran member who loses to a more “progressive” Democrat.

“Fearless Forecasts,” September 14, 2020.

Good thing I said “at least” because it turned out that four lost: Senator David McBride of District 13 and Representatives Ray Siegfried of District 7, John Viola of District 26, and Earl Jacques of District 27 all fell by the primary wayside – and only Viola’s was close as he lost by 43 votes. McBride went down by about 5 points, while the other two cratered to double-digit defeats.

I don’t expect (U.S. Senator Chris Coons, Governor John Carney, or Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro) to lose in the primary to Jessica Scarane, David Lamar Williams, Jr., or Kayode Abegunde, respectively… But watch the margins: anything less than a 50-point win by the incumbents would indicate their support is soft.

“Fearless Forecasts,” September 14, 2020.

Arguably, Coons is within the margin of error of being “soft” since he only won by a 73-27 margin. He could see some percentage of Democrats stay home on Election Day as well as an erosion of Big Labor support as his GOP opponent wages her populist campaign – more on that in a bit. It’s also interesting that his percentage among walk-ups was 13 points lower than from mail-ins.

Even more soft support goes toward Trinidad Navarro, who only won his primary 64-36. Then again, he wasn’t first in alphabetical order and Insurance Commissioner is a race few pay strict attention to. Interesting to me is the fact Kayode Abegunde was somewhat competitive downstate, which suggests it’s a winnable race for a Republican who draws moderate Democrat votes. And in this case, there was only a six-point spread between in-person and mail-in.

On the other hand, Democrats seem to be foursquare for John Carney since he won by a lopsided 85-15 margin. It’s going to be the battle of the nanny state full of Karens taking on the freedom-loving people of the South in Slower Lower Delaware. (Like Coons, though, take note that the margin was quite a bit closer from in-person votes than mail-in – 11 points, to be exact.)

However, with the exception of the U.S. House, it’s possible (and perhaps the most likely outcome) that we could have an all-female GOP contingent come November.

“Fearless Forecasts,” September 14, 2020.

Turned out it was the outcome. We have a Democrat party with three white guys, a white woman, and a black woman taking on four queens (in a playing card sense.) Alas, Lee Murphy isn’t Jack Murphy because that would be a natural. Thanks to the primary we have more women remaining for November than men, so I want to hear no more whining about how women are underrepresented.

I’ll begin with the GOP House race… Two years ago Murphy lost in stunning fashion to the tree-killing campaign of one R. Scott Walker, but I think this time Lee gets the brass ring. It feels like a 60-40 type race to me, so I’ll figure Murphy 61, Morris 39. I would not be surprised, however, to see this be a 10-15% undervote compared to the governor’s race.

“Fearless Forecasts,” September 14, 2020.

I was well off on this one in that Murphy wasn’t as uninspiring as I believed. Not only did he outperform my guess by a full 13 points (winning in a crushing 74-26 rout) but his race’s undervote was only about 6% compared to the governor’s race.

Another two-person race is the U.S. Senate race, which pits Lauren Witzke against James DeMartino… This is going to be a test to see just how effective a party endorsement can be. I suspect it’s going to be enough for DeMartino to make it a close race but I think Lauren will win in the end by a 52-48 margin. Witzke may have to win this race without much more than token support from her party – there may be a “Republicans for Coons” group out there if she wins because she ties so closely with Donald Trump and surely Delaware has some percentage of #NeverTrump rear guard people out there.

“Fearless Forecasts,” September 14, 2020.

At one point in the count I thought DeMartino was going to pull the upset. It’s very interesting the disparity between mail-in votes and ballots cast in person in this race. If you looked at the absentee results, DeMartino was comfortably ahead as he got 59% of those cards, so early on it was a race he was leading. Unfortunately for him, the majority of Republicans voted in person and Lauren received nearly 62% of the in-person vote. (I don’t know how much in-person campaigning he did on Election Day but I guess Lauren was all over and it paid off.)

It turned out I was about five points off as Witzke won 57-43. As for the remaining prediction, I’m already seeing the media angle as the Christine O’Donnell theme was prevalent in the coverage as was commentary about Qanon, which obviously is going to become an issue in this race. The slant is in: Witzke is the “controversial” candidate with views out of the mainstream while Coons is the moderate, bipartisan voice of reason – never mind his campaign has been crying “orange man bad” on a daily basis.

And last but not least, the big one:

But I think the turnout for this election will be much better than the usual 15-20 percent… This race has a ton of interest so I believe we may get 50,000 total votes and I don’t see Walker receiving more than about 6-8,000 of them.

If Walker indeed comes to that estimate, he will easily pass two of his competitors – David Graham, who I see at about 5% of the vote, and David Bosco, who seems to be two to three points higher than that. Those kind of numbers may be enough to vault Walker to third place past Bryant Richardson.

All this leaves about 60% of the vote to be split somehow between Julianne Murray and Colin Bonini. Colin got 21,150 votes in his 2016 primary and if he does it again he wins going away…

I know Bonini is hitting the direct mail hard but there’s probably a good percentage of voters who mailed in ballots. Moreover, there’s perhaps the thought that a rematch of a 2016 race where the GOP got smacked by 20 points up and down the line isn’t appealing to these victory-starved voters. So this is how I see the gubernatorial primary coming out: Murray 30, Bonini 28, Richardson 15, Walker 14, Bosco 8, Graham 5.

“Fearless Forecasts,” September 14, 2020.

Overall turnout was 32.26%, which is about unheard of for a Delaware primary. Perhaps having the mail-in option gooses turnout as well, so I don’t think the practice is going away anytime soon.

Scott Walker, in fact, received 3,998 votes. Why I don’t know. And for the longest time he was running neck-and-neck with Bryant Richardson for third place, as I predicted. In fact, I had the order of finish just right – and aside from the top two being so far apart, rather proportional to my guess.

But had the balloting been exclusively mail-in, Colin Bonini would have had his rematch. Out of that group of voters, he won by 6 points but was swamped enough by those who actually showed up to vote that he lost by 6 points. And given the fact that Julianne Murray was the one who got most of the benefit from the open polls – David Bosco also increased his share slightly from mail-in to in-person – it appears that she got most of the late-deciders. I believe the media coverage (and campaign funding) pushed it into a two-way race and voters who were going to go for Richardson or Walker saw the futility of their vote and decided on the outsider. I think that’s why I overestimated their share, although proportionately I wasn’t in all that bad of shape – everyone outside the top two ended up with about half of what I assumed they’d get, except Bosco. Had Dave had more money, he may have pulled enough votes from his fellow outsider Murray to throw the election Bonini’s way – but we will never know.

The only thing I really messed up was in saying Bonini’s 2016 vote total would hold. Murray beat it by about 1,700 votes so I guess I’ll have to buff out that chip in the crystal before November comes.

Fearless forecasts

As my Delaware friends are likely well aware, tomorrow is primary day in the state: Republicans and Democrats will (or perhaps already have, given the misplaced emphasis on mail-in balloting) narrow down their respective fields for Governor, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House. As an added bonus, Democrats around the state will get to eliminate one candidate for insurance commissioner and several contestants vying in primary battles for local legislative races. (My first bonus prediction: at least two sitting Democrat members of the Delaware General Assembly lose in the primary. I can’t tell you just who but I suspect at least one will be a veteran member who loses to a more “progressive” Democrat.)

Since I’ve already began with the majority party in the state, I may as well continue working through their races. All five statewide Democrat candidates are seeking another term; however, only Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester escaped a primary challenger. The three men running again (U.S. Senator Chris Coons, Governor John Carney, and Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro) weren’t so fortunate.

I don’t expect any of them to lose in the primary to Jessica Scarane, David Lamar Williams, Jr., or Kayode Abegunde, respectively. (Interesting that Democrats would keep three white men and reject a woman and two people of color, eh?) But watch the margins: anything less than a 50-point win by the incumbents would indicate their support is soft. The question at that point would be whether it’s because the incumbents are insufficiently left-leaning for the Democrat electorate or whether rank-and-file Democrats don’t like the incumbent and would be open to the right challenger.

(Worth noting: although the Green Party appears to have ballot access in Delaware, there are no candidates who have filed under that banner. So there is nothing to the left of the Democrats on the November ballot.)

And then we have the Republicans. Out of those same five statewide offices, it’s once again ladies who have the clear path: Donyale Hall for lieutenant governor and Dr. Julia Pillsbury for insurance commissioner. However, with the exception of the U.S. House, it’s possible (and perhaps the most likely outcome) that we could have an all-female GOP contingent come November.

I’ll begin with the GOP House race, which is going to be pretty much a name recognition race. Thanks to some health issues and a lack of funding, Matthew Morris is probably not well-known enough to defeat Lee Murphy. Two years ago Murphy lost in stunning fashion to the tree-killing campaign of one R. Scott Walker, but I think this time Lee gets the brass ring. It feels like a 60-40 type race to me, so I’ll figure Murphy 61, Morris 39. I would not be surprised, however, to see this be a 10-15% undervote compared to the governor’s race.

Another two-person race is the U.S. Senate race, which pits Lauren Witzke against James DeMartino. If campaigns were based on how hard candidates worked, it would be no contest – and it still may not be. But I get a lot of undertones out of this race, for two reasons.

One is the Christine O’Donnell factor, which I believe was the reason Lauren did not get the GOP endorsement despite outraising DeMartino and arguably building a lot more name recognition in the state. I believe the Republican party regulars were spooked by a candidate who espoused populist rhetoric like Donald Trump and came from a very questionable background. (In that respect she was similar to Matthew Morris, but his background is not nearly the factor in his race.)

The second is a platform which would, in some aspects, be perceived as well to the right of average Delaware voters yet also depended on a constituency not accustomed to voting GOP: blue-collar union workers. In fact, that comes in more as a general election strategy because many of those workers remain as registered Democrats and can’t help Lauren get through the primary.

This is going to be a test to see just how effective a party endorsement can be. I suspect it’s going to be enough for DeMartino to make it a close race but I think Lauren will win in the end by a 52-48 margin. Witzke may have to win this race without much more than token support from her party – there may be a “Republicans for Coons” group out there if she wins because she ties so closely with Donald Trump and surely Delaware has some percentage of #NeverTrump rear guard people out there.

And then we have the governor’s race on the Republican side.

My friend Chris Slavens wrote a social media post with his thoughts on the GOP race and his analysis is very sound. In fact, R. Scott Walker is a wild card in this race since he did pick up over 19,000 primary votes for Congress last time around.

But I think the turnout for this election will be much better than the usual 15-20 percent and people who voted for Walker last time out in a two-person midterm race against an uninspiring candidate may have a different choice in mind this time around. This race has a ton of interest so I believe we may get 50,000 total votes and I don’t see Walker receiving more than about 6-8,000 of them.

If Walker indeed comes to that estimate, he will easily pass two of his competitors – David Graham, who I see at about 5% of the vote, and David Bosco, who seems to be two to three points higher than that. Those kind of numbers may be enough to vault Walker to third place past Bryant Richardson.

All this leaves about 60% of the vote to be split somehow between Julianne Murray and Colin Bonini. Colin got 21,150 votes in his 2016 primary and if he does it again he wins going away. But I don’t see that because, while Lacey Lafferty in 2016 was a sort of precursor to the type of candidate Lauren Witzke is this year (in a completely different race), Julianne Murray is not running a populist Trumpian campaign. Traditional Republicans, especially in Sussex County, may also peel off their former Bonini support to his fellow Senator Richardson – I think Bryant’s presence in the race takes away far more from Bonini than anyone else so you can take that 15% out of Colin’s column. If so, suddenly Bonini’s at 27% and he’s a loser.

I know Bonini is hitting the direct mail hard but there’s probably a good percentage of voters who mailed in ballots. Moreover, there’s perhaps the thought that a rematch of a 2016 race where the GOP got smacked by 20 points up and down the line isn’t appealing to these victory-starved voters. So this is how I see the gubernatorial primary coming out: Murray 30, Bonini 28, Richardson 15, Walker 14, Bosco 8, Graham 5.

We’ll probably know late Tuesday night whether my crystal ball is prescient or cloudy. But I’ll be glad to clear my sidebar and start working in other candidates to my dossiers.

Odds and ends number 98

I promised this a few weeks ago, but here it is in all its glory or whatever. As always, it’s little items which interest me and take up a few sentences.

So what does my e-mail have for me to share? In a monent I will look, but first allow me to reintroduce you to a classic concept.

Sunday evening reading

Many years ago, back in the days even before Salisbury had its blog wars – or had monoblogue – there was a website called Duvafiles. Its purveyor was a local attorney by the name of Bill Duvall, who has since passed away.

Aside from the sometimes-hilarious skewering of various local political figures and other prominent citizens, one of his regular features was indeed called Sunday evening reading – generally a short list of links Bill found interesting or useful.

In this case, there are many times I bookmark Erick Erickson because of how he intersects religion and politics. Unfortunately, having moved to Substack I can’t just link to his pieces but he does keep a limited free archive. (I’m just not quite willing to pull the trigger on $70 a year.)

Another frequent writer whose work sometimes gets buried behind a paywall is former Louisiana governor and 2016 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal. He’s not really being mentioned as a 2024 contender but with commentary like this, I think he should be.

I’ve known Michigan-based writer Jen Kuznicki online for several years, but I didn’t know she had a more primary gig as a bartender. It gave her an up-close and personal view of a serious effect from the pandemic.

So since today is Sunday, I happened to see it as a perfect time to bring back the old concept. I think I have replicated it a time or two over the years, so it’s back again like the McRib.

Backing the blue

Another blast from my past came onto my radar screen recently. I’ve known Melody Clarke for several years, dating back to her previous moniker Melody Scalley and her unfortunately unsuccessful runs for office on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She may have a sweeter gig now as a Regional Coordinator of the Heritage Foundation.

Melody alerted me to a new Heritage initiative called the Police Pledge, which simply states that the signatory will “pledge to oppose any bill, resolution, or movement to ‘Defund the Police.'” Most notable among local signers thus far is Congressman Andy Harris, but there are two notables in Delaware as well: my District 21 state Senator (and candidate for Governor) Bryant Richardson, who signed it in his Senate capacity, and District 32 House challenger Cheryl Precourt from Kent County. Both are Republicans, although that’s no shock since all current federal officeholders who have signed are also members of the GOP. Nearly 80,000 private citizens have also signed, insuring the Heritage Foundation maintains a healthy e-mail list.

By comparison, it’s interesting to know just what the Left considers “defunding the police.” According to the Indivisible group, it’s where funding intended for police is diverted to “crisis intervention specialists, social workers, behavioral and mental health experts, food assistance and clean water, housing assistance, (and) school budgets.” But don’t we already pay for a welfare state?

By the way, that group of leftists had its “week of action” recently and touted “over 300 events across 37 states.” There was only one event in Delaware, so I guess they must figure they have this state sewn up. Got to work on that.

On the energy front

I already knew wind power was less reliable, more inconvenient, and more expensive, so this piece just reinforces what I already knew. On the other hand, API’s Mark Green describes some of the issues with getting necessary infrastructure in place.

While Delaware seems to be in decent shape with its natural gas supply pipelines, there is still the matter of trying to get an extended route to supply Maryland’s Eastern Shore constructed. As is often the case, short-sighted “progressives” are against real progress but cheer on pie-in-the-sky boondoggles that do nothing but drive up electric bills and ruin viewsheds.

Party over principle?

It’s an argument that dogged the TEA Party – do you work within the existing two-party system or try an alternative? Unfortunately, the Republican Party did not bend to the right nearly as readily as the Democrats have kowtowed to the radical left-wing flank of its numbers over the last two years, which is one reason why we have the predicament we are in now.

But radio host Andy Hooser, a.k.a. the “Voice of Reason”, begs to reignite an argument that seemed to fade away when the TEA Party morphed into the backing for Donald Trump. He writes:

(After the GOP nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney) I considered leaving the Republican party and going independent or Libertarian. I wanted my conservative voice to be accepted, not shunned in a party that is supposed to advocate for the views and ideas I have…not for me to conform to the party…

I then began my radio career by joining the broadcasting school, and interning for one of the great radio legends Mike Rosen of 850 KOA in Denver, CO. During my tenure with Mike, I had heard him advocate for the “Party over Person” argument, explaining third parties do nothing more than ruin any chance of getting someone close to your ideology…but help elect the person farthest from your views.

It hit home with me.

“The Voice of Reason” newsletter, August 2020

But we tried all this, and it didn’t work. I am living proof: is the Maryland Republican Party any more conservative now then when I began with them in 2006? No, they are even more spineless and have an impotent titular head to boot.

We actually now have an opportunity to open things up on both sides as the Democrats are eating their own and Republicans are trying to be more like Trump. There are openings for the progressives, centrists, and conservatives if they can just figure out a way to break up the R-and-D duopoly that saddles us with too many “lesser of two evils” elections. In Delaware I have six ballot-qualified parties to choose from, and while the system could use a little more work it’s an improvement from what Maryland and many other states are saddled with, like the Maryland Libertarians finally getting ballot access after a grueling ordeal.

“I want to thank everyone who helped petition to get back on the ballot, especially under such circumstances where the state of Maryland insisted we had to collect signatures while making it illegal or very difficult to petition in public for much of 2020,” said Maryland LP chair Bob Johnston in a release. But they are only there through 2022 unless they get 1% of the vote for Governor or 1% of the state’s registered voters. (That works out to about 40,000.)

Meanwhile, Delaware Libertarians break their 0.1% of RV hurdle with ease. I just wish they would focus more on candidate recruitment.

Getting to follow up

I didn’t realize that it had been over 18 months since I wrote a piece for The Patriot Post on civil asset forfeiture, but it proved to be a handy precursor to a lengthier treatise on the subject from Robert Stilson of the Capital Research Center on that very topic.

We still need to work on the principle that gains considered ill-gotten by the standard of suspicion are ripe for the taking. Believe it or not, there are legitimate reasons for individuals to carry large sums of cash and it’s none of the government’s business why they do so unless they want to press criminal charges and prove illegal intent in court. It’s not intended to be a slush fund for local law enforcement.

The long march to the left

One other noteworthy item from the CRC is this profile of the Walmart Foundation. Apparently Sam Walton had little use for charity or politics, but his heirs have gone completely overboard from the port side.

I don’t mind companies giving to charity, but it seems to me that many of today’s corporate conglomerates are operating under the “last to be eaten by the alligator” principle. How about just starving the alligator instead?

Uniquely Delaware

When I first moved to this area in 2004, one thing I quickly noticed was the all-number Delaware license plates. (Meanwhile, my Maryland plate was one of the first to have the old 1AA A11 pattern they used for about eight years before adopting the current 1AA1111 pattern.) Being a small state, Delaware is one of the last holdouts that has such numeric tags. (Many do have a standard prefix, though, as I note below.)

Now my car has a regular old random six-digit number beginning way up in the 9’s as its plate, but if I had a lot of coin I could buy the rights to have a number as low as 4 on my car. (I have to be elected governor, lieutenant governor, or secretary of state to get 1, 2, or 3 respectively. But I have seen #4. On the other hand, I also know someone who has a plate in the 9998xx series. Wonder if there’s a market for high number plates, too?)

The plate PC8 (PC, or “passenger carrier,” is a prefix often found on SUVs) just sold for $175,000. This creates an interesting question for me: do you insure the car or the license plate?

Speaking of Delaware, I wonder how this turned out? If for no other reason, the added traffic snarl of our prospective President having a beach house here is a good reason to keep Donald Trump in office.

And last…

Since I got this done in time, tomorrow night I will try my hand at pre-primary wild guesses and analysis for the Delaware primary. We’ll see if my expertise gained over often winning the (ladies and) gentlemen’s bet over Maryland primary and general election results among my fellow Central Committee members transfers across state lines.

2020 gubernatorial dossier: Intangibles

This final part of the dossier series takes a look at other issues that may not be as important to me but still deserve mention. However, I mainly use this part to comment on their campaign and how it’s being conducted. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, intangibles are worth up to 10 points – unlike all other parts, these are additive or subtractive. 

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

These will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents.

Labor Day is over, so it’s time to get serious about this political thing.

On the GOP side, Julianne Murray raised the most money pre-primary and done something insurgent campaigns by outsiders need to do: take steps to nationalize their race. Picking up an endorsement from Newt Gingrich (who is no stranger to the First State) is interesting but if it adds a little jingle to her bank account and a few hundred votes to her column on primary day it will be worth it. (Since I originally did this, she’s also picked up endorsements from former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley and the 60 Plus advocacy group.) Initially I thought highly of her but gave my GOP endorsement to Bryant Richardson – Murray was my second choice.

There were a couple intangible items worth mentioning, as I wrote in my notes:

“We need to preserve voter integrity. It is disappointing that Carney signed the vote by mail bill which will jeopardize the integrity of our elections.” Did you expect otherwise from a Democrat?

“Our state government should work with cities to adopt a uniform permitting code for small, ‘neighborhood’ businesses, creating fast-track permitting that allows them to open and grow.” This has peripheral benefit to me if they extend that to building, because Delaware has a ridiculous number of hoops to jump through. We generally count on our few Delaware projects to be bogged down someplace.

If you want a small business advocate and fighter for Constitutional rights, vote Julianne Murray. All in all, her campaign is probably the best-run among the GOP candidates so I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the leading vote-getter, even ahead of President Trump. Here’s hoping it will be enough. I’m adding 5 points out of 10.

John Machurek (L)

Machurek is no stranger to running races: he ran for New Castle County sheriff in 2018, for attorney general in 2014, and for the state house in 2012 – a race I gleaned quite a bit of information from. And that’s part of the problem, as I was hoping he would make more of a name for himself and put additional effort into his run. Obviously it’s discouraging when you can’t exceed 11% in a race, but there’s only one way for the Libertarians to gain traction and that’s marketing your ideas to the full extent possible.

“I would urge those who need or feel the need to stay home to make that decision for yourself. You do not need a bureaucratic machine to tell you how to best conduct your life.” Exactly. I also like his insistence on voter ID, no limits on campaign finance, and a redistricting commission (which would hopefully have independent/minor party participants. Maybe they all should be.)

If he had put more into the race, he certainly has the roots of some good ideas for the state. Add 2 points out of 10.

Kathy DeMatteis (IPoD)

Unlike Machurek, I think Kathy is working really hard at this race – enough so that she could be a potential spoiler for Murray. However, this would simply come from the independent “it’s time for a change” crowd because a conservative might not go for a message of “Transform Delaware into a more innovative and culturally advanced environment.” I guess it depends on what you consider cultural advancement.

The only thing that keeps me from giving her more points is the slight sense of hucksterism I sense as she has told us her plan is in a book she wrote, and the products she’s talked about as bringers of manufacturing jobs are her own. Kathy may be the giving sort, but there is a sense of self-serving beyond the idea of public service as governor.

Given her limited resources, Kathy is running a smart campaign. I’ll give her an additional 5 points out of 10.

John Carney (incumbent D)

For any good Carney may have done, it’s been ruined by his overreaction to the CCP virus. He reminds me now of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz from the old Phineas & Ferb cartoon.

He successfully portrayed himself as a moderate Democrat to secure the governor’s office, but he has allowed his party’s left flank to advance its agenda at the expense of ordinary Delaware citizens and we can’t abide that. To his credit, however, he has run a very low-key campaign in light of the situation. In that sense, I will not deduct the full 10 points as deserved but deduct 1.5 points to bring him back to nothing.

So we’ve come to the end, and here are the final standings: Murray 41.5, Machurek 34, DeMatteis 20.5, and Carney 0.

I’ll do a formal endorsement on Sunday, October 18.

2020 gubernatorial dossier: Role of Government

This is the eighth, penultimate part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, the role of government is worth 14 points. 

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

These will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents.

I have decided to tackle the candidates in order for this part, which will lean heavily on my interpretation of previous parts.

“What finally made me decide to run were the nanny state regulations involving Delawareans’ exercise of Constitutionally-protected rights,” said Republican Julianne Murray. And where was she the last fifty years? I guess it’s a case of better late than never. “COVID-19 has shown that the government can and will take away freedoms from Delawareans in an unconstitutional manner,” she continues.  “We must address this so that future Governors have checks on their power.”

The question is who will have the check? I don’t know if we can trust the Delaware General Assembly as currently comprised. I’m actually afraid, absent a GOP majority in the DGA, that she will find out just how hamstrung she really is once she uses her executive power to strip away the most egregious violations of rights based on John Carney’s pandemic executive orders. Do you think they would have let a Governor Colin Bonini get away with anything he proposed in 2016? I give her 6 points out of 14.

John Machurek (L)

I have always liked certain aspects of the libertarian point of view; however, there are some detrimental portions as well. Cue Machurek saying recently on social media, “Philsophically I’m an anarchist. However, the government has a long way to go before we get to the point that we discuss having a government or not.” To me, that’s akin to the two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner – with no rules, we devolve to a Darwinian social order.

“As a libertarian I stand for each individual’s liberty and pursuit of happiness,” he also claimed. “I am standing with all who have been victims of injustice and will work my campaign to make sure voices of liberty are heard and protected in Delaware.” Worthy of note: since he is pro-choice, he cuts out the very life that is required to enjoy the liberty and pursuit of happiness. It’s the difference between what I gave his fellow Libertarian Senate hopeful Nadine Frost and the 4 points out of 14 I’m giving to John.

Kathy DeMatteis (IPoD)

She began her platform well on this subject by promising to “Curtail abusive government powers to protect Constitutional liberties.” She also vowed to “Protect our most vulnerable people.” Okay, at a state level I can maybe buy that. But she lost me with “Establish and maintain a fundamental human rights code.” I sort of think there already is, and it’s called the Bible. But that’s just me.

I do like her idea about bringing initiative, referendum, and recall to Delaware as we are the only state that has none of those remedies available to us as I recall. So I’ll give her 4 points out of 14 as well.

John Carney (incumbent D)

He said this four years ago: “As a former Secretary of Finance, John knows we can’t continue with business as usual. Increased spending in areas like health care are outpacing our ability to afford it, and crowding out other priorities like improving education and creating jobs. John believes it is time for a “reset” that takes a hard look at spending and revenue. If Delaware state government is going to continue to offer the services it provides to a growing population, and expand in areas where it’s weak, it will need to be more efficient and better able to eliminate unnecessary spending.”

I haven’t seen that effort. And need I mention how he’s become a dictator to the extent that six Republicans and two smaller party members lined up to run against him? He gets o points out of 14 because I don’t think he gets the proper role of government at all.

Standings: Murray 36.5, Machurek 32, DeMatteis 15.5, Carney 1.5.

That, then, is my impression of how each candidate sees the role of government. I’m going to look at intangibles in the last part.

2020 gubernatorial dossier: Taxation

This is the seventh part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, taxation is worth 13 points. 

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

These will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents.

One would imagine that our contenders are in favor of lowering taxes. But surprisingly not all have brought up the issue to a great extent, and they are addressing several ways to lower the burden.

I suspect this will be one of the more actively updated posts as time goes on.

Julianne Murray (R)

Unlike her entire bill of rights devoted to small business, Murray has platitude-speak down when she says she will, “Cut taxes and regulations. Nothing hurts job growth like higher taxes and endless regulations. As our next Governor, Julianne Murray will lower the tax burden and streamline regulations to encourage entrepreneurship.” Well, you can’t lower the sales tax but I’ll bet there are some business taxes they’d like repealed. Because she has at least a goal and purpose, I’ll give her 6 points out of 13.

John Machurek (L)

John would lower taxes, too, but he doesn’t really go into where, why, or how. It’s a missed opportunity. 3 points out of 13.

Kathy DeMatteis (IPoD)

This is another issue Kathy has been silent on, unless it’s in her book/plan that I have not read yet. No points.

John Carney (incumbent D)

Four years ago John said, “If we need to raise more revenue, we need an approach that promotes a growing economy, that’s fair to all taxpayers, and that minimizes the burdens on those least able to pay.

As governor, John will bring that same leadership to a bipartisan effort, working with business and other community leaders, to get our budget back on track without sacrificing the quality services that so many Delawareans depend on.”

So I guess I shouldn’t have said our contenders are in favor of lowering taxes, because we’ve found out through experience that John did not. When it came to the choice of tightening belts or extracting revenue, too often Carney chose the latter. You can see this in the next paragraph. 0 points out of 13.

One measuring stick I use to compare tax burden between states comes from the Tax Foundation, which annually ranks the states on how much of a toll they take from the general public. Delaware just misses the top 10 overall, but it is a schizophrenic ranking because it rates high in some categories (led by the lack of a sales tax and low property taxes) but scrapes the bottom in two key measures: individual income tax and corporate tax, where it ranks dead last at #50. So those two categories need reform, keeping in mind the ideals of a fairer, flatter tax system that’s not used to reward or punish behavior or property ownership. Address these and it goes a long way in securing my endorsement.

Standings: Murray 30.5, Machurek 28, DeMatteis 11.5, Carney 1.5.

My final two categories await, with the role of government as I perceive each candidate adopting it coming up next.

2020 gubernatorial dossier: Job Creation

This is the sixth part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, job creation is worth 12 points. 

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

These will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents.

Over the last few months I’ve become a subscriber to the e-mails emanating from a group called A Better Delaware. It’s a group which believes we need to improve our economy by streamlining government and eliminating regulations, pointing out that our economic indicators lag among states. It’s become even worse now because growth is probably not an option in 2020 thanks to the incumbent governor’s handling of the pandemic.

To various extents, all of these candidates agree we should open up the state. But it’s also revealing to learn their philosophy for business and economic growth, and that’s what this installment of the dossier is all about.

Julianne Murray (R)

The bread and butter of her campaign is the topic of job creation. Rather than cite her platform chapter and verse, I’ll simply inform readers she has put together what she calls a “Small Business Bill of Rights.”

Because we already have a Bill of Rights in the Constitution, I’m leery about anything else called a bill of rights, particularly in this case as they are granted by government and not inalienable. It’s more of a particular set of policy priorities, many of which make good sense, given a catchy name. Based on that I don’t see Murray as quite the small business zealot as some of her primary opponents were, which is good, but it remains to be seen how balanced of an approach she will take if someone like a Big Three automaker or large manufacturer sees an opportunity in Delaware.

On the whole, though, the platform is well spelled-out and worth 10 points out of 12.

John Machurek (L)

There is an elegant simplicity to what John is advocating for. In fact, in 2012 he said he would “allow the free market to decide what’s best and to regulate itself and allow people to make choices for themselves. I know this sounds like a simple solution, but it really is that simple.” Yes, it is. We don’t need overly restrictive licensing, so he would get rid of it. He would lower corporate taxes as well. “I feel the government should not pick winners and losers,” he said eight years ago. “I feel giving money for job creation would be exactly that. We are broke and don’t have money to hand out.” It’s a great approach that’s just slightly behind Murray’s only in the sense that it’s not as fleshed out. 9.5 points out of 12.

Kathy DeMatteis (IPoD)

Much of her platform is devoted to this subject: Kathy would “end megacorporate welfare” and “revitalize Delaware’s economy towards dynamic sustainability.” (Whatever that means.) She also joins her peers in wishing to cut bureaucratic red tape for small businesses, and vowed to travel the country to bring businesses to Delaware.

Here’s the interesting part though. “I am the only candidate with a twenty two year history of hands on healing. The only candidate that built products to be manufactured.

While other candidates say they will bring manufacturing back, I am the only one that can actually do it. Why? Because they are my products to give.

No other candidates running for Governor has a list of product that can be put into production insuring jobs in three of its counties.”

The question, of course, is this: if she is correct that this product is a scalable product and it’s destined for success, what are the ethics in using a state office to enrich herself at the expense of any would-be competitors? It seems to me she should be able to establish this without needing to be governor.

For her, I will split the difference and grant Kathy 6.5 points out of 13.

John Carney (incumbent D)

The initial 2016 economic plan Carney presented is here. In part, he promised:

We need to provide Delawareans with well-paying middle class jobs of the future as we strengthen our current economic base in manufacturing and financial services.

I want Delaware to not only be the First State when it comes to incorporating a company, but also the First State when it comes to growing a company. That means having a thriving financial services sector that creates jobs in technology. It means keeping our uniquely talented workforce in the fields of bioscience and sustainable chemistry. And it requires a robust entrepreneurial economy…where Delawareans are developing new technologies to bring to the market place.

The role of government in promoting a strong economy is to create an environment where businesses can thrive and invest in Delaware. That means moving faster than any other state when it comes to helping locate or grow a business that will create good jobs. And it includes a regulatory environment that is fair, thoughtful and timely. Delaware’s current regulatory structure rests on a 40-year-old patchwork of inconsistent and often inefficient mechanisms that I would modernize and streamline as Governor.

John Carney economic plan, 2016

Of course, John was muddling along until he blew any and every advantage he may have gained by unnecessarily shutting down the state during the pandemic. Since this is about job creation, he gets 0 points out of 13.

All I know is that this is a group of people who want the working folks of Delaware to prosper. (One thing I’ve not seen touched upon, though, is right-to-work legislation.)

Standings: Machurek 25, Murray 24.5, DeMatteis 11.5, Carney 1.5

Once we get the prosperity my next category asks if they’ll get to keep it as I talk taxation… if the candidates are willing to volunteer their plans, that is.

2020 gubernatorial dossier: Second Amendment

This is the fifth part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, Second Amendment issues are worth 11 points. 

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

These will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents.

It was an event I thought about making a post out of, but in this era of the CCP virus (h/t The Epoch Times for that moniker) I thought depicting a mostly maskless event wouldn’t go over well. Regardless, back in August I was at a local gun club for its family day. And one thing I quickly learned was that it was a place with hot and cold running politicians – no surprise with a primary coming up.

While there were a few local politicians of note – oddly enough, I realized who some were by the legislative plate on their cars – it turned out via happy accident I was due for this part of the dossier. (My wife told me about this event that Saturday morning so we squeezed in a little free shooting before heading up to see her family.) So for the purposes of this section of the dossier I’m adding bonus content.

My disclaimer: I wasn’t there for the entire event so some of these candidates may have circulated there prior to our arrival – for example, I saw U.S. Senate candidate Jim DeMartino (who lost in the primary to Lauren Witzke) working his way out as we were walking in.

Julianne Murray (R)

Of all the Republican gubernatorial candidates at this event, Julianne had the most formal setup and was engaging with voters, including me:

Yet our brief conversation didn’t touch on 2A issues – heck, I was impressed enough that she knew of this website.

The meat of what she states about the topic can be summarized this way: “Julie knows that limiting our Second Amendment rights does not translate into tough-on-crime measures. It doesn’t make anyone safer. It only punishes law-abiding citizens. Like you, Julie worries about the violence in our communities. She wants safe streets and safe gathering places for our friends and family. Julie will look beyond the rhetoric to find the real source of the problem and find solutions that do not infringe our rights. By addressing the true problem, we will be taking the politics out of the issue. Unfortunately, our Governor and the media like to perpetuate misinformation and dangerous rhetoric in order to push an unconstitutional agenda that threatens the rights of law abiding citizens. As Governor, Julie will defend the rights of our law abiding citizens, hold law breakers accountable and support our first responders.”

This is intriguing to me on two levels. I notice the way she states the proposition gives her a little bit of wiggle room, but, more importantly, there’s the phrase, “the real source of the problem.” I can’t fathom if she doesn’t agree with the adage “an armed society is a polite society” or if she really wants to begin a one-woman, one-state war on the cultural rot and lack of respect for life that may well be a root cause of gun violence. Moreover, if we don’t have a tyrannical, overreaching government, the need for Second Amendment protection on that front abates. That’s why I find this interesting. I have yet to listen to a three-hour (!) podcast with Murray so I hope to get more answers there. In the meantime, I split the difference and give her 5.5 points out of 11.

John Machurek (L)

While he promises not to enact any new gun control measures, it’s somewhat telling that John is for “Constitutional” carry but not concealed carry. I don’t see him as a force to reverse the excesses of the current regime, so he gets just 3 points out of 11.

Kathy DeMatteis (IPoD)

Unfortunately, she seems to be silent on this important subject. No points.

John Carney (incumbent D)

In 2016, John noted he would be “directly confronting” the issue of gun violence by working with other states, making sure schools have up-to-date safety plans, “confronting the issue of mental health and gun access,” and restricting the sale of so-called “military-style” weapons.

Barely a year later, Carney promised, “In the coming weeks, my team will work closely with lawmakers to craft legislation that would prohibit the sale of assault-style rifles in Delaware,” in order to “make our state safer.” (I guess he didn’t specify who he was making it safer for, but it turns out he was doing so for criminals.)

It’s this damage to Second Amendment rights that our next governor has to undo. 0 points out of 11. If I could give him negative points I would.

Standings: Machurek 15.5, Murray 14.5, DeMatteis 5, Carney 1.5.

I don’t need to hustle to find more from the candidates on the next subject, which will be job creation.

2020 gubernatorial dossier: Law Enforcement/Judicial

This is the third part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, law enforcement and judicial are worth 9 points.

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

These will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents.

Julianne Murray (R)

I didn’t have anything for Julianne until the day before I did this originally, when she remarked, “As your next Governor, I will never play politics with our public safety and I will never defund our police. The police will have a Governor who they can rely upon to give them the tools they need to do their job and the public support they have earned.”

She added, “I will not support liberal policies that are causing massive retirements of officers here in Delaware. They are retiring because they don’t believe they have backing from the top. Like you, I don’t want 911 calls to go unanswered.”

Since then she’s added the obvious, that she sides with police over the rioters but believes bad cops should be “weeded out.” Overall, it’s a relatively safe answer worth 5 points out of 9.

John Machurek (L)

Machurek has promised on social media to review prisoners and enact criminal justice reform and cannabis legalization. In a previous political run he also vowed to end “no knock” warrants; on the other hand, he is against capital punishment and enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police. So he gets just 1.5 points out of 9.

Kathy DeMatteis (IPoD)

So far all I have been able to glean out of Kathy is her avocation for family court reform in order to make it more equitable for all concerned. I’ll give her 1 point out of 9 despite being dubious about what is not equal.

John Carney (incumbent D)

Carney’s full 2016 proposal is here. In that he noted:

“We need to deploy our resources with more of a focus on keeping dangerous, violent criminals off our streets. We also need to shift toward rehabilitating non-violent offenders and helping them become employed and productive members of society. Even more important is preventing our young people from turning to a life of crime in the first place.”

Given the recent “peaceful protests” in Wilmington and Dover that turned into rioting, looting, and property damage, it’s apparent Carney has not followed through. So he gets 0 points out of 9.

Updating the standings, we have a new leader, although none of them are setting this competition on fire: Murray 6, Machurek 4.5, DeMatteis 3.5, Carney 0.

This was actually a category where I deferred to the candidates and their views. Aside from enforcing the law fairly and appointing judges who will properly interpret the law according to the federal and state constitutions, I don’t have a really specific “ask” in this category. The next one is slated to be education.

2020 gubernatorial dossier: Social Issues

This is the second part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, social issues are worth 8 points.

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

Normally these will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents, but this time I’m changing up for editorial license.

Delaware has a reputation as a “blue” state, and as such they have embraced two things that are wrong with our culture: abortion and same-sex “marriage.” While the federal courts have now spoken on both subjects, wresting control of these away from the states where it properly belongs, only two of our four candidates have acted on the subject – unfortunately, they either advocate for or have signed legislation working in the wrong direction.

As the two women in the field, I would be curious to know the views of Republican Julianne Murray and IPoD’s Kathy DeMatteis. But I can’t give them points for nothing.

Libertarian John Machurek stated that he considers himself pro-choice, but would require parental consent for minors and not publicly fund them. Essentially it’s the inverse of the Democrats’ view. He also believed that anti-discrimination laws can be a “slippery slope” but equal marriage should be a Constitutional right. So he gets 0 points out of 8.

Democrat Governor John Carney signed pro-abortion legislation in June 2017 and is on record for supporting gay “marriage” so he gets 0 points out of 8, too.

I’d love to know how the others in the field would stack up to this, but I suspect most wouldn’t touch the subject with a ten-foot pole because they’re being advised to avoid social issues. That’s not my advice, though: as always, make the case as to why it’s in the recipient’s advantage to have these laws.

Because of this lack of action, the standings remain the same: Machurek 3, DeMatteis 2.5, Murray 1, Carney 0.

But they won’t for long: more people join the fray on my next part, which covers law enforcement and the judicial system.

2020 gubernatorial dossier: Agriculture/Environment and Transportation

This is the first part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, agriculture/environment is worth 6 points and transportation is worth 7.

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

These will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents.

The 2020 Delaware gubernatorial candidates have talked about a lot of stuff, but these are two categories I haven’t been able to find too much on.

Yet the balance between agriculture and environment is an important one for Delaware. Not only is Sussex County #1 in broiler production nationwide (within one mile or so of me there are, by Google Maps and my count, 58 chicken barns) but in the nearly a year I’ve lived out here I’ve seen countless melon buses* and not a few semi-trailers presumably full of watermelons from the packing house down the road, tractors up and down my road at all times of the day and night, and even a cropduster spraying the field across the road from me one Saturday morning. And that doesn’t count the ongoing corn and upcoming soybean harvest that will start in the next few weeks.

On the other hand, there are concerns about the by-products of chickens, a nasty odor I sometimes catch a whiff of coming out the door. And those environmental concerns don’t even cover the beach on the other end of the county. So I would love to know how my candidates will balance these interests.

Those farmers also need methods to get their products to market, and Delaware seems to be lacking in that department. Once you get north of Dover, there are interstate-level highways to take you north and south, but downstate drivers are snagged in a morass of traffic lights and beachbound traffic limping its way down congested Delaware Route 1, U.S. 113, and U.S. 13 toward Ocean City, Salisbury, and points south. (East and west could use some improvement, too, but that’s on Maryland.) These highways need to be addressed, too.

So we will begin with agriculture and the environment, where a couple candidates have made statements. I had to reach back to 2016 to find John Carney’s, though, since he has eschewed an issues page this go-round.

Julianne Murray (R)

If Murray has had something to say about agriculture or the environment, I haven’t found it yet. So no points.

John Machurek (L)

John has the standard libertarian view of allowing the private sector to determine what is best for the environment, which I agree with for the most part. Lacking more details, I will give him 3 points out of 6 for the philosophy.

Kathy DeMatteis (IPoD)

Kathy’s platform promises to “Promote farmland preservation, sustainable agriculture, food processing, and related agribusiness vertical integration.” I don’t mind these items, but would certainly love to know the details of government involvement, especially on farmland preservation which I believe should be generational. 1.5 points out of 6.

John Carney (incumbent D)

You would think for a moment that John gets it when he notes farmers are the stewards of the land and was in favor of developing “practical…and effective” policies on agriculture.

But he gave up the game right away when he stated, “John believes one of the most serious threats facing Delaware is that of climate change and sea level rise.” It’s not that serious of a threat and we can’t change the climate anyway. Saying that gives John an automatic 0 points out of 6.

As for transportation, I have a stunning lack of attention to a vital topic, although Republican Julianne Murray recently called for an audit of DelDOT thanks to irregularities in the EZPass system. It’s sort of a peripheral issue, but I will give her 1 point out of 7.

Her IPoD opponent, Kathy DeMatteis, has also acknowledged the need for infrastructure improvement in her platform in a non-specific fashion. So she gets 1 point out of 7 as well.

So early standings are not what you might think: Machurek 3, DeMatteis 2.5, Murray 1, Carney 0.

Nor do I have much to work with on the next category, social issues, but that will be the next installment.

*For those readers outside Slower Lower Delaware, a melon bus is a well-used school bus that has had its back seats, windows, and much of the sides and/or roof removed. They put padding on the floors, remaining side walls, and window sills so the watermelons aren’t damaged in transit, and they fill the entire back of the bus up to the windows with melons – it’s quite a sight. These jalopies come up from Florida (at least that’s where they are tagged) with running school buses which have retained their seats to transport the workers who pick the melons from mid-July to about mid-September.

2020 federal dossier: Intangibles

This is the final part of a ten-part series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, intangibles are only worth 5 points – unlike other parts, however, these points can be subtractive as well. Intangibles are items like issues that I don’t cover, their websites, how they are running their campaign, and so forth.

This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.

As has been the case in each of my revised parts, I’m working through the Republicans for House and Senate first, followed by the Libertarians, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and incumbent Democrats last.

Lee Murphy (R) (House)

Like his primary opponent, Lee keeps opioid abuse at the forefront of his campaign. Aside from that, though, he keeps things rather close to the vest: it’s telling that I had to dig out some nuggets of information.

After a decent start, the lines of communication between the Murphy campaign and me have become a bit strained. I think we work at cross purposes.

One thing Lee has going for him is that he has run a statewide campaign. But the strike against him is that he’s not run a successful statewide campaign and the person he lost in said statewide campaign to is generally the butt of political jokes for his colorful personality and party-jumping skills. Obviously Lee has lost some races in hopeless situations, but this one was like fumbling at the five-yard line on the way to the winning touchdown.

He has picked up the pace to an extent after winning the primary, however. The question is whether his Democrat opponent’s mile-wide support is more than an inch deep. He needs to ask what his opponent has done for Delaware as opposed to what she’s done to Delaware. I am adding two points of five to his score.

Lauren Witzke (R) (Senate)

Lauren is not shy about expressing her opinion. Perhaps that’s not quite the standard temperament for the Senate, but it seems to work for Ted Cruz. It has gotten her into a little bit of trouble lately as well.

Out of a lot of interesting statements to consider in this category, I’m picking out two.

“So far the righteous anger and frustration conservatives have felt over the years, has only been channeled to only result in tax cuts and deregulation rulings in favor of the socially progressive billionaire class – A billionaire class that looks down upon and views anyone on Main Street America, the American worker, or any social conservative (for that matter) with contempt.”

She is correct to a point; however, I believe the tax cuts and deregulation have improved the lot for all of us. Billionaires are in a better position to prosper, but bear in mind that they have written many of the regulations in order to tamp down potential competition. So deregulation defeats their purpose.

Secondly:

“I reject Bernie’s socialist ideology. But I understand why my generation seems to embrace it. Crippling student loan debt, unaffordable healthcare, unemployment, addiction, low wages, and in-achievable home ownership for the younger generation has become a stagnant norm.

When a socialist candidate provides solutions to their current problems, we’d be fools to believe they won’t embrace it. We have a serious battle ahead of us against a radical socialist takeover.”

What we need to do is properly educate Millennials that what the Bernie/Biden brigade is promising is fool’s gold, the value of which will indebt their grandchildren’s grandchildren to a one-world tyranny where they will be cogs in the machine unless blessed by birth to be in the ruling class. The rest will suffer the serfdom of the Dark Ages.

It’s where I depart from Lauren’s big-government philosophy, because regardless of the intentions of big government, in the end it only succeeds in reducing our liberty.

However, there are two things Lauren is doing very well in this campaign: nationalizing her race (which is a must in an uphill battle like this) and engaging voters at a far more frenetic pace than either her primary opponent or the Democrat incumbent. (However, he will simply bombard the airwaves with 30 second commercials about “orange man bad” and call it engagement. That’s the advantage of a seven-figure war chest Lauren doesn’t have.) And while I don’t agree with her embrace of Big Labor, that overture does make an inroads into her opponent’s core constituency.

I endorsed Lauren in the GOP primary, but in the general election she’s presented a contrast not just to her Democrat opponent but to the other two ballot-eligible opponents as well – and it’s not always favorable to her. Initially I was adding a full five points to her score based on how she has run her primary campaign but now I think she only merits three additional points out of five.

David Rogers (L) (House)

The biggest intangible I can find for Rogers is his belief that we should end qualified immunity for the police as well as the War on Drugs. Both of these seem like knee-jerk reactions to current events, although the latter platform plank has been a longtime libertarian staple in some form or another. (To some extent, I agree with it.)

But to the extent that I have had to dig out information about his campaign, it is a problem. I realize that the minor parties don’t have money to speak of, but with ballot access already assured (unlike the situation in other states) the Libertarians should be selecting candidates who are more willing to spread their word. On this token, they fall short of their IPoD competition. I’m deducting three points of five from his score.

Nadine Frost (L) (Senate)

One intriguing idea that arguably could have made it into the role of government category is that of prohibiting Congress from meeting in Washington, D.C. for more than sixty days a year. “Those asses want to bribe our legislators?” she writes. “They are going to have to fly to every effing district and meet them in a one-to-one basis. That oughta cool their jets.”

Nadine doesn’t mince words about the VA (a “corrupt, mismanaged” institution) either.

But her big win is stating, “We are all endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Big Government feeds on these rights, and spits on the very citizens it is supposed to serve,” adding, ”Politicians in general cannot have a serious effect on the economy – only negative consequences.” That to me is a message to Lauren Witzke as well as Chris Coons.

For the resources she has, Nadine has run a fairly decent campaign. I’m giving her four points out of five.

Catherine Stonestreet Purcell (IPoD) (House)

This is the sort of rhetoric which tells you CSP is not a politician, “(There has been a) disinformation campaign launched to separate and divide Americans. I think there should be warning labels on FAKE news and fabricated stories. Stiff penalties for crisis actors creating productions that don’t exist and whose intentions are to stir race wars.” It sounds way off on the right, but some of her positions are well left of center.

Out of all the candidates, I posit that she is running the most unconventional race by far. Of course, the problem she has is the same as most other minor-party hopefuls: no name recognition. She may have better face recognition based on her signs, but there aren’t photos on the ballot. All things considered, as hard as she is working on social media I will leave her score the same.

Mark Turley (IPoD) (Senate)

I alluded to his wish to be a moderating influence in my last part. So while I don’t have the rhetoric I get from other corners of the Senate race, I don’t see him as one who would make needed change either. And his campaign is about as low-key as one can get, which is not conducive to winning or making a difference. I’m deducting one point of five.

Lisa Blunt Rochester (incumbent D) (House)

She is running the ultimate “play it safe” campaign and resting on her supposed laurels. Sadly, that may be good enough because too many voters are uninformed and I can only push back the frontiers of ignorance a little bit at the moment. I can also take off the full five points.

Chris Coons (incumbent D) (Senate)

We’ve already see him whine about Amy Coney Barrett, which reminds me of his campaign that states, “Chris… works hard to protect our federal courts. He has earned a reputation as a tough, detailed questioner when pressing President Trump’s judicial nominees about their positions on key issues like race discrimination, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ equality. He has also been crucial in blocking some of President Trump’s least qualified and most dangerous nominees from lifetime appointments to the federal bench.” The only position that matters is how they interpret the Constitution – do they believe it is supposed to be interpreted as written or just made up from what they think it should be?

And when he says, “Protecting the civil rights of every American is one of Chris’ top priorities,” I wonder if some Americans are less protected than others. The same goes for my right to votes, as “Chris is leading efforts to protect the right to vote for all Americans and to ensure that exercising your right to vote is safe, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.” It was safe until you started pushing the vote-by-mail scam where someone’s vote out of whole cloth cancels out my legally won ballot which I’m going to show up to cast because I can.

We have three people on the ballot who would be way better Senators than Chris Coons. I deduct all five points.

Originally I did my endorsement at this point for the GOP primary, but I think I will hold off for two reasons. One is more punch to the post as I will do the governor’s race at the same time, but the other is because I have two rather close races. Take a look at my standings:

Standings:

House: Murphy 33.5, CSP 24, Rogers 13.5, LBR (-1.5).

Senate: Frost 45.5, Witzke 43.5, Turley 7.5, Coons (-3).

There are categories for each of my top two which were left blank so I want to maximize the opportunity for score improvement. I anticipate making a mid-October endorsement, in time for most mail-in ballots to be sent.