Incremental progress?

So the much-ballyhooed 2022 school board elections are over, and the winners will soon get to place their stamp on their respective districts for the next four years (in most cases.) More to the point of this post, though, it was about this time last year that I wrote the following:

It was a great idea for Patriots for Delaware to take that first step (of endorsing school board candidates), and now they have some inkling what to expect. Hopefully come May of next year, they will be celebrating some initial victories on the road back to sanity for the state of Delaware.

“Disheartening numbers,” May 13, 2021.

As it turned out, the Patriots for Delaware did get a couple victories – but also a couple stinging rebuffs as well.

This cycle was interesting in that the state GOP also got involved by noting which school board candidates were registered Republicans, so to me you had three groups of hopefuls worth watching:

  • Those candidates endorsed by Patriots for Delaware – a total of 11.
  • Those candidates listed as Republican. In contested elections, there were also a total of 11, but there wasn’t as much overlap as one might think.
  • Incumbent candidates. Here in Sussex County there was only one in the five contested school board elections. By my count statewide there were nine, which is surprising given the number of seats available.

While the P4D batted a collective .000 in contested elections last year (their one winner won by acclamation) they improved to 2-for-11 this year by winning contests in Delmar and Milford. However, at the same time they lost two incumbent endorsed candidates in the Colonial and Capital school districts as they were among those seeking re-election who fell short. Basically they lost a little ground in terms of directly endorsed candidates as the winners won in smaller districts.

The Republicans, on the other hand, did a shade better in going 3-for-11, with the caveat that three of their losses came in seeking the same seat in the Smyrna district. (Perhaps they did a good job of splitting the vote for the incumbent, who won.) Out of their two incumbent GOP stalwarts running, the one who had the P4D endorsement lost (Leo Magee in the Colonial district) while the other one who wasn’t so endorsed won (Linda Hitchens, here in Laurel.)

The incumbents were the story to me. Particularly in Sussex County, there were a number of incumbents who chose not to run again – Hitchens was the only one in the five contested Sussex elections. Out of nine incumbents who ran around the state, though, five of them lost at the ballot box, so there was a lot of change made in that respect. Two of the five holdovers who lost, as I noted, got the Patriots for Delaware endorsement so that may have been a step backward, but one of the Republicans knocked off an incumbent in Smyrna so their representation stayed fairly even. (Along with Hitchens, another Republican retained her seat in the Woodbridge district over a P4D-endorsed candidate.)

So where do we go from here?

The one thing that stuck out at me about this race locally was the deluge of signs purchased for (or by) Linda Hitchens. I mean, I tip my hat for making the expenditure because it helped her win, but that expense may have been overkill and now she’s stuck with a garage full of signs for four years. But it led me to learn a little something about Delaware’s campaign finance laws:

Notwithstanding § 8003 of this title, or any other provision of this chapter, a candidate for election to a school board or to any other public office that pays less than $1,000 per year is not required to form a candidate committee if the candidate signs under penalty of perjury a statement, in a form prepared by the Commissioner, certifying that the candidate does not intend or expect that the candidate’s campaign will receive or spend, from the date of the first contribution or expenditure on behalf of the candidate’s election until the end of the year in which the election for the office is held, more than $5,000. If, notwithstanding the execution of the statement, the candidate’s campaign nevertheless receives more than $5,000 in contributions or expends more than $5,000, including any contributions or expenditures by the candidate, before the end of the year in which the election for the office is held, the candidate shall, within 7 days after the receipt or expenditure in excess of $5,000, notify the Commissioner and cause to be filed all reports that would otherwise have been required under this chapter.

Title 15, section 8004, Delaware Code Online.

Basically the candidate signs a form similar to what I called an ALCE when I ran in Maryland, so they don’t have to publicly account for their spending in a small-dollar election. That’s why I don’t find campaign finance information on most school board candidates.

It makes me wonder if conservative groups like Patriots for Delaware should endorse with cash rather than Facebook posts. A $500 donation, good list of supporters – that list of e-mail addresses and social media friends has to be good for something – and a couple volunteers in any school district can litter the place with yard signs that bring name recognition. Moreover, if there’s more name recognition it may be our supporters that fill in the gap between what little turnout there is (in Laurel it was 2.4%, with the biggest downstate total Milford’s 7.84%) and even 10% turnout, which would swamp all the elections. To use Laurel as an example, if they could have brought turnout up to 10 percent strictly with supporters of Joe Kelley, they would have won that race by over 700 votes! Even getting it to 5% turnout with his supporters would have won it.

To use another example, in Seaford, getting out just 1% more turnout with supporters of P4D-endorsed George Del Farno would have taken it for him, as Seaford lagged with abysmal 2% turnout.

Based on the last couple years I had an over/under of 400 votes for Laurel, but for the second straight year we fell short. (In the last three years we have gone from 582 votes in 2020, mostly in person, to 358 last year and just 283 this year. So my wife and I were almost 1% of the electorate, as I talked her into voting. As a reasonably local comparable, Woodbridge went from 282 in 2020 to 722 last year back down to 436 this year. I guess some races are more interesting than others.) Still, it’s worth noting that it’s not just our side trying to ratchet up turnout – supposedly the Democrats were doing their own GOTV drive for school board elections, but I’m not sure that has as much impact down here.

Obviously there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on the legislative races this fall, since everyone in the Delaware General Assembly is on the ballot this year. But the lesson we can learn from the school board race is that our side needs to figure out a way to cut through the noise and turn out voters.

For Laurel Schools 2022

I tried this last year and came close to success for a second time so why not try again?

After a three-year hiatus in the late teens, we in the Laurel School District are now on our third straight year of a contested election for school board. (I guess they wanted me to move into the district first?) Two years ago I voted for Jana Pugh, who won handily over the then-incumbent Brent Nichols only to see Nichols return in 2021 to win an open seat back by seven votes, outlasting Joey Deiter, who I supported.

If I thought Nichols seeking a third term was bad, guess what I get this year? Incumbent Linda Hitchens, the board president, is seeking a third term of her own and as I noted the other day she has signs all around her end of the district. I’d love to know who donated the money for the signage (or if they’re out of her pocket) but there are no financial reports yet for school board candidate committees insofar as I can tell.

One thing I noticed about Hitchens and her platform was an insinuation in an interview with the Laurel Star newspaper that she wanted to “help to rebuild what we had prior to the pandemic.” I’ll grant that some things were lost because the state closed schools (unnecessarily) but shouldn’t most of that rebuilding already be done? We’re through a full year of in-person classes now. (Those who went to private schools were back even sooner, and it appears from my limited experience with our church school and teachers therein that those students are pretty much caught up.) Add that to my experience in Maryland where school board members we appointed were term-limited to two five-year terms, which assured that new ideas would be tried, and to me our election would come down to either staying home or voting for her opponent, who got off to a slow start with me.

So I’m not the most enthusiastic backer of Joe Kelley, who’s obviously isn’t a politician based on how he’s run his campaign. However, the one claim to fame he has is a system that’s been tried for awhile in Arizona (and probably a few other areas) called Move On When Ready. As I read it, kids aren’t necessarily assigned to grade but work toward subject mastery, as in this example from an Arizona school system. I don’t think this is the be-all and end-all, but putting Kelley on the board brings a new perspective and idea to what seems to be a moribund school district.

One thing Kelley did get was the Patriots for Delaware endorsement; however, I don’t know if they liked his answers to their survey questions or if he was the only one of the two to respond. Unlike last year, the Democratic Socialists have something better to do than “recommend” school board candidates, nor could I find an endorsement list from the teachers’ union. (The Democrats will be doing a GOTV effort this weekend, but they’re close to the vest on who they’ll back.) But I did find a list of candidates from the Republican Party – not necessarily endorsed, but presumably registered Republican. (Among them is Linda Hitchens.)

What’s interesting to me is that the GOP and Patriots for Delaware are at odds on not just the Laurel race, but also in Delmar where Dawn Adkins Litchford is the P4D choice but Lauren Hudson is the Republican, and Woodbridge where the Republican is Rita Hovermale but the P4D backs Corey Grammer. They both agree in Seaford on George Del Farno, though. Out of 11 selected by Patriots for Delaware, only five are listed as Republicans, and one has been outed as a Libertarian.

But if you’re in the Laurel School District, don’t be afraid to vote like I will for Joe Kelley. While I think Linda Hitchens for her decade of service, it’s time for some fresh ideas.

A lawyer mom for Auditor?

As we slowly advance on the 2022 election, we’ve had a little bit of movement in a statewide race that merits attention.

I found out the other day that a lady by the name of Janice Lorrah had tossed her hat into the state Auditor of Accounts ring. In looking her up, I found that she’s an attorney turned stay-at-home mom whose claim to fame was being the impetus behind getting rid of the state’s mask mandate, stating:

“I went toe-to-toe with the most powerful man in the state — and his army of lawyers — telling him he didn’t have the authority to do what he was doing to Delaware’s children and the State’s response was to give me everything I asked for, less one day.”

Website, “Lorrah for Delaware.” Accessed April 26, 2022.

Perhaps that background may seem unusual for an Auditor position, but it’s worth noting that our current auditor’s educational background was based in biology and pharmacy, which she used to purchase a pharmacy until she sold it to become a real estate agent. Kathy McGuiness also served for several years on the Rehoboth Beach town council, but she’s more famous now for having felony and misdemeanor charges levied against her regarding her conduct in office.

It’s also not well-known that, despite the fact that Delaware is considered a “blue” state, the auditor’s office was in Republican hands for 30 years and seven elections. Tom Wagner only opted not to seek another term in 2018 due to health issues, which left the Auditor’s race to a novice candidate. Perhaps it’s figured that a Republican is best suited to be an auditor as a check and balance to an overly Democrat government.

So far, though, there’s not been much said about Lorrah’s entrance into the race as the first candidate to file for the office. (The embattled McGuiness has yet to file, let alone any Democrat challengers.) Between Facebook and Twitter, she has but 15 followers as of when I wrote this and I am two of them. (Compare to the 5,880 Julianne Murray has, although she’s on her second campaign in two years.) You may or may not like the approach, but since these offices only tend to get one Republican challenger Janice may be the one standing against the Democrat machine in November. Yet it sounds like she’s used to it.

The problem with being just opposition

Over the last few days I’ve gotten very frustrated with the system, so rather than get mad I think I’m going to not let good writing go to waste. More on that in a few paragraphs, but allow me the license to tell you a few reasons why I’m in such a way these days.

Here in my Laurel School District, we have an election for the one seat available on the school board this year. The two candidates are a lady who’s seeking her third term on the board and a gentleman who I’m guessing is a political newcomer, and very possibly may have ideas that can shake up the status quo his opponent would presumably maintain considering she’s the president of the board and seeking yet another five years running our public schools.

The interesting thing, though, is that Linda Hitchens, the lady in question, has run unopposed her first two times through in 2012 and 2017; thus, there was no actual election those years. So one would think that she would be easier to contend with because she’s never run a real campaign to keep her seat – once the filing deadline in her previous two tries passed with no opponent, the seat was hers by acclamation. However, she’s amassed the campaign money to pepper the district with signs in front of houses on the east end of the district near where she lives (and by the dentist office I went to Friday – no cavities!) There’s not much on my more rural end of the district, though.

So it’s very frustrating to me that, as a first-time candidate who has no name recognition in the district, that Joe Kelley – insofar as a search of the dreadfully inefficient Delaware state campaign finance website has shown – doesn’t even have a campaign finance account set up.

(As an aside, I can’t figure out why Delaware’s campaign finance system is so difficult while Maryland’s is very straightforward, when they use the same platform.)

Even more so, when Joe has the free opportunity to expound on his platform thanks to the Delaware Independent website, he doesn’t respond. Is he going to do the same to the Laurel Star newspaper if they come calling? I may not like the status quo – and you can’t get much more status quo than the board president – but if I’m not presented with a good alternative why should I even bother to vote? At that point, just having the votes of the people with signs is massive overkill for Hitchens, since I bet I saw 5o of them in driving around.

And then we have the case of one Christopher Hill, who is supposedly running for Congress as a Republican in the same primary as perennial candidate Lee Murphy. The only reason I knew this, though, was because I stumbled across Hill’s FEC filing on their website doing research for my election sidebar, which led me to find his own campaign website that I link to. But even the state Republican Party refers to him as “Chris Hall.” (Maybe they’ll change it after they read this.)

This came to mind because of a bizarre incident. A couple weeks back I received a text that went like this: “Hi Mike, Christopher Hill here. If you have a chance, give me a call about the race. (phone number.)”

This came on a late Sunday afternoon; in fact, I was at a Shorebirds game. So I couldn’t get back to him that evening; as it turned out it took a few days. But once I got back to Christopher via text I realized it was probably a case of mistaken identity since he said, “all I need is Smith’s cell number,” which I don’t know. So he apologized. (Then again, I should ask how he got my cell number.)

But if you look at Hill’s efforts thus far, you find a off-the-shelf Wix website he occasionally updates but no social media. If he thinks he’s going to beat Lee Murphy (let alone knock off LBR in November) with a campaign run from a website, well, life doesn’t work that way. Perhaps Hill believes he can make the rounds of various festivals and fairs this summer, such as the Delaware State Fair, but the groundwork should have been laid several months ago.

Now I don’t want to sound overly critical, but I believe there are a number of people who get into politics rashly. For example, right now at the top of Hill’s website in something like 72-point font is “Day 1: Drafting an article of impeachment against Biden for allowing the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to be invaded by illegal aliens.” A lot of people may agree – and, let me tell you, it’s more than those three states thanks to Joe Biden’s overnight air shuttle service – but that accounts for one day. And did he have to make this into a rant at the front of your campaign website? Is this a blog or a campaign he’s running?

In the case of Joe Kelley and our local school board, he filed for the job first but had to know that Linda would be running again. Did he plan for that likely occurrence?

Obviously, there are cases where circumstances get in the way of a campaign but there are too many times where I see people with good ideas about government crushed down by a system stacked against them. But then again, there are rules out there that all sides have to contend with so the playing field becomes more level. Somewhere in the past, all those people in the system were once neophyte candidates themselves but they figured out how to get into the clique. And that leads me to the idea of good writing not going to waste.

This was sort of a rash decision somewhat in the vein of running for office, but then again I’ve been there and done that several times in Ohio and Maryland. And if I cared to right here, I could tell you in several paragraphs about the exhaustive differences between those two situations which led me to essentially the same party office, but on a varying scale.

Long story short: after the 2020 election I hatched an idea that for awhile was going to be another book, and could yet end up being so after all once I blow the dust off of it.

I had set up five “how-to” main points, and had written out in draft form an introduction and lead-ins to a couple of these chapters. The reason I stopped was because I was in a quardry whether to write it straight up, or make it sort of a narrative that followed Joe Sixpack on his race to become mayor of his town – or did that sound too hokey? But the burning passion faded as other things took precedence so I haven’t worked on this project since the tail end of 2020.

Honestly I don’t know if this project will ever become a book, but in seeing how some of these nascent local campaigns are going I think it’s time to share what little expertise and observation I have and put up some of these ideas as blog posts. If I get enough of a positive reaction and more expert input – which was also part of the plan, but I hate asking for anything – maybe I can go forward with the project after all. (It’s not just 5:00 somewhere, there’s also an election somewhere.) Perhaps you can think of the next two to three blog posts as a lengthy book proposal, but over the next few days I’ll do some editing and drop these on you as a series of posts and see what reaction I get.

There was a reason I started writing all that back at the end of 2020, and I have to remember that everything occurs in the Lord’s time, doesn’t it?

Update 4/24: I did find a questionnaire Kelley filled out, from the League of Women Voters, so now I have a little bit of an idea where he stands. Most of my point still remains, though.

Odds and ends number 111

Here you are…more of those nuggets of bloggy goodness that take up anywhere from a couple sentences to a few paragraphs. They’re things that weren’t enough to merit a full post but plenty worth writing about anyway. It’s one of my longest ongoing series for a reason. So read on…

The election in question

If it was worth my writing about, it’s worth giving the results. On Saturday the city of Seaford agreed with me that the incumbents were worth retaining in an overwhelming fashion: Mayor David Genshaw won by a margin of 412 votes to 189 for challenger Pat A. Jones and City Council member Matt MacCoy won with an even 400 votes against challenger Stacie Spicer’s 199. In terms of percentages, Genshaw had 68.55% and MacCoy had 66.78%, which to me seem like a hearty mandate to keep on the trajectory they’ve established. Congratulations to both and hopefully this is the start of a year of victories for common sense in Delaware.

A little runaway

Another cause I’ve championed recently is the idea of an Article V convention, more popularly known as a convention of states. But I briefly had a pause when I read this paragraph in a story about federal involvement in Alabama’s state affairs:

That is, unless We the People join with the states to call a Convention of States. A Convention of States is called under Article V of the Constitution and has the power to propose constitutional amendments that limit the power, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government. 

What does this mean in plain English? Basically, amendments can be written that get the feds out of virtually every area of state policy. Healthcare, education, energy, the environment, and agriculture would be among the host of issues that could be left to exclusively state control.

“Article V Patriot,” “White House says they’re going to start targeting state lawmakers working to protect children from transgender surgeries, radical sexual ideology,” Convention of States Action, April 8, 2022. Emphasis in original.

Perhaps the biggest fear that opponents of an Article V convention have is the idea of a “runaway convention” where the people who ostensibly meet to write amendments that “limit the power, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government” instead decide to do away with the Bill of Rights. While amendments can be written to get the federal government off the backs of the states, it follows that their role could be abolished, too.

I suppose the fact that 38 states have to ratify any amendment gives us a little bit of protection in that regard, as there would probably be 13 states that hold on to restraints on federal power. Unfortunately, there are probably as many that would oppose any conservative amendments out of spite and that’s the other area where work is needed.

I just didn’t think that particular analogy is a good “sell” for the CoS.

Thirty-eight with an asterisk*

Speaking of Constitutional amendments I got an e-mail from my old liberal pal Rick Weiland, who has branched out from his lack of success in South Dakota to a similar lack of grifting aptitude on a nationwide basis. A few weeks back he claimed it was time to enact the Equal Rights Amendment because it had passed in 38 states.

In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and also the last state needed to meet all constitutional requirements to allow it to finally become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The ERA will add protections to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens, regardless of gender, nationwide.

We’re 4 months into 2022 and the ERA has not been published by the Archivist. The Archivist has an administrative duty to publish the amendment and thus officially add it to the Constitution, but refuses to overrule a Trump administration roadblock to do it.

Rick Weiland, “It’s time for the Equal Rights Amendment,” April 7, 2022. Emphasis in original.

That “Trump administration roadblock” is the logical result of five states since rescinding their ratification, either by outright legislation or by its not being ratified prior to a Congressionally-imposed deadline in 1982. Meanwhile, ERA advocates claim they have the numbers but need Congress to render inoperative both the deadline and the recissions, pointing to the length of time it took to pass the 27th Amendment – first proposed as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, it wasn’t ratified until 1992. (However, Congress put no time limit on that one.) Their roadblock is the Republicans in the Senate, who have threatened to filibuster the Senate resolution (the House passed its version with a narrow majority.)

As I’ve stated from almost the beginning of this website, instead of an ERA this would be a better amendment:

Congress shall make no law that codifies discrimination for or against any person based on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This Amendment shall also be construed to include a prohibition on Congress enacting additional criminal code or punishment solely based on these factors.

Pretty cut and dried, isn’t it? No mealy-mouthed “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” It’s “Congress shall make no law.” Let’s get that equal rights amendment done.

Creating more informed voters

Four years ago I was a Maryland panelist for iVoter Guide, which was a fun experience and pretty natural for me because I liked doing the research.

Well, they’ve been on the hunt for more volunteers and I reckon that their time to deal with Delaware and Maryland is coming, now that we’ve finally reached the oft-delayed filing deadline in Maryland. (Delaware’s filing deadline isn’t until July but they only have one federal race, for Congress. So they’re probably not in need of much help.)

Now, it’s possible you might be needed in another state, but it’s still an interesting process that anyone from concerned citizens to political junkies can find a part in. So why not do your part? (I think I will, hopefully in Delaware but I may be interested in other states like Ohio and Michigan, since that’s the area in and around the 419 I grew up in.) It’s much easier than creating a website from scratch.

A holiday from a boondoggle

As I wrote this over the weekend, Maryland drivers were swarming gas pumps in the state to beat the end of a gas tax holiday that expired at the stroke of midnight on Easter Sunday. But David T. Stevenson of the Caesar Rodney Institute proposes an even better holiday: the state of Delaware enacting a “tax-free carbon holiday.”

As Stevenson explains, the state of Delaware – like several other liberal-run hellholes in the Northeast – joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2009. Some state have rescinded their memberships since, but the remainder soak their local utilities by demanding a fee for each ton of carbon produced, with the state deciding what to do with the proceeds.

In Delaware’s case, 65% of the RGGI proceeds go to a non-profit that’s supposed to divvy out grants for energy efficiency projects, but instead has been hoarding cash to the tune of an estimated $16 to $17 million last year, bring its total up to nearly $100 million, according to Stevenson. The other 35% is designated for the state’s Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC), which administers programs assisting low-income consumers with the energy bills and weatherizing their dwellings. (In other words, wealth transfer.) Stevenson claims DNREC is sitting on its own cash surplus of $20 to $25 million.

We just saw the passage of a bill that uses a portion of the federally-fueled state surplus to give a $300 check to any Delaware resident who paid taxes in 2020. (That still doesn’t make up for what Uncle Sam raped us for, but regardless…) Perhaps the state can allow for an appropriate credit to any electric ratepayer in the state to soak up this surplus, which is basically money they paid as part of their utility bills anyway. Stevenson concludes that, “We note that New Hampshire returns RGGI revenue to electric customers, and Connecticut sends all RGGI revenue to its General Fund.” I like that first idea, and it can be the prelude to winding down our participation in this long-standing mistake.

The perpetual emergency

While AND Magazine has put up a lot of great content since I last produced odds and ends – including a look at upcoming election fraud, the issue with transgender men demanding to be placed in women’s prisons, and the situation on the ground in Afghanistan now that the Taliban is in full control – I’m choosing just one to discuss, the perpetual emergency.

The CCP virus caused a lot of disruption in our lives, but none greater than the loss of our liberty. As author Sam Faddis notes in his opening:

At the heart of the debate over COVID-19 restrictions is the distinction between rights and privileges. For most of human history some supreme authority, – a king, a sultan, a class of aristocrats – has presumed to grant to the common people certain privileges. By definition, as privileges, they can be granted, and they can be taken away.

The American concept of liberty is built on something fundamentally different. We do not enjoy privileges. We have rights. They are enshrined in the Constitution, but they are given to us by our Creator. We do not have the right to free speech, because some ‘body of humans’ granted it to us. We were born with it, and it cannot be taken away.

For two years now powerful interests in this country have attempted to change this. They have used all the power at their discretion to convert our rights into privileges that can be taken away whenever the powers that be decide some “emergency” requires it.

The real danger therein is obvious. Once you have enshrined the principle that an “emergency” justifies the revocation of God-given rights, it requires only the declaration of an “emergency” to do it again. And again.

Sam Faddis, “There Will Always Be An Emergency – The Assault On Our Liberties Has Just Begun,” AND Magazine, March 20, 2022.

In this case, Faddis continues on to talk about how rising fuel prices are the new “emergency.” Instead of the state cutting us a check, though, he details some of the ideas the International Energy Agency – a NGO with no ties to our government – would have enforced on our nation: reduced speed limits, mandatory work from home three days a week, car-free Sundays, cutting prices on mass transit, alternate-day car access to big cities…and the list goes on.

You’ll notice two things about this: one, our government is already thinking about ways to mandate this somehow, and two, they’re not discussing the most obvious solution, which would be to increase the supply of fuel to meet demand. In an effort to save face, the Biden regime restarted oil leases on federal lands, but at a greatly reduced and limited clip compared to the previous administration, where $2 a gallon gas was not uncommon.

But liberty lost is not easily regained, even if you elect the right people. Speaking of that:

An opponent to Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney may be the most hated politician in Wyoming (and perhaps much of the rest of the nation.) Polling is as sparse as people in America’s least-populated state, but a story from last summer in The Federalist suggested she has very little support in the state anymore.

Yet there may be a problem here, and I’m sure there are a few in the Cheney camp (which is essentially the national GOP establishment) who aren’t helping to create it by encouraging additional stalking horses to water down and spread out opposition in the Republican primary August 16. It’s possible Liz Cheney could win a huge primary with just 30% of the vote, so where would those 70% of Republicans and conservative independents turn?

Well, it turns out that the Constitution Party has a ballot spot in Wyoming and they have already selected their candidate, an erstwhile Republican by the name of Marissa Selvig. “I am beyond excited that it is official, and I am even more excited for the voters of Wyoming to have a real, constitutional choice in this race,” Selvig said in a party release. “It is long past time our elected officials honor their Oath to ‘uphold and defend’ the Constitution with integrity and honesty. That is exactly what I intend to do when I am elected in November.”

Now I’m not going to claim I know what’s best for Wyoming, but on a broad scale her platform is both well-written and common-sense. If it comes down to a four-way race between a Democrat, Libertarian, Cheney, and Selvig (those four parties were on the 2020 ballot) it will be interesting to see how Marissa does. Even if Cheney loses the primary, though, it’s possible the sheen has come off the GOP in The Equality State.

And yes, just to answer any naysayers about my Seaford endorsements, Marissa is a woman I would vote for.

A better offer

We all know that Elon Musk has offered to purchase Twitter and take it private, but given the “poison pill” resistance put up by Twitter’s current major stockholders perhaps there’s another way to introduce Musk to the world of social media – and it would cost Musk far less.

Andrew Torba, CEO of Gab, wrote this as part of an open offer to Musk:

We built our own servers, our own email services, our own payment processor, and so much more not because we wanted to, but because we had no choice if we were going to continue to exist.

What we are missing at the moment is an ISP. I fear that the next big leap of censorship is at the ISP level, with ISP’s blocking access to Gab.com. You solve that problem with Starlink. Together we can build infrastructure for a free speech internet.

I am willing to offer you a Board seat along with equity in the company in exchange for you selling your Twitter position and investing $2B into Gab. My offer is my best and final offer.

Andrew Torba, “Gab.com’s Offer To Elon Musk,” April 14, 2022.

For that matter, I could have the same issue with my ISP. Even though I’ve had the same server company for the sixteen-plus years I’ve had monoblogue, they are on at least the third owner I’m aware of and who knows how tolerant they will remain. Obviously I don’t have the coin for my own infrastructure, and I suppose that since this a hobby/obsession for me that’s the way it will stay.

But a few grand would be nice for my own server…heck, I’ll even do Starlink even though the state is finally contracting to bring me more reliable broadband.

The Delaware Way, explained once again

I could almost put this in the category of “duh” but since Rep. Bryan Shupe is one of those who tries not to let partisanship cloud his worldview, I’ll refrain.

But he brings up something that does belong in the category of elections matter: if you are a Republican in the Delaware General Assembly, your bill has a less than 50-50 chance of even getting a hearing in committee.

In the House Administration Committee during the 150th General Assembly, 67% of the bill submitted to this committed were heard. Of the bills submitted by the majority party, 86% of them were heard by the committee. Of the bills submitted by the minority party, only 38% of them were heard by the committee. In other words, 62% of bills submitted by the minority party were never heard in committee.

During the 151st Committee, which will end on June (30th), 2022, 66% of the bill submitted to the committee so far has been heard. Of the bills submitted by the majority party, so far 78% of them have been heard by the committee. Of the bills submitted by the minority party, so far only 42% of them have been heard by the committee. In other words, 58% of bills submitted by the minority party have not been heard in committee so far.

There seems to be a correlation between what party submits the bill and if the bill will be heard in this committee. 

Rep. Bryan Shupe, “Politics overriding House rules,” March 31, 2022.

There would be a bit of research involved, but it’s worth noting that the online records of the Delaware General Assembly date back to the 140th session (1998-2000.) The accusation here is damning enough, but the compare and contrast would be even better – back then the parties were more congenial with one another, with part of the reason being that the House was Republican-controlled through 2008 while the State Senate has been controlled by Democrats for at least 30 years, per Ballotpedia. It would be eye-opening to see how prior performance, particular in the era of GOP control of the House, compares to that of today.

Programming note

It’s that time of year again: the Shorebird of the Month will return for another year.

I’ve traditionally done it the first Thursday of the month, but on months where Thursday falls on the 1st or 2nd I wait until the next one. So gazing at my calendar, and bearing in mind how the best-laid plans go, these are the projected SotM dates: May 5, June 9, July 7, August 4, and September 15. The September date is so late because we have ten games currently scheduled in September – if they don’t play at least ten I will combine August and September numbers and only pick one set for the month-plus, but I won’t know that until the regular season ends September 11. Shorebird of the Year will follow a week later and picks and pans the week after that.

Aside from that, I’ll start collecting items that interest me now for the next edition of odds and ends.

Will Seaford vote for change?

If you live in my little corner of Sussex County, you know that Seaford is a vital part of the community. It’s the largest Sussex town on the U.S. 13 corridor, and it’s now home to a local Amazon processing facility servicing southern Delaware and the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland that’s providing dozens of new jobs in a long-shuttered factory.

On Saturday, the city will have an election that, in my opinion, will determine whether the town continues to make a comeback from its long period of doldrums or falls back into the same old, same old. I don’t live in the town, but since it’s an important part of life in this part of the county I think this election deserves some additional perspective – moreso than the boilerplate look provided by Delaware Online. (A much better overview was provided by the Delaware Independent website.)

In Saturday’s election, two seats are up for grabs: Mayor David Genshaw, who has been mayor since being appointed in 2013, is running for another two-year term while Council member Matt MacCoy is running for re-election to his second three-year term. Respectively, they are being challenged by Pat A. Jones and Stacie Spicer.

In reading the media coverage of this election, it’s clear that Seaford’s election wouldn’t attract much notice except for one issue: the fetal remains ordinance they narrowly passed late last year in response to a new Planned Parenthood office opening in Seaford a few months earlier. With the news of possible “waste-to-energy” incineration of remains from aborted babies, Seaford may have been ahead of its time on that one; regardless, enforcement of the law remains on hold due to claims the ordinance is illegal and that state law already covers the subject.

But the city under Genshaw has proven itself to be unafraid of being a bastion of sanity in a state dominated by Democrats in various shades of blue. In 2018 the city attracted notice by passing a right-to-work law after Sussex County bailed out of their own effort to become a right-to-work county. A proposal like that made sense for a city with a plethora of available industrial space thanks to Dupont winding down its operations over several decades. But getting Amazon in that complex is certainly a feather in the cap of the incumbents: while Genshaw is more low-key, I see MacCoy regularly on social media outlining his efforts to attract new business to the city, and the results. And he’s honest: Seaford isn’t a fit for every business because of its size and relative income level compared to towns on the beach side of Sussex County. Through the decline of the last few decades, though, there are opportunities for new businesses to start up and perhaps it’s a subject which can worked on in the next term regardless of who wins.

The re-election of Genshaw and MacCoy isn’t a shoo-in, though. And it’s not just because of the fetal remains law controversy, but also because a change in state law expanded the universe of Seaford voters: instead of separate registrations for city and county/state/federal elections, Seaford now allows all voters who are registered in the city to vote, which grows the possible number of voters over threefold. (There are also a small number of non-residents who own property in the city who can vote, too. That number wasn’t a great percentage of the original voter universe, but it’s tiny now.) It’s probable mayoral challenger Pat A. Jones is banking on that larger possible turnout, particularly since a significant number are minority voters. (Jones is the only black person running for office in Seaford this time around.)

Jones ran for mayor unsuccessfully a decade ago, after a lengthy stint on Seaford City Council. What bothers me most about her candidacy is something she said in the Delaware Independent interview:

Talking to constituents and hearing some of the concerns that are going on now, that’s one of the main reasons I decided to come back to the table. Not to mention that we need women on Council. Because when I served on Council, there were three women on Council and (now) there are none. And the men are making decisions that concern women, and not every woman is happy with some of the decisions that are made because we don’t even have a voice at the table.

Andrew Sharp, “Meet the candidates in Seaford’s upcoming election”, Delaware Independent, March 21, 2022.

I can’t speak to who has run for office in Seaford, but it seems to me that women have had plenty of opportunities to make their bids. We have a representative in Congress who has that same sort of attitude, deserving election simply because she’s a black woman. Unfortunately, Jones was on Seaford City Council during a period when the city was indeed declining. And while she has a legitimate point about the lack of representation among residents on the east side of Seaford, that issue can be rectified by creating a hybrid system of perhaps three districts and two at-large seats, in order to insure property owners who may have holdings in different districts get a vote. It’s an issue she can work toward as an activist.

As for the motivations of Stacie Spicer, a quote I found in the Delaware Public Media coverage of the fetal remains debate explained a lot:

Stacy (sic) Spicer came to the city council meeting with her mother and daughter, all residents of Seaford.

Spicer says the timing of this ordinance can’t be a coincidence, with Planned Parenthood of Delaware opening a new clinic in the city recently, offering abortions alongside many other reproductive health services.

“If you know anything about Seaford we definitely need a Planned Parenthood,” says Spicer, “Just our demographic, we have a lot of lower socioeconomic individuals here and I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

Spicer says an ordinance like this is going to hinder those low income folks from being able to access abortion services.

Roman Battaglia, “Seaford passes fetal remains measure, now faces legal challenge,” Delaware Public Media, December 14, 2021.

She also added in the Delaware Independent:

First, the State of Delaware already has code in place that indicates how remains are handled. For those who are concerned about law and order understand that city law cannot supersede state law. Furthermore, this ordinance also places a disproportionate financial as well as emotional burden on families.

Sharp, Ibid.

First of all, Seaford doesn’t need a Planned Parenthood. It’s interesting that their previous office was in Rehoboth, where more of the Sussex population resides. However, this side of the county is where more of the minority residents reside. Take from that what you will.

City law cannot supersede state law but it can supplement it. In many cases, state law is a floor that a municipality can choose to exceed if it desires: think of a 35 mph zone set by the state. The city can choose to make it 25 mph if they desire, but they can’t make it a 45 mph zone. Seaford was adding restrictions that Attorney General Kathy Jennings didn’t like because she’s a far-left Democrat, not because they violate state law.

Basically we have found out why the two women ran for office. (It’s also apparent from the headline of the Delaware Online story that led with “2 women will challenge the mayor and councilman.”)

In one capacity or another, I have been represented or led by elected women for most of my adult life. In the last state election I voted for women in the top two positions of the ballot, plus for U.S. Senate – give me the right woman for the office and I’ll vote for her. (One example: Julianne Murray for Delaware Attorney General.)

But when the campaign comes down to “vote for me because of my gender” and the motivation for the candidates to run involves overturning a common-sense law improperly being challenged by the state, I say no.

On Saturday, Seaford is encouraged to vote to keep David Genshaw as Seaford mayor and Matt MacCoy on Seaford City Council.

Can things really be changed with a Convention of States?

It’s a funny thing: when I last broached this subject I noted that the momentum toward a Convention of States had stalled out as no state had passed a call for an Article V Constitutional convention in nearly three years. Apparently, though, getting past the CCP virus has popped the cork on the movement because in the nearly three months since I last wrote on the subject the CoS effort has gained the support of Wisconsin, Nebraska, West Virginia, and most recently South Carolina, bringing the total to 19. They’ve also come closer to melting away opposition in Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota and there was even testimony on a CoS bill in Maryland – yes, Maryland.

Granted, the Maryland bill didn’t get beyond the hearing stage – and it will probably never get beyond that unless there is a sea change in their General Assembly beginning this fall – but the fact that nearly half of their Republican delegation co-sponsored the measure is encouraging, especially since the 2021 version only had a sole sponsor. (What is not encouraging is the lack of interest from the lower Eastern Shore delegation, from which only Delegates Johnny Mautz and Charles Otto were co-sponsors. That leaves Delegates Chris Adams, Carl Anderton, and Wayne Hartman along with both lower Shore Senators, Addie Eckardt and Mary Beth Carozza out of the picture. It goes without saying that Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes wouldn’t be a backer; after all, she just voted for allowing easier access to baby murder.) On the other hand, a Democrat-sponsored Article V resolution to protect “voting rights” was not introduced this session after failing to advance in a two-year run in the MGA from 2020 to 2021.

Shamefully, Delaware is one of those states where a CoS resolution hasn’t been introduced in recent years (more on that in a bit.)

One thing the CoS has been circulating of late is an endorsement of sorts from radio host Glenn Beck, who basically told his audience that, “a convention of states is the best thing we can do” to rein in government. Beck explained that the process would not be open to making other changes in the Constitution besides those which are spelled out, which is why the Democrats in Maryland had to create their own proposal rather than just jumping on board the Republican Article V resolution figuring they could take it over.

I noted back in January why I’ve begun to feel this is the better solution to our longstanding issues with government, but let me give you another analogy: if you are related to an alcoholic, do you just let them continue down their self-destructive path or do you get together with caring friends and family to do an intervention? Government will not fix itself because there are too many in it for themselves and their little fiefdoms of power, so someone else has to come along to starve that beast.

I’ve been in politics long enough to see what normally happens with “reformers” when they are first elected to office. They promise the moon but once they get there the excuses begin and the reform becomes going along to get along. The people the TEA Party sent to Congress in 2010 first said they couldn’t do anything because they only had half of Congress. In 2014, once they got a Senate majority, they bemoaned the fact that Obama was still in office, and promised action once a Republican was elected President.

In 2016, we got the ultimate reformer in Donald Trump and what did Congress do? Well, maybe it’s better to to say what they didn’t do: after six years of promising to repeal Obamacare, when they had the opportunity they didn’t do a thing – not even the damned “repeal and replace.” We got a temporary tax cut that the Democrats are already trying to dismantle, and government is bigger than ever because, as fast as President Trump was undoing regulation, the Biden regime is working triple-time to replace it, and then some. For having the barest of Congressional majorities, the Democrats are doing more to pursue their regressive agenda than those who promised the TEA Party the swamp would be drained ever did.

We could elect 60 new conservative House members this fall and somehow get to a filibuster-proof Republican majority in the Senate, while overcoming the Democrats’ best effort to swipe the election in 2024 with Trump, DeSantis, or whoever but there would still be excuses. Perhaps an external intervention is in order here?

Obviously there is risk in “imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting the terms for office for its officials and members of Congress.” Balancing the budget may mean significant new taxes, the Swamp can figure out workarounds on limits to power and jurisdiction, and term limits don’t apply to entrenched bureaucrats that are much of the problem. But if we can get the momentum in putting together a Constitutional convention, perhaps we can work at the problem in a new manner. If the regressives are against it, claiming, “The constitutional convention idea is a special interest-funded, anti-democratic endeavor that will almost certainly strip power from the American people, while leaving our cherished constitutional rights up for grabs,” then maybe it’s not such a bad idea. That’s pretty much how they play, isn’t it?

In looking up the author of that op-ed, Claire Snyder-Hall, I found out she is the executive director for Common Cause Delaware, a self-described “nonpartisan citizens lobby, dedicated to fostering open, honest and accountable government at every level.” You would think they would be for a more limited government because there’s less incentive to be secretive, dishonest, and unaccountable when the honey pot is smaller, but no. One of their “accomplishments” is that they:

…was also the primary organization responsible for stopping the dangerous legislation to call for a Constitutional Convention in 2016.

(…)

Recent Activities

May 2016

Vote on House Concurrent Resolution 60 – Rescinding the Article V Call for a Constitutional Convention. 

Delaware rescinded all calls for a Constitutional Convention. House and Senate leaders joined with Common Cause Delaware to pass HCR 60 and stopped Delaware from going down a dangerous path. Common Cause made a difference by educating and opposing the convening of a Constitutional Convention.

Common Cause website, “About Us” and “Our History.” Accessed April 12, 2022.

If you recall from January, that HCR60 vote was one featured on that year’s monoblogue Accountability Project. A vote against HCR60 was a proper vote. But the first part of that blockquote was why I changed the paragraph above: it turns out there was legislation introduced in 2015 to join the call for convention, which unfortunately was stricken in 2016. I’d love to have any of the Senators involved (Dave Lawson, who was the sponsor, Gerald Hocker, or Colin Bonini) explain why it was stricken. (I presume it means the same as withdrawn, which is a term I’m more familiar with because Maryland uses it.) I wish there was some sort of voting record on it as there was with HCR60, but maybe we can get some insight from the trio.

So there is precedent in this state, and maybe this idea is something we can keep in our back pocket for this fall’s campaign. It’s time to get the First State to be on this list with nineteen or more of its brethren. What do we have to lose?

A quick leg up for Palin

It didn’t even take a day for the Congressional candidacy of Alaska’s “mama grizzly” Sarah Palin to gain a key backer: our 45th President.

Wonderful patriot Sarah Palin of Alaska just announced that she is running for Congress, and that means there will be a true America First fighter on the ballot to replace the late and legendary Congressman Don Young. Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me very early in 2016, and we won big. Now, it’s my turn! Sarah has been a champion for Alaska values, Alaska energy, Alaska jobs, and the great people of Alaska. She was one of the most popular Governors because she stood up to corruption in both State Government and the Fake News Media. Sarah lifted the McCain presidential campaign out of the dumps despite the fact that she had to endure some very evil, stupid, and jealous people within the campaign itself. They were out to destroy her, but she didn’t let that happen. Sarah Palin is tough and smart and will never back down, and I am proud to give her my Complete and Total Endorsement, and encourage all Republicans to unite behind this wonderful person and her campaign to put America First!

Donald Trump, “Endorsement of Sarah Palin,” April 3, 2022.

It’s a campaign that brings back my own memories of a time when the TEA Party was looking for a leader but found out that the media was going to absolutely hound anyone who promoted a conservative platform. While much of the enthusiasm and support of the 2008 McCain campaign was because of Palin, she indeed had to put up with “very evil, stupid, and jealous” people inside and outside her campaign. (The selection of Palin was once described as a “Hail Mary” but McCain was also rumored to be considering Democrat Joe Lieberman as his running mate. That would have been throwing from the tailgate party outside the stadium.)

There are something like 40 or 50 candidates already lined up to try and win the seat, which is interesting in that it will be a very short gig for the winner. I presume most of these candidates are also trying to be placed on the November ballot to run for the position on a longer basis. (The late Rep. Don Young, who was the lone Alaska representative, served for nearly a half-century and was ironically first elected in a special election himself: Mark Begich won the 1972 Congressional race over Young despite dying in a plane crash a few weeks before the election, but Young won the special election to succeed him.)

Given her name ID in Alaska, it’s likely Palin will vault to the front of the field. But Alaska has ranked-choice voting, meaning Palin could get the largest plurality of the votes yet lose to someone who had more second-choice votes.

One of the biggest “what ifs” in modern politics is what would have happened with Palin had she not been hounded out of office by lawfare after her loss as part of the McCain ticket. Should Palin have completed her term in office and been re-elected in 2010, as the most recent vice-Presidential pick she would have been the GOP favorite to oppose Barack Obama in 2012, and she would have done so with massive TEA Party support. The Beltway liberals couldn’t have had that – it may have been a Donald Trump-style win for Palin as the working-class voters came from out of the woodwork to shock Obama and the Democrats.

Palin’s no spring chicken anymore – I know because her and I are just a few months apart in age – but if you go by Don Young standards she still has three decades to serve. Even if she wins, though, I don’t see Presidential aspirations in her immediate future: it’s exceedingly difficult to get much traction in that kind of race from a House seat where you are one in 535, even if you were Speaker like Newt Gingrich was. On the other hand, Alaska’s next Senate race after this year isn’t until 2026, and it’s easier to be nominated for the White House from the Senate – plus she would have had four years in the House to learn the ropes in Washington. Would Palin 2028 or Palin 2032 be a possibility? She would still only be in her sixties, much younger than a Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Perhaps we’ll see if the Mama Grizzly still has a little bit of mojo – but she has to win this election first.

More revised and extended remarks

I’ve said this before, although it’s been awhile: I don’t like wasting my good writing. Like odds and ends I collect in my e-mail box that I save for later comment, I need to get better at the habit of sharing what I say on someone’s social media to this audience because the Venn diagram of their readership and my readership doesn’t always intersect.

This is set up by a post that simply said “The Empire strikes back.” What the writer meant was that current Maryland governor Larry Hogan formerly endorsed the recently-resigned Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz as his successor – essentially in response to a now months-old endorsement of Delegate Daniel Cox for the same job by Donald Trump. Along with my belief that Hogan’s endorsement was already “baked into the cake” in this race based on Trump’s backing, it was a race I commented on the other day. But I wanted to expand on my thoughts after a post in response by longtime Maryland politico Carmen Amedori:

Lots of luck with that. 95% of MD GOP voted for Trump. Meaning 95% will not vote for an anti Trump endorsement. In a fair election Dan wins.

Carmen Amedori, former Maryland Delegate and (briefly) candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2010.

Once that post went up, another longtime Republican, Scott Shaffer, responded:

You’re quoting a “news” site written by the LG candidate? Lol. Not to mention that a small group of Lincoln Day Dinner attendees is much different from primary voters as a whole.

Scott Shaffer, longtime Republican Party leader.

I think the website is written by the LG candidate’s husband but anyway, Scott’s a good guy – although we’ve been on opposite sides at times over the years. His claim to fame here was his unsuccessful bid to oust Louis Pope as Maryland’s National Committeeman in 2012.

So I felt I needed to add a couple pennies to this interesting race – better than much of anything going on in Delaware, that’s for sure.

Of the MDGOP who showed up to vote in 2016 and 2020, Carmen is probably pretty close when she says 95%. (I think the polling average was in the low 90s.) But that only counts the ones who weren’t discouraged enough by the candidates to stay home. The tell would be turnout % among Rs and Ds, but that doesn’t seem to be a number easily chased down for 2020 thanks to the unique nature of the election.

On the other hand, consider the poll Carmen cites was a DGA poll, so they’re trying to bump up support for the viable candidate they believe is easiest for them to beat. Unfortunately, in Maryland a lot of “independent” voters believe all the lies and half-truths told about Donald Trump, which is why the D’s try to tie all R candidates to him. (It also obfuscates their woeful record.)

The ones who were believers in the Trump “America First” agenda will most likely vote for Dan. Whether it will be enough to win a primary is an open question; however, the constantly changing primary date may prove to Dan’s advantage because I believe he has the more passionate voters.

“Not to mention that a small group of Lincoln Day Dinner attendees is much different from primary voters as a whole.”

You are aware these are the influencers in the local GOP, right? Obviously if Kelly won a straw poll at the AA Lincoln Day Dinner it would be presented as proof she’s the better candidate, despite the fact it’s still a miniscule number of voters.

I’d love to see a reputable poll of the race, but no one has really polled it according to RCP. This would document the amount of Hogan fatigue in the MDGOP.

My social media response.

Scott contended that Cox would be “Brian Murphy 2.0” because he doesn’t have a ton of name recognition and it’s possible he may be right. But I don’t think either of the two have a ton of name ID and the Maryland media is going to be vacuumed up by all the Democrats fighting for airtime prior to the primary. To me, it’s a race that’s Kelly’s to lose but if Larry Hogan keeps playing the RINO the association with Larry may hurt her.

Mt. Hermon Plow Days 2022 in pictures and text

Not bad for a repeat.

You may recall that the 2021 version was the icebreaker to what became a long series of return events after the Wuhan flu unnecessarily wiped out a year of our lives. This year marks the return to normalcy for the event, with one exception: the wind was once again not a factor. While we didn’t have the shirtsleeve weather that we were blessed with last year (a week later than normal because of when Easter fell) the weather was still superb for early spring on Delmarva, with sunny skies complementing temperatures in the low 50s.

Because a lot about the event is constant year-to-year, I was going to have a goal of sticking close to the number of photos from last year, but like a late April Fool’s joke I blew through that number. However, I did cull a few from my initial pass at it and kept it under 20. As always the captions help add to the thousand words.

We’re going to start this tale by telling you its location. Since Plow Days began it’s always been at this little produce farm out Mount Hermon Road. It’s about as unpretentious a location as you’ll find: anywhere that flips its calendar from 15 to 16 with a touch of marker or paint doesn’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to putting on airs. It’s perfect for Plow Days.

I heard a little of the story behind the Adkins farm: turns out the creator of Plow Days grew up as a neighbor of this farm’s patriarch, Milbourne Adkins – who also grew up to be a pastor of a nearby church. So when Oren Perdue was looking for a venue, they struck a deal: get some of the Adkins ground ready for the season in return for an opportunity for sharing the Perdue ministry and providing a day of real horsepower and wholesome family-friendly entertainment.

It’s a larger than life rendition of Pastor Oren Perdue, the founder of the Salisbury Baptist Temple. This photo graces the space next to the sign-up table for their Summer Fun camp, which for over 30 years has been held in and around SBT. Kim’s daughter is an “alumnus” of the camp she attended regularly for several years growing up.

Pastor Perdue continued, noting his parents bought the farm he grew up on for $41 an acre – this was back in the Depression era, of course. Many years later, with his mother in ill health, it sold for many times that. He claimed that a bumper crop of cucumbers in its first year paid off the land, but wistfully noted it’s a lot tougher on farmers today. (If I may add my take on his story – which I don’t doubt for a second – the farms of today are in the hundreds or even thousands of acres and grow a multitude of crops. I live in the midst of one.)

Here’s the real Oren Perdue, still going strong in his later years. While he retired as pastor of Salisbury Baptist Temple a few years back and more recently turned over the reins of the Summer Fun camp to his longtime trusted assistant, he still helps out with both as he can. And he puts on this event each spring.

This event, then, is a reminder of a time that the much younger Perdue wasn’t all that far removed from. One thing I missed in my photo essay from last year was the corn shelling, but not this time. I have another omission made right this year, but I’m saving it for later.

If you didn’t know what this horse was up to by the angle of my photo, I’ll show you the result. As Pastor Perdue said, sometimes the horse is a bit reluctant to go up there but once he’s there he does fine. The way I see it, that’s just an uphill treadmill for modern-day walkers, right? Just happens to be horse-powered.
Somebody’s going to eat this all-natural corn when it’s ground into cornmeal. If nothing else, the local birds and wildlife will have a field day. Something tells me, though, that they were a little more careful gathering the corn in the old days.

As I wrote up above, part of the deal was getting the back 40 for the Adkins farm plowed. This team did a nice job in an environment that’s not as rural as it once was.

Try as I might to capture an idyllic rural scene, that storage facility just down the road wasn’t going to cooperate, or go anywhere.

While Pastor Perdue’s ministry and musings are a valuable part of the proceedings, Plow Days also gives the young ones an introduction to rural history and farm animals they may not normally see up close.

Honestly I’m not sure if this team was done for the day or awaiting its shift, but these pairs were a popular item. The ten teams for the event came from Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina.
Wagon rides were also a hit with kids and adults alike, creating some of the longest lines around at the peak of the day. I believe this event was added back after being absent last year.
The kids loved the kids. Yes, I had to go there – after all, you need something to keep our young ones off the phones (or at least use them simply for taking pictures.)
I wonder how the conversations went after, “Dad, what’s that little building there for?” I suspect the answers were met with either high-pitched giggles or a sigh of “eeeeeewwwwww!” (That may have also occurred if one of the horses left some road apples about.) Thank goodness there were more modern facilities available, although it’s fair to note the concept here hasn’t really changed. Anyway, enough with the bathroom humor.

The event kept its usual attractions of good food and local craftspeople hawking their wares on a well-traveled midway.

I think there were more food vendors than last year, so hungry people had a good choice of fare.
This is one end of the midway. The rock climbing wall made a return trip, keeping the kids captivated. And for whatever reason, this year’s predominant color of Plow Days swag was red.
At the other end of the midway was our friend Brent Zockoll and his pottery. He’s began to create a little specialty of pottery featuring horsehair; needless to say, it’s a big hit among this crowd.
Brent Zockoll (in the green cap, with the dirty hands) was a main attraction as he threw clay today. Nothing like combining business and pleasure on a lovely spring day.

It’s worth giving you a little insight on Brent since he’s become something of a success story. Nine years ago Brent left his sales job to pursue his passion of creating pottery, and after a few fits and starts (including a fire that heavily damaged his garage/studio) he’s made a go of the business – an endeavor he also uses to spread the Gospel.

As for my other omission made right: the other thing I missed getting a picture of last year was the entertainment. Once again it was the Mt. Olivet String Band, but this time I can show you what they look like.

The Mt. Olivet String Band in all its glory, putting a bluegrass spin on Americana favorites. You probably know the guy on the right by his soothing voice if not his face: it’s Charles Paparella, better known as the “Travels with Charlie” guy on the local news.

Although it seemingly contradicts the Book of Ecclesiastes, I have to tell you there were a few new things under the sun this year. (Perhaps they were only new to me.)

One thing was the sharp antique pickup truck below, which complemented the little maroon car I pictured last year. (I almost included a picture of its rumble seat, but it ended up on the cutting room floor.) But there’s a story behind that truck, too.

It’s a nice old Ford truck from D. Lombardo and Sons that presumably (from its Maryland plate) dates back to 1925. That’s Mrs. Lombardo standing at right, supporting her husband’s campaign.

It occurred to me as we were on our way (we had to run another errand before we went to Plow Days) that I would likely find hot and cold running politicians there, since it’s an election year in Wicomico County. The Lombardo in question is Darren Lombardo, and he’s running for the county school board. In talking to him I realized he is worth checking out because he has a philosophy regarding school choice I tend to agree with. I’ll stop short of a formal endorsement because I don’t know about his opponents, but as I said, worth checking out if you’re one of my Wicomico readers.

Normally if we go anywhere like this, people know my wife because she works in the medical field so they’re often her patients or former coworkers. But in any event featuring political types, the tables are turned because people notice me and this was the case here. (It was either that or my Detroit Lions hoodie.) I ran into Joe Holloway, David Snyder, Linda Luffman, Addie Eckardt, Jamie Dykes, and Larry Dodd there, and there were others, too – I heard John Cannon and John Psota being introduced and Dodd was walking with Dutch Schwemlein, a newcomer seeking an at-large County Council seat that I was introduced to. Linda was looking to meet up with another newcomer, A.J. Angello – who is the primary opponent for Joe Holloway.

(The scorecard: Holloway, Dodd, and Cannon are current Wicomico County Council members looking to keep their jobs, Snyder is seeking the open County Council District 2 seat, Luffman is looking to be re-elected to the county’s Republican Central Committee, Eckardt is running to retain her State Senate seat, Dykes is the incumbent State’s Attorney, and Psota is the incumbent appointed County Executive who was granted the job after Bob Culver died in office in the summer of 2020, after the 2020 filing deadline.) I got a little bit of a lowdown on what’s up with the county election, particularly the slates, from Linda, while Snyder informed me of a strange technicality that made him withdraw his candidacy for the seat when it opened up a couple years ago due to Marc Kilmer’s resignation. (I may expound on that in the future.)

Quick aside: in jogging my memory of who I ran into by looking at the candidate list for Wicomico County I saw there were 14 candidates for the Republican Central Committee this year, so far. Damn, that’s a popular unpaid and pretty much thankless job.

But back to Plow Days: the true test of these people will be how many come back next year – not to be introduced to the crowd like the politicians are, but to support it. I think Plow Days is the type of event that’s worth backing as it deftly combines history, ministry, and an awareness of what makes a rural area so unique.

It’s an attitude I can sum up with one final photo.

The banner wasn’t for sale, it was placed as a message and invitation. We need more of that in 2022 America.

Like Oren Perdue noted on this fine afternoon, farming doesn’t seem to be an avocation that’s drawing young people. I came from a place where the blue FFA jackets were still a common sight 40 years ago, but here and now people aren’t as interested in keeping that vital lifestyle going. And having just lost my dad recently, it makes me realize I don’t know how much longer the stalwarts of Plow Days – who are close to his age – have on this earth, so we need to keep this slice of history and an occupation that ranks among those preserving the lifeblood of our nation alive as long as possible.

Delaware primary fight averted

Because it’s rare that statewide Democrats with a realistic chance of winning step on each other’s toes, usually primary fights in the First State (and, to be honest, most other Democrat-controlled states) are reserved for either open seats on the Democrat side or Republican challengers jockeying for position on the November ballot.

I had heard this previously from a campaign insider, but when word also came from the state GOP that they were scrubbing an event planned for next Friday I took it as enough evidence that, indeed, AG candidate (and former judge and state representative) Chuck Welch was withdrawing his name from consideration. Initially I only had the word from the two disparate sources, and I had already started this post on Sunday, but today his campaign put out a statement that confirmed he was withdrawing.

I have withdrawn from the race due to a health issue. I am a longtime diabetic and have recently had trouble controlling the condition. Anyone with diabetes knows how important it is to keep the condition under control… After consultation with my doctor and family, I have decided to leave the campaign trail to focus on my health.

Prepared statement from former AG candidate Chuck Welch, March 29, 2022.

We should be praying for the health of Chuck Welch, and thankful he was able to serve Delaware for so long with his condition. I have a good friend who is diabetic so I can vouch for his statement.

In the meantime, barring a sudden entrance into the race of some Republican with both the funding and name ID to counter her, it appears that Julianne Murray will be the Republican candidate for Delaware’s Attorney General position, presumably challenging incumbent Kathy Jennings for the post. Murray is fresh off an interesting fundraiser with what I consider a local connection, as one of the speakers there was Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, who traveled up to New Castle County to speak on her behalf along with Sheriff Mark Lamb of Pinal County, Arizona. (It’s the same duo who spoke at a Wicomico County Lincoln Day Dinner a year or two ago.)

While we are still several months away from the filing deadline here in the First State, it appears this primary campaign at the state level may be as exciting as watching paint dry. You may recall in 2018 there were several primary fights on the Democrat side – joined by the GOP in contesting nominations for the Federal offices – but now that Democrats hold the three positions under consideration this year (Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer) it’s not likely anyone will challenge for two of them. There may be a challenger for Auditor, though, given the ethical and legal issues which Democrat incumbent Kathy McGuiness has to address should she choose to run for re-election. And with only one federal race on the ballot, no one has made a significant move to deny 2018 and 2020 GOP House candidate Lee Murphy another shot at Lisa Blunt Rochester, despite some who would rather see someone else take a turn at the wheel.

With school board races also tamer than expected, 2022 may not be the contentious election season we thought it might save for a few Democratic Delaware General Assembly incumbents who have a primary challenge. But it’s still early.

Things aren’t always what they seem

I haven’t been paying nearly as much attention to Maryland politics the last few years but every so often I find something rather intriguing. In this case, it’s not too many miles away in Dorchester County.

I saw that over the weekend their county Republicans had their Lincoln Day Dinner. Initially I learned this thanks to a social media post by a locally noted political sign critic but then it went further when I noticed a promoted post on that same social media outlet that led to this blog post.

Apparently we are still far enough away from the primary that Republicans are coming to the Eastern Shore to solicit votes, and in this case the Dorchester LDD featured the two leading contenders for their gubernatorial nomination: Delegate Daniel Cox and onetime Delegate and Hogan administration official Kelly Schulz. In this particular retelling of events it was obvious that the writer was heavily favoring the Cox campaign, which is fine. What’s most interesting, though, is that the contact address for the Shore Times blog where the article came from is the exact same one used by Marc Schifanelli for his school board campaign in Queen Anne’s County. Of course, students of Maryland politics know that Marc’s wife Gordana is Cox’s running mate. So we’re not exactly being stealth here, and I will give credit for pointing that out in due time.

On the other side of the equation – and not being too stealth themselves – is The Duckpin, a site which seems to spend its time tearing down Cox, who they swear up and down isn’t much of a threat on par with the other two no-names in the race. Yet somehow Dan lives rent-free in their heads as they keep writing about him instead of promoting their endorsed choice in Schulz. (Apparently Brian Griffiths wanted to write about more than politics, so Red Maryland was put to bed and The Duckpin was born. He finally figured out what I knew over 16 years ago.)

Anyway, I was reading a piece on the race that made the claim about the link and indeed it’s true. So give the man his credit. But what’s the big deal?

Here’s the problem with being a Republican and running for governor in Maryland: you have to survive a GOP primary.

In 2010, Larry Hogan deferred to Bob Ehrlich, who then proceeded to lose even worse to Martin O’Malley than he did the first time. You may recall there was this phenomenon going around the country back then called the TEA Party…well, they liked this heretofore unknown businessman named Brian Murphy in the gubernatorial primary and enough of them tuned out the overly moderate Ehrlich once Murphy was dispatched back to anonymity to doom Bob to defeat in the general.

In 2014, there was an open seat and the Democrats decided to promote their bland, personality-free LG Anthony Brown to governor. Larry Hogan had spent the four years building up a grassroots group called Change Maryland and he parlayed that into securing the nomination then winning in November – thanks to a lot of the people who abandoned Ehrlich because he wasn’t conservative enough for them. This despite the fact Hogan’s website was about content-free and you couldn’t nail down what he was actually for, just what he was against based on Change Maryland.

Fooled you once… the next time in 2o18 Hogan only won because the Democrats went extreme left with their choice for governor; otherwise, the election was a disaster for Republicans on the order of 2006. (Had he run in 2018 instead of this cycle, we would be commenting on the prospects of Governor Franchot’s re-election. Or perhaps Governor Delaney’s.)

So here’s the problem with Kelly Schulz. In looking her up in the archives of the monoblogue Accountability Project, I had forgotten that she was relatively conservative by my standards – not enough to be a consistent Legislative All-Star (she was just one time in eight years I covered her) but she had an 85 average and that’s very good for a Maryland politician. (With an average that high, I would be hailing her as a savior in Delaware.)

But what I didn’t see when she went into the Executive Branch was a great deal of conservative innovation. It’s good that her “proudest accomplishment (at DLLR) was guiding Maryland’s youth apprenticeship program,” but I would have rather seen efforts to wrest the state from the grip of its unions by edging it toward right-to-work status or taking a hacksaw to regulations like Donald Trump did at a federal level. And the question I have: is this the record of a conservative?

Member, Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council, 2019; Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission, 2019; Small Business Resources and Data Collection Work Group, 2019; Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, 2019-20; P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland, 2019-21. Board of Directors, Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation, 2019-22. Member, Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Board, 2019-22; Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission for Agriculture, 2019-22; Animal Waste Technology Fund Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Aviation Commission, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Bainbridge Development Corporation, 2019-22. Member, Coast Smart Council, 2019-22; Correctional Education Council, 2019-22; Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays, 2019-22; Maryland Cybersecurity Council, 2019-22; Interagency Disabilities Board, 2019-22; Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority, 2019-22; Maryland Economic Development Commission, 2019-22; Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund Authority, 2019-22; Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities, 2019-22; Interagency Food Desert Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Green Purchasing Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, 2019-22; State Highway Access Valuation Board, 2019-22; Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, 2019-22; Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority, 2019-22; Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board, 2019-22; Maryland Manufacturing Advisory Board, 2019-22; Council on Open Data, 2019-22; Maryland Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force, 2019-22; Maryland Port Commission, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Maryland Public-Private Partnership Marketing Corporation, 2019- (chair, 2019). Executive Board, Regional Additive Manufacturing Partnership of Maryland, 2019-22. Member, Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting, 2019-22; Renewable Fuels Incentive Board, 2019-22; Rural Maryland Council, 2019-22; Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs, 2019-22; Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority, 2019-22; Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Maryland Technology Development Corporation, 2019-22. Board of Regents, University System of Maryland, 2019-22. Member, Governor’s Workforce Development Board, 2019-22; Youth Apprenticeship Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council, 2019-22.

Member, COVID-19 Small Business Task Force, Baltimore City, 2020; Task Force on the Economic Future of Western Maryland, 2020-22; Maryland Food System Resiliency Council, 2021-22; Historic St. Mary’s City Fort to 400 Commission, 2021-22; Maryland Semiquincentennial Commission, 2021-22; Work Group to Study the Transformation of Manufacturing in Maryland’s Emerging Digital Economy, 2021-22.

Maryland Manual online, accessed March 22, 2022.

Granted, I’m sure most of these are ex officio positions she gathered as the Secretary, but no one said she had to accept a position on the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities or the Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council. Her acceptance to me equates with support.

That’s not to say I’m the biggest fan of Daniel Cox, who has styled himself as something of a Trump fanboy. But if you drive around on the back roads of Dorchester County that I frequent on a regular basis on the way to my in-laws’ house, you see a lot of Trump paraphrenalia and a lot of Cox for Governor signs. (Not many people go through Eldorado or Rhodesdale, but I do.) It’s a slice of the electorate that probably won’t turn out for someone endorsed by Larry Hogan because they can’t stand what he’s become. While many were pushed over the edge by the bad blood between Larry Hogan and Donald Trump, they were placed at the precipice like I was after our side was quickly sold out by Hogan to the environmentalists who saddled farmers with onerous phosphorus regulations and later saw Larry kill a golden opportunity for economic growth with an ill-advised fracking ban. So Hogan’s support is electoral poison in those quarters.

Certainly there will be those who say that their staying home and not backing Kelly Schulz will ensure Democratic victory in November. But then again, the same prediction of GOP doom holds true if Cox wins so why not stand up for what you believe?

And people wonder why some of us are so fed up with the system?