Tuesday, October 27, 2009

History may have been kinder to Jefferson & Jackson than Delaware was

The Delaware State Democratic Committee is proud to have Bill Clinton as their speaker at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on Nov 10th. Their website indicates the event is sold out:


I thought this might be a time to research how Delaware treated Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson when they were on the ballot. It looks like Delaware was a disappointment to both of them

Thomas Jefferson was elected president twice and vice-president once. He was on the presidential ballot four times:
1792 ,1796,1800 and 1804. Over those four elections he received no electoral votes from Delaware . In 1800 the electoral college balloting ended in a tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr.
The decision of who would be president was settled in the US House of Representatives. There were 16 states at the time. Jefferson won the votes of 10 states, Burr won four states and two states abstained. Delaware was one of the abstaining states.


Andrew Jackson was on the presidential ballot in 1824,1828 and 1832.He won the presidency in 1828 and 1832 after losing to John Quincy Adams in 1924. He did not receive any electoral votes during any of these elections.


These are not the only presidents of note to be slighted by Delaware's electors.
Abraham Lincoln did not get any Delaware electoral votes in either of his presidential victories in 1860 or 1865.


At least when it comes to the 1800s we can not say "so went Delaware, so went the nation".

For more on the presidential election of 1800 see:
"Adams Vs. Jefferson, The Tumultuos Election of 1800" by John Ferling

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Pattern That May Impact the Delaware House of Representatives in 2010,maybe not

A lot has been written about how in the off year election after a newly elected president has taken office that president's party often loses seats in Congress. Does it apply to the Delaware House of Representatives as well? A review of the elections since 1964 would say it might .

It happened in 1966 -2 years after Democrat Lyndon Johnson became President as Democrats lost 18 seats in the House:

1964 30 Democrats, 5 Republicans
1966 12 Democrats, 23 Republicans

It happened in 1970 -2 years after Republican Richard Nixon won the presidency as Republicans lost 3 seats in the House:

1968 13 Democrats, 26 Republicans

1970 16 Democrats, 23Republicans

[In November 1974 ,two months after Nixon resigned, the Democrats took a 25-16 majority in the Delaware House of Representatives, for a turnaround of 12 seats within 3 election cycles.]

It happended in 1978 -2 years after Democrat Jimmy Carter won the presidency as Democrats lost 5 seats in the House:

1976 26 Democrats, 15 Republicans

1978 21 Democrats, 20 Republicans

It happened in 1982 -2 years after Republican Ronald Reagan beat Carter as Republicans lost 9 seats in the House:

1980 16 Democrats, 25Republicans

1982 25Democrats, 16Republicans

It did not happen in 1990- 2 years after Republican George HW Bush was elected president and the Republicans gained an additional seat in the State House

1988 18 Democrats, 23 Republicans

1990 17 Democrats, 24 Republicans

It happened in 1994 -2 years after Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidency as Democrats lost 4 seats in the House:

1992 18 Democrats, 23 Republicans

1994 14 Democrats, 27 Republicans

In 2002, 2 years after George W Bush was elected president, it did not happen, as Republicans picked up an additional 3 seats in the House.

I think this may have had less to do with the Bush presidency than the fact Republican party held a majority in the Delaware House of Representatives and was able to write the district lines during reapportionment which took place between the 2000 and 2002 elections. Four Democrat incumbents (Dave Brady, Rich DiLiberto ,Shirley Price and John Schroeder) found themselves with district lines that made re-election an impossibility in 2002.

2000 15 Democrats, 26 Republicans

2002 12 Democrats, 29 Republicans

Admittedly, issues other than who is currently in the White House affect who is elected as a State Representative in the Delaware House of Representatives, but I found it interesting that this pattern holds up in 5 of the last 7 presidencies. I don't know if it possible to establish cause and effect in this case or whether this pattern is likely to continue.

2000 & 2002 results are from the Elections Archive section of the State Election Commissioner's website:


Prior results are from Table 3, pp 470-488 from Only in Delaware, Celia Cohen, who references the Delaware State Election Commissioner's Office. I assumed she used paper sources at the Dover office.
Unfortunately, on the Commissioner's website elections from 1954-1968 are not currently available.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Two local races seem to have made an impact on statewide turnout in the 2006 GOP primary and one appears not to have impacted statewide turnout

Statewide Republican turnout was 8% in the 2006 US Senate primary,but two areas with higher turnout each had a state representative district race to fill a vacancy created by the retiring of an incumbent Republican state representative. These two races appeared to have impacted turnout in the US Senate race since the turnout in the 20th & 33rd districts for the US Senate primary was 856 and 944, respectively. No other district of the remaining 39 districts had a voter turnout higher than 695.

In the 20th Rep District in New Castle County between Newark and Wilmington , 976 people voted in the Representative primary in which Nick Manolakos beat Brian Moore 520 to 356. As of 9-1-2006 there were 5,885 registered Republicans in the 20th,making turnout for that race 16.6% ,over twice the statewide turnout.

Even more telling is that only 856 Republicans voted in the US Senate primary, 120 fewer than the local race, implying the local race is what brought people out to vote.The 20th Rep District made up only 3.3% of the 178,366 Registered Repubicans ,but made up 6.0 % of the 14,386 Republicans who voted in the US Senate primary.

In the 33rd Rep District 967 people voted in the Representative primary in which Ulysses S Grant beat Harold Peterman 496 to 471. As of 9-1-2006 there were 5080 registered Republicans in the 33rd Rep District which has election districts in both Kent & Sussex Counties. Turnout in this state rep race was 19.0%, almost 2 and a half times the statewide average.

944 Republicans voted in the US Senate primary, 23 fewer than voted in the State Rep primary. The 33rd Rep District made up 2.8% of the Registered Republicans statewide, but made up 6.6% of the Republicans who voted in the US Senate Primary.

An interesting contrast is the only other Republican state legislative primary in 2006 which took place in the 14th State Senate District in which John Feroce beat Barbara Allsopp 354-323. This district is near the C&D canal and has election districts in New Castle and Kent Counties.They both were on the November ballot with Feroce as the Republican nominee and Allsopp as the Independent Party of Delaware nominee . Incumbent Democratic State Senator James Vaughn defeated both of them with 59.1% of the vote in the general election.

The Sept 2006 primary only got 677 of the state senate district’s 9557 registered Republicans out to vote or 7.1% turnout, less than the statewide average despite there being both the US Senate race and the state senate race.

The numbers tell what happened,but the question is why. The 20th & 33rd had been represented by a Republican representative prior to 2006.The 20th would continue to be represented by a Republican after Manolakos’ victory over Democrat Richard Korn in November 2006. In the 33rd Grant lost to Democrat Bob Walls,but only by 81 votes-less than a percentage point. I think the Republicans in September in these two districts were more motivated to come out because there was a greater likelihood of success in November.

In the 14th State senate District, they faced a long-time Democrat incumbent and a Democrat registration advantage of 13,527 to 9,557. The Republicans may have had less of a vested interest in voting in the September primary because they had less faith in the outcome in November General election and with good reason.

Registration figures for Sept 2006


Election results for Sept 2006


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2006 US Senate Republican Primary results by Representative District-Some Context for the last post and the next post

1st----------128 -----36---------46--------46
20th---------856-----163--------369--------324(also had a State Rep Primary)
33rd---------944-----232--------426--------286(also had State Rep primary)
34th---------410 -----61---------191--------158


A Look at the 2006 GOP US Senate Primary in Delaware

My original idea was to look at how each of the three Republican US Senate candidates did by Representative District in 2006. My assumption was if Christine O'Donnell stays in the Senate primary in 2010 and squares off against Mike Castle, her only chance is to win decisively in districts where she did well against Jan Ting,who was the organization endorsed candidate in 2006, and to lose close to Castle in districts she lost to Ting.Some on the right may feel she would get the lion's share of Mike Protack's votes and that is possible,but it is also possible several hundred of Protack's voters may not have even voted if he were not on the ballot.

One theory I have read is she would pull strongly from downstate Republicans on the assumption that they may be more conservative than their counterparts in New Castle County. After looking at the numbers I am wondering if downstate Republicans as a group are not being misrepresented by a vocal conservative minority.

Jan Ting got more votes than Protack and O'Donnell combined (190 for Ting and 146 for his two opponents)in the 39th District which encompasses Seaford and Blades in Western Sussex County. In the 41st District which includes Millsboro, Gumboro and Frankford in Southern Sussex County, Ting received 210 votes while Protack and O'Donnell combined received 223. In the 37th which includes Georgetown and Lewes, Ting received 280 votes and his opponents combined total was 189.

While Ting lost several districts to Protack in Kent and Sussex, O'Donnell did not win any and only outpaced Ting in the 35th (Bridgeville-Greenwood) by 128-119 with Protack getting 137 and the 30th (milford-Harrington-Felton) by 104-99 with Protack winning with 201.

An interesting situation arose in several districts with overwhelming Democratic registration majorities. O'Donnell beat Ting in the 2nd, 3rd, 16th & 18th Representative Districts. Unfortunately for her, these four districts only combined for 310 votes cast out of 14,386 cast statewide.

Ting received over 310 votes in 5 rep districts where Republicans come out in larger numbers (the 4th -West Wilmington, the 11th & 12th in Brandywine Hundred the 20th along Kirkwood Highway and the 38th in Sussex County (Millville-Bethany Beach-Fenwick-Selbyville).

For O'Donnell to have shot against Castle if she pursues a primary against him, she would need to beat Castle in some of the areas where Ting beat her because the areas in which she beat Ting do not supply enough votes. I am assuming Castle runs stronger than Ting,based on his prior election success and larger campaign treasury, in the places he needs votes like Brandywine Hundred and Western & Southern Sussex.

Some of the areas where she ran close to Ting in New Castle County ( the 24th -Eastern Newark, the 5th ,26th& 27th in Bear-Glasgow, and the 13th & 19th along Kirkwood Highway) do not supply enough votes in a Republican statewide primary ( if 2006 is at all representative) to give her the votes for an upset.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In Memory of My Favorite Republican

I have been involved in Delaware Democratic Party politics since the 1970s and am currently married to an elected official who is a member of the Democratic Party,but I am not one who is unwilling to concede there may some good people on the other side of the ballot from time to time.

During the Senate Watergate hearings in the 1970s I admired the tough questioning by then-Republican US Senator Lowell Weicker of Connecticut. Locally, I admired the work State Sen.Andy Knox did on the Coastal Zone Act and State Sen. Dan Weiss did in raising the concerns of migrant farm workers in the 1970s. But if all is politics is local, it does not get more local than the dinner table and I shared one with my favorite Republican, Zelda M "Peg" Tobin, my mother who died 9-27-2009.

She grew up in a Republican family in Western Sussex where her father, Harry Speicher, was politically active for decades in Republican politics and her youngest brother David "Everett" Speicher served one term as a Republican state representative in the 1950s .Her natural interests lay outside politics. She loved music, playing the accordion and piano by ear, and worked as a registered nurse for over four decades. She was not predisposed to participate in partisan politics beyond voting.

I think she could be described as an "Eisenhower Republican", moderate on social issues and not opposed to supporting needed infrastructure like schools and highways, but she was no free-wheeling liberal when it came to public spending. In the weeks before she died , she repeatedly asked how President Obama could expect to pay for the expansion of health care. My recollection is she did not wish the US to seek foreign entanglements whether LBJ's War in Vietnam or George W Bush's Iraq War, although she believed in enough military to keep us safe and had married a World War II veteran.

At one point I probably wanted us to embrace my political philosophy,but now see that her tolerance of my political activity might have been the embrace I did not realize I had gotten.

During the 1972 election I volunteered in Sussex County for the McGovern for President campaign and the initial senatorial campaign for Joe Biden. The McGovern campaign in Sussex County did not have phone banks. It had volunteers who made calls from their homes. While my mother did not especially like politics and I doubt she voted for McGovern, she did not stand in the way when I turned our kitchen into a one person phone bank for a couple hours a night 3-4 nights a week for 6-8 weeks in the fall of 1972.

In a community that was still majorly impacted by the agricultural economy and was not particularly sympathetic to labor unions, she did not dissuade me from leafleting for the United Farm Workers Lettuce boycott .

As I continued my involvement in the Young Democrats, in student government at the University of Delaware and partisan election campaigns, she would occasionally remind me her impression that "politics is a dirty business" , but she always saved newspaper clippings of the times my political activity made the newspaper.

Looking back the embrace would not be for my politics,but for me doing something that was important to me and getting some occasional notoriety for it --even though politics was probably something she might have wished I had not invested my energy in so deeply.

Thanks , Mom.