Keith Spanarelli. Alex Pires. Douglas Beatty. Patrick Boyle. Ellis Parrott.
What do all of these candidates have in common? They surprised the political establishment by existing. The Delaware Democratic Party didn't expect anyone to file before Tom Carper did for the US Senate. Keith Spanarelli goes and files anyway and now Carper will have to primary him. But who is he? Even Delaware Liberal doesn't know him and didn't see him coming. Sure, Andrew Groff has the Green Party's nomination and the endorsement of the Libertarian Party of Delaware, and he's been going after Tom Carper for months, but he's been on WDEL, social media, and circulating among the grassroots organizations engaged in Delaware's political process. He wasn't a surprise and he's got a fully functioning website up and running. Keith Spanarelli still has a placeholder website with a Donate button on it.
Then there's Alex Pires. He's even more fun. Here's a guy who comes out running as an "Independent" for the same office, creates a media frenzy, and leaves out any mention of the arduous process ahead of him for even getting on the ballot, as he has yet to reach out to the only remaining party with ballot access yet to choose a candidate for US Senate, the Independent Party of Delaware. He even managed to create a fight with Tom Carper on his first day. The first two pages of Google results for Mr. Pires are all media appearances, despite a lack of ballot access, and no website. Anyone ask him how anyone is supposed to vote for him? Is he going to collect 6070 signatures? Is he going to run as the Independent Party of Delaware's candidate?
I'm a big fan of Andrew Groff's. He is a serious candidate, with a serious campaign, and a serious critique of Senator Carper's record on civil liberties, financial issues, monetary policy, and internet censorship. With the recent strides they've made in registering voters, I believe the Green Party expects to have ballot access for Andrew to appear on the ballot and make a serious dent in Tom Carper's support. I hope that people dissatisfied with his record in the Senate will look to Andrew before they look to a candidate who seems to have no campaign and a campaign that seems to have no ballot access.
Then there's Douglas Beatty. Unlike Keith and Alex, I've met Doug. He's an interesting guy, to say the least. He's promising to primary Jack Markell for Governor this year. He's also showing up to 9-12 meetings in skirts. The one stumbling block to his candidacy is the $5497 filing fee. He claims to have raised the first $5 of it. That's a great start. He's also made himself so popular on Delaware Liberal that I understand his comments are now being moderated rather than published throughout the site.
Patrick Boyle recently filed in Kent County as a Republican candidate for Comptroller. Despite being one of those offices most people wonder why we hold elections for them. This guy is only 27 years old. I'm not hating on his age, I'm 27 myself. It's about time we got some young blood interested in this nonsense. Inquiries throughout the Kent County Republican Party seem to all come back with blank stares. This guy isn't well known to the party pooh-bahs either. I've recently had the privilege of speaking with Patrick on Facebook and he seems nice enough and genuine in his intentions, but he has equally surprised election watchers by showing up.
Finally, there's Ellis Parrott. I have to be extremely careful here as Mr. Parrott is actually filed as a Republican in the 32nd District, where I myself am running for state representative against him. Mr. Parrott is a former Justice of the Peace court judge, but up until Representative Bennett's arrest in April, he was completely off the radar of the 32nd District Republicans, and the activist organizations working in the area. Another candidate was even getting ready to file before he appeared seemingly from no where. Many local activists are struggling to determine where he stands before deciding who to support. (Hint: Support me.)
This isn't even to mention all of the wonderful candidates the establishment won't see coming out of the Libertarian Party of Delaware's convention. We have a few experienced campaigners familiar with Delaware's issues. I'd like to think I'm on my way to becoming one of them. We also have a lot of newbies who were willing to step up on the basis that our current government isn't working and they might as well take a crack at it.
There will be a lot of detractors who think that these people don't belong in the race because they have no familiarity with the political landscape or the issues facing the state. Personally, I disagree. I think the more people who are willing to stand up and fight against the status quo, the better. I think the more people who are willing to fight for what they believe in, the better. The more candidates we have willing to step forward and discuss the issues that are important to them, the more engaged we will all be in our political process and the more likely we are to find a candidate who will actually represent us honorably, vigorously, and consistently with our rights and individual liberties in mind. There will also be a bright future for many of these candidates whether they win or lose. These first forays may be the launchpads for shining careers in public service that eventually become the stories of how America recovered from the early 21st Century's economic collapse.
Obviously, I still have my favorite candidates in each of these races, particularly that 32nd Representative District race, but each of these candidates offer a gateway for the people of Delaware to look more closely at their local elections and to engage with the candidates seeking to represent them. They also represent an encouraging trend of regular people who get so fed up with the way things are going that they are willing to become candidates. If more people followed their example, perhaps our incumbent politicians would have a more healthy fear of being turned out for spending too much of our money on suppressing too many of our rights.