Sunday, August 24, 2008

Electing Tyler Nixon: What Needs to Be Done

For the State of Delaware, and for the Libertarian Party of Delaware, I consider the race between Libertarian/Republican Tyler Nixon and Democrat Gerald Brady to be the most important contest of the year.

So at the risk of being Verbose [thanks for stroking my ego, Shirley], I am going into some detail on what it will take to put him in office.

Here's the key comment Tyler made on Saturday at the LPD convention:

“It’s time for government to stop regulating the American people, and time for the American people to start regulating their government.”

He went on to talk about the Wilmington/New Castle County Instant Ticket program, under which bureaucrats can walk onto your property and assess you an instant $50 fine, which you can appeal only to the agency writing the ticket.

"This is the concept of judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into one," Tyler told delegates, "and from every perspective it's simply wrong."

By his actions in supporting HB 161 [See Delaware Way's Misguided Bill is a Bad Deal for Wilmingtonians], Tyler's opponent, Democrat Gerald Brady, has indicated he thinks it's perfectly okay to levy these sort of unaccountable fines on Wilmington residents.

Aside from championing limited government and individual liberties, Tyler has demonstrated a long-running commitment to open government at all levels ["As long as there's a desk drawer veto, there is no Democratic process"]; renewable energy ["It's frustrating to see politicians come in a cherry pick the credit for wind power, when some of us have been working on this for years"]; and eminent domain abuse ["It's not really your property if the government can seize it for virtually any reason at all"].

These are ideas, and Tyler's is the passion for change that we need in the Delaware General Assembly.

But what's it going to take to put him there?

First, let's talk about the votes.

Brady beat Gary Linnarducci in 2006 with 54.9% of the vote (4053-3317); that's a 736 vote margin. Linnarducci won 6 of 19 precincts, but that's somewhat deceiving, as four of the nineteen precincts showed fewer than 50 people voting.

This was actually not a stellar performance for the Democrats, as the registration in the district is 44.4% Dem, 32% GOP, and 23.6% "Others" [including 35-50 registered Libertarians]. Thus, of 6,839 registered Democrats, at most 4053 turned out to vote for Brady, probably less. Of course, it was an off-year election.

In 2006, 9526 voters turned out in the 4th District election, going Republican (DiPinto) by 57.8%. But ticket-splitting is obviously popular in the District, as John Kerry racked up 60.2% of the Presidential vote while Mike Castle received 71.4%, and Ruth Ann Minner took 54%.

Two big lessons here: (1) Given the nature of this year's Presidential contest, expect a high voter turn-out, meaning that Tyler will certainly need at least 5,500+ votes to win; and (2) he will need a way to distinguish himself personally from Gerald Brady, and convince not only Republicans, but also Independents, Libertarians, and even a few hundred Democrats to pull the lever for him.

The second thing you have to know is that it's all about the money, although it's not all about the money.

Let me explain. Financial reports for the 2006 election show that Republican Linnarducci out-raised Gerald Brady. His repeatedly amended reports suggest that he raised in total something like $23-26,000. Between his primary race and the general election, reports here, here, and here suggest that Brady raised in total something like $18,000.

Again, however, appearances can be deceiving. Linnarducci had to work pretty hard at his fundraising, with the average contribution running around the $150-200 range. For Brady it was a different story; his was a campaign primarily funded by special interest groups, unions, and out-of-state donors. Some salient examples:

Exxon Mobil Corporation--$500
ALTRIA Corporate Services-$600
National Communications Inc--$600
Delaware AFL-CIO--$600
Delaware People {??}--$300
DEL PAC--$600
WSFS Financial PAC-$100
Hammer & Nails Club--$600
Political Education Committee, Local 1238 IBEW--$300
ABC Educational Fund Local 27 [Baltimore MD]-$100
John Corrozi [Landenburg PA]--$600
Christopher and Maria Buccini of New York City--$1200
Louis Capano Jr and Louis Capano III--$1200
Total: $7300

The Hammer & Nails Club, by the way, is the PAC representing the interests of Delaware's largest corporate builders.

The Delaware P. E. O. P. L. E. Committee is a shadowy Democratic fund-laundering PAC that claims in 2006 to have taken in between $11-16,000 in donations, all but $200 of which was in amounts under $100, thus exempting it from reporting who was giving what. The Delaware P. E. O. P. L. E. Committee then wrote big checks to Democratic candidates around the State.

While we don't have current reports for Brady in 2008 yet [he didn't face a primary challenge], he continued apace through 2007, raising another $16 K, again heavily relying on special interests, unions, and out-of-state donors; again some highlights:

FOP State PAC--$200
Winner Auto Group--$600
AIA Delaware PAC--$100
Del Healthcare Assn Health Exec Action League--$100
PAC Local Union No. 451 --$200
Local 42 PAC Asbestos Workers --$300
Delaware Building Trades --$200
THE PAC--$100
Artesian Water--$100
Delaware PEOPLE--$600
Bricklayers & Allied Crafts Local 1PA/DE PAC Fund--$600
Delaware Racing Association--$600
Del Bank PAC--$100
DELPAC Assn of Realtors -- $100
Plumbers & Pipeļ¬tters Local No.74 PAC--$600
Henry Topel & Co.--$600
Wilmington Trust Corp PAC --$100
Alford Hamilton Associates --$100
Delaware Standdardbred Owners Assoc --$200
Civic Affairs Construction Council --$100
Wilm Police/Fire Pension Task Force--$100
ABC Educational Fund Local 27 --$100
F.O.P.State PAC Fund--$400
NCC Chamber of Commerce--$200
Beverly Bove Atty at Law--$100
Maxwell & Assoc --$100
Meissner Marketing Consulting --$100
United Distributors of Del LLC--$200
Sunoco Inc, Corporate Political Contributions--$200
IUOE Local 542 --$400
Carpenters Local #626 --$600
IBEW Local #313 --$300
Wilmington Professional Associates--$100
Politial Education Committee, IBEW local #1238--$300
Doctors for Emergency Service P.A. --$100
Staves Landing, Inc. --$175
DSEA Advocacy Fund for Children & Public Education--$200

Wow! There doesn't appear to be a union local, corporation, or other special interest that Gerald Brady hasn't visited in the past year with his tin cup. That's $10,175 from the special interests just in 2007 [and I'd point out that I didn't have time to run down the affiliations of some of his larger individual contributors--again, quite a few of whom hail from out of state.

Nor, interestingly enough, can I find a Brady report of a $200 contribution from Verizon that the corporation says it sent him in 2007. Hmmmm.... [Kind of makes you wonder what else might be missing, and later . . . amended, doesn't it?]

So while his coffers are certainly bulging (there's no reason to think he suddenly stopped making the rounds in 2008), we already have enough information to ask voters of the 4th District:

Exactly who is Gerald Brady representing? You, or the special interests paying his campaign bills?

But ill-gotten or not, those funds will give Brady a huge--potentially prohibitive--edge in retaining his seat, unless we find some way to help Tyler equalize the situation. I'll be offering some ideas on that in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the other resource Tyler desperately needs is volunteers. The only way to get out those potentially friendly votes [when Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be doing surrogate work for Brady without even thinking about it] is to hit the bricks and canvas the district. House by house. Assume for sake of argument that there are an average of two voters per house, and that Tyler has the list of all registered Republicans and Others. If he needs 5,500 votes, he'll have to hit 2,750 houses in the next six weeks. That's 458 house per week. Assume that he can put in 4 hours a day four days a week and 8 hours on each weekend (notice I did allow him to sleep), that means he's at absolute best got 36 hours a week to hit 458 houses, which is 13 calls an hour. Can't be done by one man, even as charismatic as Tyler.

Haven't got money? What about time? Are you willing to walk with Tyler, learn how it's done, and maybe even go solo for a few hours?

If we could find twenty volunteers who would each agree to do 10 hours of canvassing for Tyler in the next six weeks, that would be 200 extra hours, and potentially the chance for his message to hit another 2-3000 voters.

Suppose that we hit 3000 registered Republicans and got 20% of them who didn't vote last time to come out for this election?

That would be 600 votes--most of the difference that Linnarducci lost by in 2006.

We could help make this happen; we could really have our first Libertarian in the Delaware House of Representatives.

But that would mean that every Libertarian who came to the Saturday convention would have to get off his ass and volunteer 10 hours for Tyler.

I'm willing: I will commit right now to donating at least 10 hours in September and 10 hours in October to helping Tyler canvas his district.

Will you?


Brian Shields said...

That's just hitting Republicans... let's not forget Democrats as well. Open government, eminent domain, and corporate interests can hit close to the heart to Democrats also.

I don't know how relevant this is up there, but down here the Elks and Moose lodges do luncheons and dinners where it is open to the public. Older folks tend to vote more frequently. Let's get him on the Bingo Hall circuit and work his charm. Two hours working a room could bring in 10 or so voters easily.

So, yeah, sign me up. I'll make a day trip out of it and get some canvassing done.

What has the Republican side been doing to help him? Are we carrying the burder or are we assisting?

Brian Shields said...

Brady is not listed as a sponsor of HB 161.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Nixon is one of Delaware's best. He is not only bright, he is right on most issues. Forget that Republican tag, Tyler has proven himself a man of the people. Whether Wilmington City sidewalks, eminent domain, energy solutions, etc etc, Tyler would be the man we send to Dover who has ALL the peoples interest in mind.

I have known Tyler for many years he is very honest, and will tell you in detail his solutions. I have often kidded him about being a republican, because the republican brand has been so damaged by the neo cons. Tyler hates the neo cons as most of us do, and will be a great asset to all the citizens, and a great person to bring the republican party back to its roots.

Brady has done nothing, he is a special interest guy who the democrats continue to back. Its time to turn Brady and his go along to get along Delaware Way, and replace him with Tyler Nixon a man with a proven track record of working for all the citizens of Delaware.

Tyler a check is in the mail. Go Tyler Go.

Liz Allen

tom said...

WRT canvassing the district, I'd probably prioritize the voters this way:

1. Reps that didn't vote in 2006
2. Other that voted in 2006
3. Other that didn't vote in 2006
4. Dems that voted in 2006
5. Dems that didn't vote in 2006
6. Reps that voted in 2006

Before starting door to door, he needs a database of ALL registered voters in the district in electronic form. (available from DoE) and flyers/doorhangers. it would be good to develop three different approaches too, one emphasizing how he's good on conservative issues and following up with open & honest government; one emphasizing how he's good on liberal issues and following up with open & honest government; and one that emphasizes open & honest government, points out that his opponent is owned by special interests, and doesn't say much about issues unless the prospect asks. when meeting people it is critical to give them literature at the same time, and it doesn't hurt to leave a flyer at the houses where no one answers. for door to door, print "block" lists with the odd numbers on one side and the evens on the other and room for notes, for each street block you will be walking. i will put in at least one weekend helping, and assuming the site works, i'm donating $20 when i finish this comment.

a most peculiar nature said...

It works, Tom ! I donated $50 when Tyler first announced. Hope to get another $50 in there within a month.

But this is small potatoes compared to the money he really needs to win. I hope to help out with some manual labor as well.