Founders Values is a well known Delaware educational group that focuses on the founding principles of our nation. They strive to educate the electorate and children on those founding principles and on the Constitution and related documents. They have been active for about 18 months and they have organized many events including a number of TEA Parties across the state. Their members have been an active force in the recent political landscape in Delaware and have even impacted legislation in the state and nationally.
In June of 2010, Founders Values administered a survey of likely Republican voters in the U.S. Senate primary between longtime Congressman Mike Castle and Conservative activist Christine O'Donnell. The poll found O'Donnell leading Castle by nearly a 3-1 margin. It was the first (and almost only) poll that found O'Donnell in the lead among likely voters until her upset victory on Sept. 14th. While laughed at initially by local media personalities, the poll proved to foreshadow the results of the Republican Primary.
The group obtained the names of the two front runners for the Republican nomination in the Special Election for New Castle County President. Delta airlines pilot Mike Protack, who ran for Governor in 2008 and former State Representative Tom Kovach are the names who have been mentioned as the leaders for the spot. Protack ran unsuccessfully in a Republican Primary in 2006 against eventual nominee Jan Ting who faced Tom Carper(Christine O'Donnell was also a write in candidate in that Primary Election). He then ran in the GOP Primary for Gov. in 2008 but left the race to run as the Independent candidate. Protack ran in 2010 for the 3rd County Council seat but faced a primary opponent in Janet Kilpatrick who was seen as Mike Castle's personal nominee to oppose Protack who was backed by the TEA Parties. Kovach ran in the 2008 special for the 6th district Representative seat in Brandywine Hundred. He narrowly defeated the Democrat (by just over 100 votes) in the race but lost this year to Debra Heffernan.
The telephone poll conducted on 11/12 & 11/13 and was a survey of more than 300 likely Republican voters in the New Castle County Council President special election. 60% of the respondents chose Protack where just 40% chose Kovach as their desired nominee. See the Founders Values Press Release for more information.
Founders Values Executive Director Jon Sherman said "We believe that these poll numbers represent the mood of the Republican electorate and we hope that the leaders of both parties will understand that this is an important process that should be left to the people to decide."
Mike Protack has been tied to the Patriot movement in recent years. He was an early supporter and helped to organize the Wilmington TEA Party events in 2009 and 2010 and earned the endorsement of the conservative group Common Sense Communities Society in the Republican Primary. He has a very good name recognition and being a card carrying union member helps him with with a voting bloc that does not often fair well for Republicans. He has been plagued by the notion that he is a perennial candidate for one office or another but even that stigma appears not to hurt him among members of his party when compared to Mr. Kovach.
Tom Kovach is a contrast to Protack as he is the hand picked candidate by Mike Castle. Castle is the long term Congressman who was ousted by Christine O'Donnell and the TEA Party groups in Delaware. Castle and Kovach all but endorsed Chris Coons and publicly were quite critical of O'Donnell and her "TEA Party supporters" despite the fact that those supporters contained a majority of the Republican Party voters. Kovach is rumored to be a supporter of the policies of Chris Coons including the Stoltz development of the Barley Mill Plaza location that citizens group CRG has been a staunch opponent to. This could pose problems for Kovach when it comes to raising money and garnering votes from the Greenville and Elsemere areas affected by the development. Many Republicans believe that Congressman Castle has waged his own personal war against the majority of party voters who ousted him in September and considers those who supported O'Donnell his enemies. He has built a coalition of current and former legislators and party officials and some see Mr. Kovach, a staunch supporter of Castle, as yet another example of Castle's personal war with the electorate.
Only time will tell who the Republicans support. What's a near certainty is that the Democrats will choose AFL-CIO Vice President Tim Sheldon. He will be backed by Paul Clark and Clark's wife Pam Scott who is an attorney with Stoltz in the Barley Mill case. Though Sheldon, the Democrat would be the party's first choice, it's not inconceivable that they could work out a deal with Castle to bring in the more moderate Kovach as Council President. If Protack or a more conservative candidate were to get the nod, it's likely that they would face off in a heated blitz with Sheldon. The date of the election has not yet been set but the Democrats are due to announce their choice this coming Friday.