Elections General Assembly

Help Me Decide in the 12th RD

Rachel Blumenfeld and Krista Griffith are both running to be the Democratic nominee in my Representative District, the 12th RD.   As you can see in the map above, the district covers Chateau Country at the top of the state, from Hockessin in the west over to Talleyville and Fairfax in the east.  Indeed, in an act of gerrymandering, I suppose to make the district more competitive and Democratic, the middle and working class neighborhoods of Fairfax, the McDaniels and Colonial Woods (i.e. the area west of Concord Pike that is in the district and where I live for you stalkers out there) were added to the district after the last census.

Though, in the only contested election incumbent Republican Deborah Hudson has had after the 2010, her winning percentage of 65% to Democrat Jeff Porter’s 35% in 2014.  Prior to 2010, when Hudson was challenged by Democrat Henry Gravell in 2004 and 2006, the winning percentage in both years was exactly the same: 65% to 35%.   Hudson’s closest election was her first reelection race in 1996: besting Brenda Smart 59% to 41%.

So the history of this district is that of a Republican District, even though the voter registration numbers would lead you to think otherwise.  Currently, there are 7,086 registered Democrats, 7,387 registered Republicans and 5,424 registered others (third parties, unaffiliated, etc).  In the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton won the district 7,668 to 5,990 (or 53% to 41%).   So Hillary attracted non-Democratic support while Trump lagged woefully because his party’s registration numbers in the district, which is what you would expect of Chateau Country Republicans.  These Republicans are the rich establishment GOP, led by the likes of Mike Castle and Pete DuPont rather than Christine O’Donnell and Rob Arlett.  While they like their tax cuts, they are social moderates or even liberals.   Some of them probably voted for Hillary.  Some of them voted for Markell over Carney in the 2008 Democratic primary.

In a Democratic year that 2018 will be, where women of all political stripes are being motivated to vote and engage in political campaigns due to the misogynist in the White House, can the women of the 12th RD flip this district from red to blue?   In 2016, Hudson received 9,228 votes running unopposed.  In 2014, in a Republican year, she received 5,534 votes.   In 2006, a Democratic year, she received 4,955.   The lesson of Democratic turnout in the special elections in 2017 and 2018 as we approach the midterms is that Democratic turnout is double the midterm turnout of 2014, approaching presidential numbers.   If Rachel Blumenfled or Krista Griffith can get over 6,000 votes (1600 less than Hillary Clinton’s numbers in 2016), they will have a great chance at winning, so yes, this district is competitive and flippable.

But who should be the Democratic nominee?   I am really torn.   I have met and had discussions with both candidates.  I have donated money to both candidates.   Some weeks I lean towards one candidate, and other weeks I lean towards the other one.   So let’s break down the facts about each candidate.

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Endorsements: Delaware State Education Association (DSEA), Run for Something, Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate

Her flyers received by me so far:

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Her bio: “I have always wanted to give back to my community, so I began my career as a public interest attorney. I first served as a law clerk at the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, where I worked on cases ranging from murder to juvenile offenses, as well as civil cases against Delaware agencies. I worked as a law clerk and domestic violence victims’ advocate at the Women Against Abuse Legal Center, in addition to clerking for a family judge at the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. After graduating from Villanova Law School in 2009, I opened a private practice where I helped advise many families and small businesses.

In 2012, I began my career as an educator. I am currently a public school special education teacher at Gunning Bedford Middle School. I have taught at Delaware County Community College, The Delaware Met, Kirk Middle School, and McCullough Middle School. I served on the board of The Delaware Met to assist with administering funds during its closure, and I was chosen to write Kirk Middle School’s Focus Plus plan in 2015. These experiences have allowed me to see how government policy can impact Delaware’s students directly, and have shown me both what makes our schools succeed and what we need to strengthen so that our children have access to opportunities.”

Some of her Issues that stood out to me:  Increasing education funding, not on failed programs, but after listening to the teachers about what resources they need (and are currently paying for out of their own pockets); Improving Delaware’s water infrastructure (she has shared pictures of Fairfax’s brown water on Twitter).

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Website
Facebook
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Instagram
Endorsements: 12th RD Democratic Committee, MaryAnn’s List, Delaware Stonewall Democrats, Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate, Delaware State AFL-CIO

Her flyers received by me so far:

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Her bio:  “Krista served for nearly a decade as a Deputy Attorney General in the Delaware Department of Justice under the administrations of Beau Biden and Matt Denn. As a leader, Krista prosecuted the most serious and sensitive criminal cases, developed policy and drafted legislation.  Krista spearheaded Attorney General Biden’s Senior Protection Initiative. As chief prosecutor on significant elder abuse cases, Krista also led a multi-disciplinary team of prosecutors, police, social workers and medical professionals in creating programs to protect seniors and vulnerable adults.

Krista also served as Assistant Unit Head of the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Units, where she successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases involving crimes committed against children, women, men and families.

Krista knows first-hand the healthcare challenges confronting Delaware families. When her younger son, Nate, faced a life-threatening leukemia diagnosis, Krista left the Department of Justice in 2015. She spent months at Nate’s bedside while he underwent successful cancer treatment.  Since her son’s recovery, Krista has dedicated hundreds of hours to board leadership and community service for several nonprofit organizations including the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware, the Family Advisory Council for Nemours Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders, the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children and her sons’ schools.”

Some of her Issues that stood out to me:  Concerns over new development along Routes 41, 48 and at the DuPont Country Club, and the needed smart management of the increase in traffic congestion; Protecting seniors and the vulnerable; Healthcare


Both candidates live in Fairfax.  Both candidates make pitches that appeal to me: Rachel says the General Assembly needs more teachers among their members to better address educational issues while Krista says the General Assembly needs more advocates  (both in the legal and community organizer sense)with real world experience facing those with health crises and fighting for those with disabilities or vulnerabilities.

I am still torn.  Rachel’s strongest attribute for me is that she is a teacher.  My brother is a teacher.  I know how difficult we make their jobs and I think the General Assembly will benefit with more teachers in it.  Krista’s strongest attribute for me is her legal and advocacy background, because that is also my background.   This is a very difficult but very welcome decision to have to make.    Because I know I will be very happy with whomever wins.  Both candidates will be excellent general election candidates.  In terms of fundraising, Rachel raised $5,355.94 in 2018 and has $13,524.18 cash on hand as of her latest 30 Day Primary Report.   Krista raised $19,722.90 in 2018 and has $63,066.15 cash on hand, a figure that is bolstered by a $50,000 self loan from the candidate.   The Republican incumbent, Deborah Hudson, has $35,836.28 cash on hand as of her last 2017 annual report filed in January 2018, but she will undoubtedly raise more than that given we don’t have her 2018 fundraising numbers and won’t until 30 days before general election (something that needs to be reformed).

So these next 10 days will be informative and exciting.   Does anyone have opinions on the candidates in the 12th RD and their issues?   Please, let’s try to keep it civil, with no name calling or personal attacks against any of the candidates (and luckily there hasn’t been much of that in this race).

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

17 comments on “Help Me Decide in the 12th RD

  1. I am voting for Krista Griffith and, for full disclosure, I am also volunteering on her campaign. I chose to work on Krista’s campaign because of 2 important reasons: 1) I am convinced that Krista will be able to walk into the General Assembly on day 1 and know exactly how to get to work and 2) she has THE best chance to defeat Deborah Hudson in the general election.
    When I first met Krista as a neighbor in Fairfax I didn’t know what she did for a living. I was at the time and remain impressed that she was able to tackle the hardest of cases—child abuse, senior abuse—with so much optimism that good people working in government can make real change in people’s lives. Her commitment to her cases was amazing to me. Her ability to wade into and help in situations that many people just want to ignore still amazes me. And then she had to make the decision to leave a career that she was really good at to take care of her son, Nate. I also remember how devastating that was for all them, but she and Ted tackled it with grace, determination, and faith. These impressions may seem far afield from a state rep job, but frankly, I have seen Krista take on enormous challenges and come out stronger. Her experience with Nate’s cancer didn’t just strengthen the family’s resolve, it challenged Krista to reckon with all the families that were financially destroyed by medical crises. This a huge issue for Krista, not because her family was devastated by medical bills, but because she saw other families suffer and knew she was in a position to help.

    As to my second reason, Krista has the resources and frankly the broader appeal to defeat Deborah Hudson. Krista’s platform is one of a solid Democrat with progressive goals, but she recognizes that nothing will get done in Dover without collaboration and compromise with the other side of the aisle. These are not dirty words, this is how real legislation gets passed. We have an opportunity to put forth some great legislation on behalf of the district and Delaware, and Hudson has simply been coasting on old ideas and old platforms. As a progressive Democrat, I am excited to see so many women across the country running for office. I am excited to see two women vying for this seat. But I also want to win the seat for the Democrats, and Krista can do it.

  2. LADYDEM2018

    The real question here is ‘ WHO can beat Debbie Hudson in November?’
    To me, THAT should be the deciding factor in deciding upon the democratic candidate for the 12th RD.
    For myself, I would have to go with the more experienced, better resourced and better connected candidate- the one that has shown her dedication to the community through her decade plus of public service both through her professional work and her volunteering for important causes. That is Krista Griffith.
    As YOU wrote in May, Krista Griffith has run a far stronger campaign. It has only gotten stronger since then!

    Cream rises.

  3. Jeff Porter

    The fact that we have two candidates ready to challenge Representative Hudson is exciting. The fact that both candidates bring impressive biographies to the table is fantastic. No matter who wins in September, voters in the 12th District will have the opportunity to send a new voice to represent us in the General Assembly.

    I’ve been working with Krista Griffith since she first kicked off her campaign. The more time I’ve spent with her, the more I’m convinced that Krista has what it takes not only to represent her constituents but also to be a leader in the General Assembly. Her experience with the Department of Justice will serve her constituents well. I’ve talked to attorneys that worked with her and a judges that she appeared before in Family Court. They couldn’t say enough about how dedicated Krista is and how hard she worked to be prepared for each case. I’ve watched Krista interact with voters and whether she is talking to one voter or to a large group of voters, Krista demonstrates confidence and compassion. She understands the issues and she is honest enough to present her position even when her audience would prefer to hear something else. What I am most impressed by is that Krista asks questions and listens to answers. She likes to walk away from each encounter feeling like she learned something.

    Both Krista and Rachel are motivating supporters to work hard on their behalf. Each woman brings something different to the campaign. Both women give voters in the 12th District a very strong alternative to the longtime incumbent. Delaware needs new ideas and both candidates are working hard to show voters that their unique experiences have prepared them to make changes in the General Assembly. Krista has shown me that she is prepared to take a leadership role and champion new legislation and she has my vote in September. I am very happy that we have two candidates competing for the nomination and I hope supporters for both candidates will rally around the nominee and ensure she wins in November.

  4. Sharon Knapp

    I don’t work on behalf of Rachel Blumenfeld because I live out of state, but I’m responding because I believe in her so strongly that I’d be remiss if I didn’t weigh in.

    What I can speak to is Rachel’s character, her values, her ideals.

    When I first met Rachel many years ago, I was frankly impressed with the significant professional accomplishments she’d made at such a young age. She’d graduated from a prestigious college, gotten her law degree, had established a practice, was pursuing another advanced degree, and was working to start a retail business. I think she was in her mid-twenties. I had accomplished children of my own who were her age, but ‘accomplished’ took on a whole new meaning when I met Rachel.

    What’s important here is the reason she was so accomplished. It wasn’t to prove something to herself (though I’m sure she did that). It wasn’t to impress. Rachel was motivated by something greater: the drive to help others, to serve, to make the world a better place.

    You could see this in her new business: an athletic clothing line designed for plus-sized women so that they could feel confident in themselves while working out. You could see it in her practice: working to help clients from all walks of life in need of counsel. And you could see it when she decided to abandon her law practice and go back to school yet again to help those who she felt were most underserved: children that many would have given up on academically, but whom Rachel took in as her own.

    Over the years, I’ve watched Rachel raise money for supplies for these kids, run drives to get them books that they can call their own, use her own funds to make sure they’re getting what they need. I’ve listened to her enthusiasm as “her kids” blossom and grow and heard her frustration when the system seemed to fail them.

    And that is what I most admire about Rachel Blumenfeld. She left a lucrative career to pursue an important one. When she discovered that being a passionate, caring teacher wasn’t ‘enough’ for these kids, she sought out ways to improve the community overall, to give these kids a fighting chance. She didn’t wait for someone else to make a move. She didn’t throw up her hands in exasperation. She decided to be the engine of change herself. She decided to run.

    I wish I lived in your district. I would campaign for Rachel. I’d put all of time and energy and resources into making sure she was elected. That’s how strongly I believe in her, in what she stands for, in what I know she can, and will, achieve.

  5. Unstable Isotope

    Who are you supporting for Auditor? All of the candidates leave me cold.

  6. RE Vanella

    Davies

  7. Which one would stand up to the Police Caucus in Dover? Not Griffith, methinks.

  8. Coming out of a long dormant lurking to heartily support Krista. I worked beside her before her foray into politics and she’s the real deal. She’s kindhearted, thoughtful, and a hard worker. She’s not an ego at all. I’ve seen her stand up to domestic abusers without flinching. In Dover she’ll do just fine.

    I don’t know Rachel but I’ve only heard lovely things. Krista has my vote though.

  9. Character, consistency and commitment is the driving force behind why I am supporting Krista Griffith in the 12th District. Krista has shown that when she commits to something, her job, her advocacy and her family she is fully in and consistent. She sees everything she does through to the end and she works harder and longer than anyone I’ve met. Krista’s compassion and commitment to voters is second to none. She truly wants to make the 12th District better for every single person who lives in it. She is a leader, not in words alone, but in action. Her drive is unmatched. That is why I have supported her and will vote for her.

  10. Rachel Blumenfeld has the knowledge, awareness, experience with the whole community, compassion, and drive to make positive change. I have no doubt she is the best choice. Rachel 100% has my support.

  11. Rachel’s background as an educator make her perfectly positioned to advocate for and create impactful change needed for families and communities. Wholeheartedly support her!

  12. I know Rachel well from teaching, and I think she has such a valuable voice that needs representation in Dover. Rachel is the type of teacher that knows her students better than anyone else, and she cares for each of her students as if they are her own. Teachers understand how heart breaking it is when a child comes to you telling you that they got kicked out of their home, or that they have been the only one taking care of their siblings. Teachers are on the ground and understand not only what the problems are with our system as is, but they understand the severity and the urgency to find solutions. I think that she brings a voice to the table that is missing too often in Leg Hall.

    Odvioulsy caring is not the only thing needed to hold public office, I also really appreciate her policy chops. Her mailers and her website both clearly lay out where she stand on every issue. She also does not just address issues, Rachel points out the exact policy goals she were propose. I am always frustrated by politicians that only discuss broad ideas, and not specific policy. I am always nervous thatvhey are trying to get by without being nailed down on any policy, and will not be predictable if they are elected.

    I’ve volunteered for Rachel a few times, as have other educators. She’s the real deal, and I think we need her in Dover.

  13. Krista is clearly the superior choice and the only one who has consistently demonstrated the experience, knowledge and commitment to the people of Delaware to successfully fill this seat. The candidate most likely to prevail in November is certainly a significant factor in making a decision– and Krista can prevail. This is a seat that can be won, and we have an experienced articulate candidate with a consistent record of serving Delawareans who honestly portrays her experience and beliefs. Krista is consistent in her commitments and has utilized her considerable skills to help so many vulnerable victims in Delaware. She is a decent, honest person, nothing phony, nothing fake. When people meet Krista, Ted and their family, people are rightly impressed. Krista is an outstanding writer as well. She listens to people, is respectful of their opinions. As a member of the Delaware Bar, she has a thorough and complete understanding of Delaware law and the processes, procedures and practices; she possesses not just knowledge, but experience drafting and working legislation through the process. She has been in the courts as a true advocate for more than a decade. With the retirement of Melanie George Smith, the General Assembly loses a member of the Delaware bar in the House of Representatives. Krista brings that- important distinction as well. Krista’s in depth knowledge of the Delaware code is an important skill, as legislators set out to review, amend and pass statutes. Krista has first hand experience. Krista makes time to volunteer in the community, to get to know people and the issues facing the community. As the parent of a special needs child, who is also a cancer survivor, Krista doesn’t just talk the talk- she has walked the walk and knows the fear so many parents face and the importance of first rate health insurance, and outstanding educational opportunities. I have spoken with many Democrats who had given up on the 12th ever being a Dem seat- until they met Krista—“she is the real deal” as a friend recently said to me. Authentic, hard working, brilliant, experienced and consistently committed to making Delaware a better, safer, place for everyone.

  14. If you have met Rachel Blumenfeld, I feel like the answer is clear. I do know her personally, and I have never met someone who has such a heart and passion for service. As another poster mentioned above, one thing that has always struck me as impressive about Rachel is that she left a financially lucrative job in pursuit of something greater, to make a difference in this world in education. Rachel does a hard job because she WANTS to, not because she has to. She has found great purpose and makes an amazing impact on the students that she works with by working tirelessly for them, but she has also discovered that by the time the students get to her, they are often already tangled in a negative cycle that is difficult to break. Again, truly wanting to be the change, she assessed what could be done to give these students a fair chance and realized that these students needed a voice in government. Instead of just complaining about it, she embodies action. If there is something TO be done, Rachel WILL do it. There is no telling her no, there is no persuading her otherwise. When she told me that she wanted to run, my jaw dropped and I tried to list reasons why she shouldn’t, or really- reasons why I would be too scared to do something of this magnitude. But her mind was made up and she was already full steam ahead. This is why I feel as though she is the right person for the job. Rachel has the heart for her constituents, she has proven that she will make any personal sacrifices needed for the greater good, and she will take charge and be a force.
    Another reason I feel as though Rachel is a promising candidate is because although a large portion of her platform is regarding education, she is incredibly socially aware of the many issues her constituents face. Rachel looks beyond the surface of problems to find the root cause and plans thoughtful solutions. This is evident on her mailers and website. I find it refreshing that she clearly states what she will advocate for and how she plans to do it.

  15. Anna Shields

    I am supporting and campaigning for Rachel Blumenfeld. I have no doubt that Rachel has what the 12th RD needs: an intelligent, driven, passionate, and experienced Representative with strong progressive values to make the change our state so desperately needs. An attorney-turned-special education teacher, Rachel understands how important education is in creating opportunities for Delaware’s youth and for our state’s economy. Our education system is failing us on so many levels, and I believe that it is vital to have representatives who have been in the classroom themselves and understand exactly where we can improve and what needs to be done. I have also seen how deeply she cares about the people of this district. If you’re still trying to decide, if you haven’t already seen them, I also encourage you to look at her answers to the Smart Justice questionnaire (https://www.votesmartjusticede.org/2018-general-assembly-primary-election-candidates/#rd12). Her answers take hard stances (particularly against the death penalty, civil asset forfeiture, and trying juveniles as adults), as well as demonstrate her understanding of the inequities faced by people of color throughout the criminal justice system, and made it clear to me that she is by far the best candidate to lead on those issues in Dover. Rachel has an incredible narrative from her experience as an attorney, teacher, and business owner, but Rachel doesn’t just have experience, she had a real understanding of policy and has real policy ideas. She doesn’t just support education, the environment, and criminal justice reform, she has substantive policy ideas for how we can improve in those areas and more. She truly is passionate about making the change, and I am incredibly proud to support her.

  16. For more than twenty years, I’ve personally known Rachel Blumenfeld as a civic-minded, well-informed, hard-working, dedicated advocate for justice and human rights. She she isn’t just decisive – she’s deliberative, applying swift due process to everything that comes her way. She isn’t just a teacher because she relays information and insight to her young classes; each of Rachel’s students is treated with laser focus and care to constantly ensure they all rise together. Rachel cares deeply about the very concept of community, which explains her dedication to the 12th. Two decades of knowing her is how I know she’s worthy of your vote and a great choice for the district.

  17. Lorie Steele

    First, I would like to say, how lucky it is there are two incredible candidates running in this Dem Primary for RD12. Both are accomplished women. Also, I think both are viable to beat Deb Hudson. However, I believe Rachel is the most viable to win this seat in the general election.

    I met Rachel months ago for coffee via a mutual friend who set up the meeting. I walked in the door with my skeptics l hat on (as one should do when meeting all people running for office). I asked her very pointed questions about her background: Former Lawyer, Educator, Small Business Owner. That is an impressive dynamic of experience and knowledge in three key areas. And I could see how much dedication and commitment she has had in the work she has done and continues to do. Also, as a Parent, and having diverse understanding of what all families in every community in this state struggle with and not just those in her own backyard.
    I asked her about policy positions. At first, she gave me board overview of what she believed and what she wanted to do on issues as most politicians do. Impressive as well. But here is the thing about giving board answers, they may sound good, you may agree with them but the #1 Question you should ask as voter is HOW? How are you going to do that? What are your Specific Plans to do that? It is very easy to say one they are going to improve Education, Business, Health Care, Public Safety, and many other issues in board terms. Many people running for office do this and frankly, it is not good enough. And as voters, we absolutely deserve the specifics of the How? from candidates. How they plan to accomplish their goals on every issue on their platform and those that matter to us.

    So I asked Rachel Blumenfeld, HOW? And wow, did she deliver on the Specifics. Every issue I got into with her, she had a Specific Plan. She did not fudge or continue to speak in board terms. That is risky thing for a candidate to do, some people may not like their specifics and they may lose votes. Rachel, by being specific, is giving the voters what they deserve, clear information, to make a real choice – win or lose votes in the process. That kind of integrity is something we so deeply need in today’s politics.

    Here is link to her page, see for yourself : http://rachelblumenfeld.com/issues/
    Also, with Criminal Justice adding she advocates passing legislations to end cash bail.
    And if there is anything you are not seeing on her web page, you can also go to her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blumenfeldfordistrict12/?ref=br_rs
    And you can Email her via her website or Facebook DM her any questions you have. Also, she is more than willing to get on the phone with you to discuss any issue.
    That is another thing that I appreciated about her. It is absolutely important to her if elected to be available to constituents. Which as many have experienced or have heard as been an issue for many in RD12 with Deb.

    Besides Rachel’s experience, knowledge, dedication, commitment, overall platform, advocacy, and knowing she will fight for the reforms we need, it was really the specific plans she gave that put me over the top for her.

    In closing, I left that initial coffee shop meeting with her without hesitation to volunteer for her. And at one point over the summer, I had the pleasure of working as an interim campaign manager for her. Everyday supporting her, she has continued to impress me. I really think she will serve RD12 and the State of Delaware so well. I hope you give Rachel serious consideration. Thank you. And Let’s Go Blue!

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