Independent Party of Delaware candidate Michael Tedesco believes he truly has Republican incumbent State Sen. Colin Bonini worried about the outcome of the Nov. 6 general election that will decide who will represent lower Kent County in the future.
That is because Bonini called Tedesco shortly after the latter filed to run and asked him to drop out of the race. Bonini also called Independent Party of Delaware Chairman Wolfgang von Baumgart and asked him to talk Tedesco out of running.
Both declined Bonini's request.
"I replied that it takes at least two people to have an election instead of a coronation and that, as a matter of principle, Mike Tedesco would remain on the ballot to ensure the integrity of the electoral process by offering the voters a choice," von Baumgart said.
Bonini said he made the calls simply because Tedesco had espoused similar, conservative views on the latter's website. Therefore, Bonini thought he could work with Tedesco as opposed to against him.
"He would rather seek office and I totally respect his right to do so," Bonini said. "In addition, I know Mike has run for or planned to run for many offices as a Democrat, then a Republican, then a Democrat again … and now an Independent," he added. "He listed politics as a 'hobby' on his website, so I contacted him, not just to see if we could focus on our common issues together, but also to know if he was serious or if running for office is some kind of entertainment for him. … I feel very strongly that my service to the people of the 16th senate district is serious and important."
Since those telephone calls, Tedesco has worked to be a thorn in Bonini's side. He believes that in a one-on-one race with no Democrat running, the people of the 16th district will have "a unique opportunity to cast a vote for real change."
"I have heard time and again over the years people say that they would really like to vote for the independent candidate, but they can't because it will just help the guy they don't want to win," Tedesco said. "If I can win this election as an independent, all minor party candidates will need to be taken seriously in future elections."
Page 2 of 2 - Tedesco was not shy about going after Bonini's legislative record. He criticized Bonini for infamously voting no regularly for the budget rather than offering an amendment to the budget.
"The result would be exactly the same if he voted yes, so at the end of the day what has he really done?" Tedesco said. "He casts a meaningless vote and then doesn't back it up with any conviction. I will be a far more active legislator."
Bonini defended his record as a "common-sense conservative" Republican in the Democratically-controlled Delaware State Senate.
"We need people in government who are willing to stand up for what they believe is right, even when many others disagree," he said. "My record is very clear: I am an independent voice who will challenge the political culture when needed to stand up for my constituents and to keep the state government in check when it becomes too large and too intrusive.
"I am who I am: a common-sense conservative watchdog who believes in smaller, more efficient government, which is accountable to the people. That's what I've always stood for and what I hope to continue to stand for in the state senate."