“You Are Wasting My Time”

James Demartino   As I wrote, just two days ago, this is James DeMartino, who wants to run against Delaware Speaker of the House, Pete Schwartzkopf, but can he?   First let me link to my previous article, in order to show, while I was critical of the handling of a prospective candidate by the Sussex County GOP, and one would also have to include the Delaware GOP as well, I did leave open the possibility, Mr. DeMartino may actually have been ballot qualified.   Can The Republicans Get Anything Right?

Following my posting of this piece, I had the “pleasure” of meeting and speaking directly to Mr. DeMartino, Friday morning, at the Grand Opening of the new Jimmy’s Grill in Rehoboth, which just so happens to be in the heart of the 14th Representative District for which Mr. DeMartino is running.

Prior to Mr. DeMartino’s arrival, the Sussex County GOP Chairman, Billy Carroll arrived, and came to our table. The conversation eventually came around to the residency question, and ballot qualification of James DeMartino. Mr. Carroll explained,  though Mr. DeMartino had not registered to vote in the 14th, nor had he changed his license, until 2014, he had been “living” and “working” in the Lewes/ Rehoboth area since 2013.

I asked Mr. Carroll the same questions I would be asking James DeMartino in about ten minutes, however I didn’t know this at the time, because at no time did Mr. Carroll say, “James will be here any minute, why don’t you ask him yourself”.  Maybe Mr. Carroll was hoping I would leave prior to.

Mr. DeMartino did arrive, and also came to our table. My good friend Steve Grossman asked him if he had read my post of the previous night, he said he had, and turning to me stated, “you have drawn a lot of attention to this issue”.  To which I responded, “weren’t you on the with Duke Brooks yesterday talking about this?” Answer, yes.

As I began to ask some questions about his residency in the state of Delaware, he seemed to become more and more agitated. He stated  he met the qualifications to run for state Representative, and asked if I had read the portion of the State Constitution which sets forth the qualifications. And since I had not read it recently, I asked him to tell me his interpretation of the language. Instead, he asked repeatedly if I had read it, I answered that I had not recently read it, so again I asked for his interpretation.

He stated the Delaware State Constitution says, “to be a representative, a person must be domiciled within the state for three years next preceding the day of his or her election”.
He used the word “domiciled” several times.

Let us address this issue first, the word domicile can be interpreted as such, ” 1.place of residence; abode; house or home. 2. Law. a permanent legal residence.”

And this may be why, as a lawyer, Mr. DeMartino has glommed onto this phrase. One slight problem, this is not the language of the Delaware Constitution. This is what the Constitution says in reference to the qualifications to be a State Representative.

“Article II, sec. 3,

   No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-four years, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State three years next preceding the day of his or her election, “.

Notice it says, “citizen and inhabitant” , not domiciled.

Now back to my conversation with Mr. DeMartino.  I asked him what he was using to prove his residency in Delaware in 2013. His answer was his pay stub from a part-time job in Rehoboth. He claims residency in Oct of 2013, even though he did not file to vote, and change his license until March of 2014.

I pointed out this would mean, if true, he had failed to meet the legal thirty-day requirement of changing his license with DMV. I had also pointed this out to Chairman Carroll earlier, and received the same response from both men, “well everybody does it”.  So a man running for office, an office in which he would be responsible for making laws, seems to believe it is okay to break some laws, if everybody does it. Yeah okay.

Another interesting fact which Mr. DeMartino gave me was about his taxes. When he claimed  his pay stub proved his residency, I asked where he had filed taxes. Now hold onto your seats folks, this is where we go down the rabbit hole. He proudly informed me that in 2013 he filed, wait for it, here it comes, “NON-RESIDENT!”  What? Are you freaking kidding me? He is actually claiming that by filing non-resident on his taxes, proves his residency. Do we need anymore proof of what the hell is wrong with the Republican party?

But let us take a look at his claim, what does Delaware Code say about non-resident filing.

“Title 30, sec.,

    A tax is hereby imposed for each taxable year on the taxable income of every nonresident individual of this State equal to the tax determined under § 1102 of this title as if such individual were a resident, “.

This code clearly delineates between resident and nonresident. Yes, you will be taxed, “as if such individual were a resident, “. But it doesn’t make you a resident, nor a citizen of the state.  I would ask Mr. DeMartino to release his 2013 tax forms, since he is claiming to only have lived in Delaware since October of 2013, we can assume he may have also filed taxes in his previous home state, and one would assume he filed as “resident” there. So if his tax forms are his argument, then we as Delaware voters have a right to see both.

Because, either he rightly filed as a nonresident of Delaware, which means in my view he is unqualified to run, or he may have filed an incorrect tax form, if as he claims he was actually a resident of Delaware, and filed as nonresident.

I think there is clearly a question to be asked here about Mr. DeMartino’s Delaware citizenship, and what constitutes such.  My opinion is, since he filed as nonresident in 2013, and did not file a change of license until 2014, then either by failing to follow the law, or attempting to skirt the legal requirements for candidacy, Mr. DeMartino may well be ineligible to run in this election.

Now I want to give my impression of Mr. DeMartino from the “conversation”  I had with him about this issue. Remember this is a man who is running for public office, he is running against one of the most powerful political figures in the state of Delaware. One would expect him to be able to formulate, and deliver his message in a respectful and intelligent manner. One would not expect this person, to become angry and aggressive in defending their position. If Mr. DeMartino can’t handle an interview from a part-time political blogger on the question of his ballot qualifications, how will he respond when the mainstream media starts asking the same questions?

It wasn’t long  into the questions, until Mr. DeMartino asked me what my “perspective was”? I said excuse me, perspective on what? Issues he said. I said my perspective on any given issue is determined by the issue, that I don’t hold any one perspective for all issues. (I read into this question, “are you a liberal?”)  I believe this was proven out by his next question about my party affiliation. I stated I am a registered Republican, and have been for many, many years. (I would add, life long Delaware citizen as well.) 

I can’t help but think, since he asked my party affiliation,  this somehow plays into, how he reacts and treats people. So can we assume,  if elected, and if he were contacted by a constituent, he might check voter registration before deciding to help said person? Does he believe if elected, he is only the representative of the republicans who vote for him?

Mr. DeMartino also made the statement, “you’re not even a Democrat, I don’t know why we are even talking about this”. As if to say, a good Republican would just look the other way, and let me possibly break the law.

Something else which struck me, was when he had finished being interviewed by Dan Gaffney for Delaware 105.9, Mr. DeMartino and Billy Carroll both left Jimmy’s, even though it sits in the heart of the 14th for which he is running, and did not have breakfast at a local business in the district, nor did he work the room for potential voters. Again, just an example of how unprepared he is as a candidate.

But the quote of the day, from the entire exchange, was when Mr. DeMartino said to me, “I don’t know why I’m talking to you, your wasting my time.” Okay, I can’t vote for him, but I do have some readers in his district, and if he could have made a better case about the residency issue, I would have written that as well. And since he is running for a state office, in a way, his decisions affect all citizens of the state. So to say taking the time to explain his “perspective” about the question to a citizen, is a waste of time, well again, one has to wonder what type of representation the people of the 14th would receive from James DeMartino.

Wasting your time Mr. DeMartino? No, I think you may be wasting your own time, and that of the voters in the 14th District.  It goes without saying, there will be a ballot qualification challenge coming from the Democrats on this, and from what I have learned, the Sussex GOP have failed, once again.



32 Comments on "“You Are Wasting My Time”"

  1. waterpirate says:

    I guess this will all be up to Ms. Manlove in the end. If she accepts the foul on residency for Mr. D. How will she continue to explain away her ruling on Ms. Mcguiness?

  2. Frank Knotts says:

    And the thing is, we knwo they got McGinnis wrong, which may force them to get it wrong again. Which means it’s just wrong, either way.

  3. waterpirate says:

    My point exactly. If it is wrong for both sides, D’s and R,s the blindfolded lady holding the scales of justice, just threw up in her mouth a little bit.

  4. fightingbluehen says:

    Off topic, but there has been a horrible shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida. What will the political ramifications be? Gun control issue? Hate crime issue? Terrorist issue?
    You know that the campaigns are already on this, and you can bet that the Clinton teams are working with their media alliances to spin this as a hate crime/gun issue, while the Trump people will be leaning towards the islamic terror aspect.

  5. Mitch Crane says:

    There are differences in the qualifications for office of the Lt Governor (same as the Governor) and of a state representative. While both require a person to be a “citizens and inhabitant” of Delaware for a stated period ( 6 years for the executives and 3 for state representative), the Delaware Constitution requires a person to be a citizen and inhabitant of the United States for 12 years and an INHABITANT of Delaware for 6. The language for State Representative requires the person to be a citizen AND inhabitant of the State for 3 years.

    This distinction is what led Ms. Manlove to rule that Kathy McGuiness is qualified to tun for Lt governor- she continued to INHABIT her home in Delaware during her time in Utah. The same conclusion in a state representative candidate can not be supported by a similar interpretation because a candidate must be BOTH a citizen and an inhabitant of Delaware.

  6. fightingbluehen says:

    I guess it depends on the definition of INHABIT. If you live and vote in New York for instance, and you own a beach house in Rehoboth; are you inhabiting the beach house or your home in New York? Can you inhabit both? I know you can’t vote in both.

  7. Corrupt Democrats says:

    i hope they rule against him only so I can turn in the voter registration of a democrat who ran in the last election but only registerd in Delaware 2 years prior

  8. Frank Knotts says:

    Mitch, not to get too far off the topic of Mr. DeMartino, but your quoting of the requirements for Governor and Lt. Governor had a couple of gaps. Here is what the Delaware Constitution actually says.
    “Section 6. The Governor shall be at least thirty years of age, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the United States twelve years next before the day of his or her election, and the last six years of that term an inhabitant of this State, unless he or she shall have been absent on public business of the United States or of this State.”
    First of all it says, “have been a citizen and inhabitant of the United States twelve years next before the day of his or her election, and the last six years of that term an inhabitant of this State, ”
    The “AND” is important because it means they must reach both thresholds. The other important word, which you left out in your defense of Ms. McGinnis, is “LAST”. ” and the last six years of that term an inhabitant of this State,”
    This is where Ms, McGinnis has some issues in my opinion, since she moved to Utah, changed her driver’s license, and voted in that state within the last six years. As FBH pointed out, what constitutes “inhabits”. Notice my consistency, I am holding Mr. DeMartino to the same standard, if his license, and his voter registration were not changed until 2014, well then he is unqualified, and if we are going to use that standard for Republicans, then also for Democrats.
    What would your threshold for residency be Mitch?

  9. waterpirate says:

    The argument based on the word ” inhabitant” and the mincing of what a normal person would clearly deem a violation of Utah and or Delaware, voting rules to be valid is bullshit. If Ms. Manlove allowed that, she should allow Mr. DeMartino to run as well. It will promote equal corruption of the spirit of the law, as it applies to residency and candidate qualifications.

    I do not support either candidate, just the notion of equal bias applied to all.

  10. Mitch Crane says:

    Frank, I am not arguing for or against Ms. Manlove’s decision. The job an an attorney is making a case is to distinguish the facts of a current case against a prior decision. The difference between the requirements for Governor/Lt Governor and for State Representative is the use of AND in the former and only INHABIT in the latter.

    My professional opinion at the time was that Mr. Bodenweiser could not be replace on the 2012 ballot for state senator. The Delaware Supreme Court decided otherwise. One never knows how such matters will be ruled upon. I remember a long ago US Supreme Court ( could have been the Pennsylvania Supreme Court) decision that stated “shall means shall, except when it doesn’t.”

  11. Frank Knotts says:

    Understood Mitch. The two really are only similar as to what determines “inhabits”.

  12. Rick says:

    Gaffney replayed his interview with the candidate from Friday’s Jimmy’s Grill broadcast, and I heard nothing that definitively indicated legal Delaware residency. He danced around the driver’s license question, but he does have the right against self-incrimination.

    At the end of the day, who really cares? If Schwartzkopf makes an issue of it, then there could be a problem. If he doesn’t, let it go.

  13. Janette says:

    So Rick, if the Speaker has no issue with a non-qualified resident running against him they we should let it go. This guy wants to represent the people of the 14th district, even if he has to lie and cheat his way there. I am sure the leadership of the 14th has been working with their candidate and never made sure he met the requirements to hold office.

    We have the ‘rules’ in place to make sure everyone who wants to run, has been a member of the community and state long enough to know who the president of the fire company is, or should know. Once again the GOP has created it’s own problem by not doing their job.

    I don’t know if he is ballot qualified or not, and I am sure the Department of Elections, the GOP and the lawyer will figure it out.

  14. Dan Gaffney says:

    Cape Gazette today reports DeMartino’s candidacy was DENIED by Dept. of Elections on Friday.

  15. Fish Bites says:

    So, in other words, DeMartino has been wasting everyone else’s time.

  16. Rick says:

    So Rick, if the Speaker has no issue with a non-qualified resident running against him they we should let it go.

    It hadn’t been positively determined (when I posted) that he was “non-qualified.”

  17. waterpirate says:

    So we can assume that Pete rules the roost at the Gtown election boards office??

  18. speedracer says:

    The inhabitant definition is more art than science, and takes into many factors that themselves may be subject to their own rules. For instance, if you move to Delaware from Maryland for an indefinite stay, but more than 30 days, you may be required to get a Delaware driver’s license. However, under State income tax law you may be a dual resident, or a resident of both states, and would need to file as such in both states. In this case the law states you can only be a resident of one state, which goes to looking at the preponderance of facts. This gets to the art of the matter.
    Not knowing McGuiness’ specific facts, but knowing some general ones, I suspect that the State determined that i) prior to moving to Utah she was a resident, ii) after moving to Utah she maintained a sufficient presence in the State and iii) she had a clear intention to return. As such she didn’t abandon her residency.
    But failure to abandon is different than establishing a new residency, it takes effort to establish.
    DeMartino came from out of state and (so far) has failed to clearly delineate his residency status for the 3-year period. Whereas McGuiness needed to abandon what she had, DeMartino needed to create something new. So far he has failed to offer the needed proof that he did so.
    As a lawyer DeMartino should be well aware of how the rules should work, and what he should do to meet them. In retrospect he should have aggressively taken steps to establish his residency when he got here so that he could survive the challenge today. Shame on him. Beyond his legal training he has been active in the 14th long enough to know better.
    In spite of this I also question whether the 3-year rule is constitutional. The 14th amendment to the US Constitution allows for freedom of movement between the states without penalty. In Saenz they determined that durational residency requirements, such as the 3-year rule, that work against a new mover to a state violates that premise. Applying that rule to Delaware’s law, the 3-year rule can only prohibit a new mover from running and, thus on its face, appears to go against Saenz. In fact, look at the dialogue. All are arguing that DeMartino shouldn’t qualify specifically because he is a new mover and fails to meet the 3-year rule.
    Now one might argue whether someone who has lived here for less than 3 years is sufficiently aware of State issues to represent the district. But the statute only requires residency in the district so as to get that knowledge. So it would seem that the answer is to increase the 1-year requirement to 3-years if you want to make that argument. At that point the same rules apply to new movers and old residents alike.
    In the end I believe they should allow DeMartino to run. The issue is so finely drawn as to be immaterial. Let the voters decide.

  19. Rick says:

    In the end I believe they should allow DeMartino to run. The issue is so finely drawn as to be immaterial. Let the voters decide.

    I agree. And Schwartzkopf probably does, too.

  20. waterpirate says:

    A liberal interpretation of all this was brought on by Ms. McGuiness, so just because she is a native she gets a pass? Let him run and let the chips and salsa fall where they may.

  21. Frank Knotts says:

    Speed Racer, your argument about the 3 year requirement is flawed as you see it as a penalty. It is not. It is a requirement that any and all who move here must meet. This also means there is no application of the 14th Amendment under equal protection. Just because one person moved here prior to another does not show favor to either. If we were to apply your logic, then we would need to remove the age requirement since it penalizes people who were born later than others.
    The three year requirement is to allow for people to get a sense of the entire state since they will be castin votes to affect the state. Obviously it should not take as long to get to know a district, and once you are in the state three years, the one year district requirement prevents people from moving around to avoid redistricting .

  22. mouse says:

    Maybe the sheriff could run in his place

  23. Fish Bites says:

    “The three year requirement is to allow for people to get a sense of the entire state since they will be castin votes to affect the state.”

    One can imagine all sorts of sensible requirements, but again why not simply let voters decide if they feel someone has lived there long enough.

    Should a representative be able to read? There is no requirement that a representative be literate. Why not? Do you think that an illiterate person who has lived there for four years is better than a literate one who has been there for two?

    Should a representative not be a convicted child molester? Please tell me why you think a lifelong child molester is preferable to someone who has lived there for two years and eleven months. I’d like to hear you explain why it is more important to elect the child molester.

    That’s what is stupid about these kinds of rules. There is not rule against being a murderer, because it is more important that they have lived there for three years than whether or not they killed someone. Why not just let the voters decide whether they would prefer to elect the serial killer who has lived there for three years instead of the veteran who decided to stay in Delaware two years ago after leaving the Air Force.

    But, no, you’d rather elect the serial killer than the Air Force veteran. Is that right?

  24. Frank Knotts says:

    FB, I believe the duration requirements are more about preventing political opportunist from moving around just to run for office. See, they work.

  25. Fish Bites says:

    Oh, okay, Well that makes sense. Better to have a serial killer or rapist run for office than a political opportunist. Good to know the voters have protection against that, or they might elect one.

  26. Frank Knotts says:

    FB, your argument is, straw man. If as you say no prohibition exist on the things you list, is no reason to remove the duration requirement, but may be a reason to add your list.

  27. Fish Bites says:

    …or it might be a reason for just letting voters decide whom they want to elect. If they don’t want a political opportunist moving in, then the way to “solve” that problem is simple – don’t vote for him.

    And, quite obviously, the thing about the “child molester” is not a strawman hypothetical. It is an actual situation which played out in the last election cycle, if you will recall.

  28. Frank Knotts says:

    Well FB, you’ve got me there. But it’s a constitutional issue, better get started.

  29. Rick says:

    Let the voters decide. Simple.

  30. mouse says:

    The voting system is flawed. Only half the population of elligible voters are registered to vote and only half of them actually vote. So in national elections, a majority of 1/8 of the population wins the POTUS. Then people are very easy to manipulate. Look at some of you guys. Just toss out some hate and fear of Muslims and Mexicans and you all shake your fists and vote cheerfully for it. It’s little different than the tribal mentality at the root of terrorism.

  31. Fish Bites says:

    “Let the voters decide. Simple.”

    Precisely. Eligibility restrictions on US citizens running for office only have the effect of not allowing voters to decide for themselves whom they believe to be “eligible”. If they don’t want someone coming in two years ago and running, then they can simply not vote for that person.

    My examples were intended to show that you are never going to have a comprehensive list of “things that should disqualify a candidate”. But there isn’t any reason to make a list like that in the first place. If the voters prefer the two-year resident Air Force veteran over the child molester who was born here, then I think we can trust voters to make that decision.

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