Charles L. Copeland

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Charlie Copeland
Chair of the Delaware Republican Party
In office
May 29, 2013 – April 29, 2017
Preceded by Nelly Jordan (Acting)
Succeeded by Mike Harrington
Minority Leader of the Delaware Senate
In office
Preceded by ???
Succeeded by Gary Simpson
Member of the Delaware Senate
from the 4th district
In office
January 14, 2003 – June 2008
Preceded by Dallas Winsow
Succeeded by Michael. Katz
Personal details
Born 1963 (age 54–55)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Bonnie
Relatives Du Pont family
Education Duke University (BA, MBA)

Charles L. "Charlie" Copeland (born 1963) is a Delaware businessman and politician. He is a former Minority Leader of the Delaware State Senate and ran for the Lieutenant Governorship of Delaware in 2008.

Early life and family[edit]

Copeland is the grandson of Lammot du Pont Copeland, making him a member of the Du Pont family.[1] Copeland attended Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware where he pitched for the varsity baseball team and pursued a passion for the sciences, especially physics. Upon graduating from Tower Hill in 1981, Copeland enrolled as an undergraduate at Duke University and earned a double major in Physics and Computer Science. In 1994, he obtained an MBA from Duke's School of Business. Charlie married his high school sweetheart, Bonnie Egan, in 1987. They now live in Wilmington with their two children and their four rescued dogs. Their family attends Christ Episcopal Church of Christiana Hundred.

Professional Career and Community Involvement[edit]

Copeland was one of only a handful of state legislators to own and operate a family business. When he first assumed management of Associates Graphic Services in 1994, the small Delaware printing company in Wilmington had only ten employees. Since then, AGS has grown to over 50 employees and evolved into a high tech business. In June 2008, AGS was internationally recognized in Düsseldorf, Germany for innovation and exception in the industry by CIP4, an international industry association. In 2009, AGS won the "Best in Show" Award at the Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association annual dinner, and it won the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for upholding high corporate ethics.

In 1997, 5 years before first deciding to run for public office, Copeland co-founded the Challenge Program, a Wilmington-based vocational-training program for at-risk youth in the city. In the program, young men receive job training in construction and are afforded the opportunity to develop a marketable skill set. Upon graduation, participants are placed in construction jobs with local companies. Throughout training, participants renovate and repair homes which the Challenge Program then turns over to Habitat for Humanity, Wilmington Housing Partnership, the Wilmington Housing Authority and other local charities. Copeland sits as the Board President of the Challenge Program. In addition, he remains involved with the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, and the Mount Cuba Center.

Since 2007, he has been working to start a Charter High School in the city of Wilmington Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security.

Political career[edit]

Dissatisfied with the state of Delaware politics, in 2002 Charlie challenged his incumbent Republican State Senator, Dallas Winslow, in a primary election for the 4th State Senate District. Copeland defeated Winslow in the primary, and went on to win over 70% of the vote in the general election, in the Republican district that November, demonstrating popularity with both Independents and moderate Democrats, as well as with Republicans. Charlie has represented the Brandywine Hundred to Hockessin area Senate District from 2002 to 2008.

In both the primary and election for State Senate, Charlie ran on a platform of effectiveness in government, lower taxes, increased governmental transparency, economic growth, and education reform.

In 2006, Charlie was elected Minority Leader of his caucus. He was the youngest serving Minority Leader in the Delaware State Senate since Delaware Congressman Mike Castle held the same position in the 1970s.

Charlie retired from the State Senate in June 2008. In May 2008, Charlie was unanimously endorsed by his party to be the candidate for Lieutenant Governor of the State of Delaware, an office elected independently from that of the Governor's. Despite garnering more votes than John McCain and Bill Lee Charlie Copeland was unable to beat the 2008 Democratic landslide that transformed Delaware into a one party state. Then-state Insurance Commissioner Matthew P. Denn defeated Copeland by a 61% to 39% margin [1].

Charlie Copeland was elected Chairman of the Delaware State Republican Committee at the Party's special convention in Dover on July 20, 2013. He replaced former Chairman John C. Sigler, esq., who resigned the chairmanship on May 29, 2013. Nelly A. Jordan, of Sussex County, who was elected Vice-Chair at the Party's Wilmington convention on April 27, served as acting chair until Copeland's election.

State Senate[edit]

Though he was assigned to several, the only committee Copeland specifically requested upon entering the state legislature was the Education Committee, believing that the roots of most of Delaware’s chronic and long-term problems could be best confronted in the way that Delawarean children were educated. During his time on the Education Committee, he advocated parental choice in education and stood as a firm proponent of charter schools. In addition, Copeland pushed for higher standards and more efficient administration for public schools.

Upon entering the State Senate in 2002, Copeland worked with Democrat State Senator Karen Peterson in opposition to the “desk drawer veto”, the practice by which a Committee Chairperson can single-handedly prevent a piece of legislation from receiving a public hearing and debate. To date, this practice persists.[2]

In April 2008, Copeland achieved the posting of senate roll call votes on the General Assembly website whereby the public could access voting records of their state senators. Commenting on the success in his caucus’s press release of 4/8/08, he identified the measure as a “one small common-sense step toward transparency in government.”

Copeland has stated his hopes for similar accountability measures were he elected Lieutenant Governor in the belief that public oversight would demand greater discipline from state government. The most prominent of these measures would have been the posting of government contracts online so that members of the public could have seen where exactly the state spends its money.

Public offices[edit]

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the Delaware General Assembly take office the second Tuesday of January. The State Senate has a term of four years.

Office Type Location Elected Took Office Left Office
State Senator Legislature Dover 2002 January 14, 2003 June 2008

Election results[edit]

Election results
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
2002 State
Primary Charles L. Copeland Republican 2,151 62.8% Dallas Winslow Republican 1,276 37.2%
2002 State
General Charles L. Copeland Republican 11,592 72.3% Fred J. Boykin Democrat 4,431 27.7%
2008 Lt. Governor General Charles L. Copeland Republican 149,222 39% Matt Denn Democrat 236,741 61%


  1. ^ Nagengast, Larry. "The Past, Present and Future of DuPont". Delaware Today. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Nelly Jordan
Chair of the Delaware Republican Party
Succeeded by
Mike Harrington