Widespread Early Jockeying is a new trend in 1st State
The political dynamic is going to shift some in Delaware next year. The Governor and Lt. Governor slots will both be open. Matt Denn vacated the Lt. Governor slot to be Attorney General, leaving it open for the next two years. There will be no incumbent in that slot to whom the Governor can transition or who will have the public eye this year. Governor Markell is term limited out of office.
Republicans are fresh out off of their momentum gaining 2014 with people already stating their intentions for 2016. Former state trooper Lacey Lafferty is still running for governor, but she is joined by State Senator Colin Bonini. The only Democrat announcing is former Attorney General Beau Biden, but the New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon seems to be making moves and others are preparing the ground for Congressman John Carney just in case Biden’s plans change.
For Congress, former Mayor and Kent County GOP Chairman Hans Reigle is testing the waters with a serious eye toward running. He had 3 tables of supporters at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Dover 2014 nominee Rose Izzo already has a 2016 site, but oddly her team blocked Delaware Politics (which has been the fairest and friendliest media source to her three campaigns) from her Twitter feed. She is said to be doing some sort of political makeover. Rumors have Businessman Fred Cullis considering another run after an aborted run in 2010. A number of Democrats seem interested as well, but are waiting to see if John Carney runs for Governor. None would be likely to primary him.
For Lt. Governor, the Democrats have County officials looking at moving up. New Castle County President and former Black Elected Officials Caucus Chairman Christopher Bullock is strongly considering running. Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Brad Eaby is seriously contemplating running. Rumors have it that the Speaker of the State House of Representatives, Pete Schwartzkopf is somewhat considering running. On the Republican side, Levy Court Commissioner Glen Howell is mulling over a run. The only other name that I hear floated, oddly enough, is an effective Dover City Councilman, who is writing the article and is too occupied with other projects this year to be part of this early speculation.
Insurance Commissioner is interesting. The Democratic incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart seems to have a number of dissenters withing her own party. On the Republican side, former Clerk of the Peace George Parrish is running. There are always perennial rumors about former State Representative Dave Ennis running.
The 2016 early line started before the 2014 election ended. A combination of renewed competition between the parties and the prospect of open seats for top statewide offices and a vulnerable insurance commissioner have encouraged candidates to test the waters. This will make 2015 unusually intriguing for the politically astute. It is my hope that a vivid vision and a fresh approach will accompany the desire to serve. Delaware needs a solid plan to move forward.