Strong Thoughts on the Office of Lt. Governor

Strong Thoughts on the Office of Lt. Governor

Guest Opinion

By: Dave Graham

The office of Lt. Governor of Delaware may be compared to the office of Vice-President of the United States. The Lt. Governor shall assume the duties of the Chief Executive, the Governor, in the event of his or her resignation, demise or incapacity, plus preside over the Senate and the Board of Parole and Pardons and only cast a vote in the State Senate in the event of a tie.

Accordingly, it is not a proactive position of power, per se. More accurately, it is a position of influence. So, the question arises as to what qualities and attributes…beyond intelligence, honesty, and integrity … are desirable in the next Lt. Governor for Delaware:

First, a working knowledge of the state and U.S. Constitutions

Second, dedication to the greater public interest

Third, the ability to serve in an advisory capacity and support the Governor

Fourth, good communications skills coupled with a positive attitude.

Fifth, adaptability and management skills

Sixth, insight and creativity

As state government, public issues and the common problems Delaware faces become more complicated, a governor may increasingly delegate authority to or seek advice from the Lt. Governor. We must elect someone who is capable of wise counsel, and able to assume the office of Governor, if and when necessary, with a minimum of difficulties.

However, since the Governor and Lt. Governor are separately elected, there is a possibility they will hail from opposing political parties. In that event, the Lt. Governor simply presides over the Delaware Senate, the Board of Pardons and Parole, casts a vote in the event of State Senate ties, collects a salary plus benefits in excess of $70,000, and inquires as to the health and welfare of the sitting Governor of the opposing party, unless we are fortunate to have two exceptional people of opposing politial parties, who place the greater public interest above First State partisan politics as usual

If Delaware voters wisely elect a duo from the same political party, as has happened every four years since 1988, then the Lt. Governor may work in tandem with the governor to promote a strong and effective State government that serves all the citizens of Delaware.

Finally, as the office of Lt. Governor, while not primary, is still important in the effective governance of Delaware, the State Legislature may need to rethink the issues of succesion constructively for the 21st Century. Given the recent state constitutional issue of the vacancy created by the resignation of the Lt. Governor Mathew P. Denn (now Attorney General Mathew P. Denn), a Delaware constitutional amendment to roughly mirror the U.S. Constitution should be considered.

Unless there is also constitutional amendment to allow the nomination of a new Lt. Governor by the sitting Governor with State Senate confirmation, an alternative may be a change in the order of succession in the event of a vacancy of the Governor’s chair. Currently, an unelected and appointed Secretary of State would the next in line for Governor. Perhaps the Delaware Constitution should also be amended to provide for the Speaker of the House followed by the Senate President Pro Tem, both elected officials to succeed in the event there is no sitting Lt. Governor.

Ultimately, it is up to the People to influence their State Representatives in deciding this question.

[ Disclosure: Dave Graham, of Smyrna, was the 2014 Independent Party of Delaware Candidate for Attorney General, the 2012 Independent Party-endorsed Republican Write-in Candidate for Governor, the 2010 Republican Write-in Candidate for Attorney General, a 2008 filed Republican Candidate for Governor, and a Candidate in the 2004 Republican Primary for Governor. A 1979 graduate of Goldey Beacom College and a Delaware-licensed C.P.A., in his youth, Mr. Graham served as a sergeant with U.S. Army First Armored Division in Germany. ]

6 thoughts on “Strong Thoughts on the Office of Lt. Governor”

  1. Well, in terms of whom we would like to see nominated for Lt. Governor, I would nominate David Anderson, of course.

    In terms of who would be the most interesting political move, I would nominate Lamar Gunn and watch the Democrats squirm under the glare of the spotlight dealing with how they stole the election from a Black Republican…. or even just the public awareness that Black Republicans actually exist.

    In terms of the factor of experience that many consider important, one could nominate Charlie Copeland. He has been Chairman of the DEGOP for a decent interval. Or Kevin Wade because he hit 42% with almost no money last year, although having talked to him about other offices I am not sure he wants to change his focus.

    Or perhaps the strongest candidate would be Ken Simpler, although I think he got elected only last year along with the assurances that he was really going to do the job of Treasurer and not treat it as a stepping stone.

  2. I think Kevin Wade’s decision to run for Lt. Gov. would be influenced a lot by his believe that he should run for US Senate again, and that race might happen sooner than expected. We talked about him running against Carney, but he felt he was better suited to the Senate race. However, I don’t think he would be closed minded about considering all the options. Having started his own business from scratch and run it for 30 years, I think he would have more qualifications to be Lt. Governor than some who are purely policy oriented.

  3. [Damn auto-correct. Sorry]



    Sen. Ted Kaufman is sending out emails to key Biden supporters, team members, activists, etc., urging them to get ready. Although he is playing it coy, IF YOU KNOW WHO TED KAUFMAN IS INSIDE DELAWARE, YOU KNOW THAT JOE BIDEN WILL ENTER THE RACE FOR PRESIDENT.

    Kaufman is a former Joe Biden top aide, who remains very close. Ted Kaufman was appointed as a placeholder US Senator when Joe Biden became VP to hold the Senate seat for Beau Biden. (Everyone was surprised that Beau Biden ultimately did not run in 2010.) Kaufman is not a loose cannon (like me). Kaufman is a serious, highly establishment, even-keeled, by-the-book insider professional.

    NO WAY Kaufman would be rallying Biden activists on his own initiative. If Ted Kaufman is beating the drum to get ready for a Biden candidacy, HE IS NOT ACTING ON HIS OWN. Kaufman is too close to Biden for that. And he is not an activist. He is not the kind of person to act unilaterally. Kaufman is too much of a team player (unlike me).


  4. The analysis is sound. Voters are wary of a Clinton or Bush dynasty and Bernie Sanders will not get enough electoral votes, so it leaves the road wide open for the VP in the wake of Benghazi.

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