Democrats still waiting for Carney to declare

 

DOVER — The race for lieutenant governor is getting crowded — and that’s without any declared candidates on the Republican side.

At the same time, Democrats are still waiting for official candidates for governor to step forward.

U.S. Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) is now widely expected to run for governor in 2016 and the near certainty of his candidacy may be keeping others, so far, out of the race.

John Carney

John Carney

Furthermore, any Democrats hoping to succeed Carney in Congress won’t file to run until the incumbent makes the official announcement that he’s running for governor.

But while Democrats wait to see who’s running for governor, the candidates for lieutenant governor have already gotten busy.

After Saturday’s Democratic Jamboree in Sussex County, five hopefuls are now seeking the second highest office: Levy Court Commissioner Brad Eaby, former Sussex Register of Wills Greg Fuller, Wilmington Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey Walker, New Castle Register of Wills Ciro Poppiti and Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Kathy McGuiness.

Mr. Eaby and Mr. Fuller sponsored tents at the Jamboree with volunteers handing out pamphlets and badges.

Each of the five candidates had several supporters wearing buttons or shirts bearing their names.

The field is crowded, setting the stage for a complex primary where the victor could advance to the general election with less than one-third of the total vote.

A parallel perhaps could be drawn to the 2012 race for state insurance commissioner when four Democrats squared off in a primary election.

The winner, incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart, won with a plurality of about 33 percent of the vote, less than 3 percent more than challenger Mitch Crane, who was endorsed by the party.

All four Democrats gained at least 17 percent of the vote.

The 2016 September primary is expected to feature several Democratic contenders for the position of Wilmington mayor, which potentially could draw out more Wilmington voters than normal, likely benefiting Ms. Dorsey Walker.

Despite the glut of Democrats, the race for lieutenant governor is still without a Republican hopeful.

As for the top job, Rep. Carney,’s office says no decision has been made, but insiders expect an announcement in the coming weeks.

Rep. Carney has served three terms in Congress and was lieutenant governor from 2001 to 2009. Gov. Jack Markell and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., publicly have been supportive of Rep. Carney seeking the top office.

Republican state Sen. Colin Bonini, who represents the Dover area, and former state trooper Lacey Lafferty announced their candidacies last year.

Two Democratic lawmakers are being mentioned as contenders for the U.S. House seat if Rep. Carney pursues the governorship. Rep. Bryon Short, D-Arden, and Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, have both said they have not made any decisions but the two were present at the Jamboree on Saturday.

Several attendees wore shirts boasting of the wearer’s support for either Rep. Short or Sen. Townsend, although the apparel did not say the lawmakers were running for Congress.

Both men have acknowledged an interest and said they would seriously consider a congressional run if the seat is vacant.

Rep. Short would have to give up his seat in the General Assembly to campaign, but he said Saturday he would be all in.

Former Wyoming Mayor Hans Reigle is seeking to become the first Republican that Delaware sends to Washington, D.C., since 2010, when U.S. Rep. Mike Castle opted to run for the U.S. Senate and lost the GOP primary to Tea Party-backed candidate Christine O’Donnell.

For insurance commissioner, New Castle County Sheriff Trinidad Navarro, a Democrat, is hoping to unseat Ms. Weldin Stewart.

Former Sussex Clerk of the Peace Greg Parish has filed to run on the Republican side.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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