Group plans to spend $1 million opposing Delaware governor’s reelection

DOVER — A group formed to pressure the state over Chancery Court rulings has pledged to spend at least $1 million on ads opposing Gov. John Carney’s reelection campaign.

Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware, an organization created after Chancery Court in 2015 ordered the constantly bickering owners of the translation services company TransPerfect to sell the business, announced Monday the formation of a political action committee aimed at holding the governor “accountable for his failures on issues including police reform, judicial accountability, and his administration’s disastrous response to COVID-19.”

A commercial ad “slamming” Gov. Carney will begin running this week, per Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware.

Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware says it is composed “of more than 5,000 members including employees of … TransPerfect, as well as concerned Delaware residents, business executives and others” intent on saving the business and bringing more transparency to the state’s courts. The group was founded to lobby and to criticize some state officials and institutions in response to the TransPerfect ruling.

The court decision drew the ire of TransPerfect co-owner Phil Shawe, and in the years since, the well-funded Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware has annoyed and frustrated many politicians and attorneys here with ads and news conferences bashing the state judiciary and other prominent decision-makers.

Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware attempted to donate 4,600 masks to the state this spring, but the governor turned the offer down, believing it was not made in “good faith.”

In a statement, Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware campaign manager Chris Coffey bashed Gov. Carney’s response to COVID-19 and racial unrest, claiming the governor “has consistently shown the Delawareans he claims to represent that the only thing he cares about is protecting the status quo that keeps entrenched interests in power, while those in need continue to struggle.”

Should Gov. Carney win his primary contest against opponent David Lamar Williams Jr. on Sept. 15 as expected, he will face one of six Republicans vying for their party’s nomination. The general election is Nov. 3.

In a statement, Gov. Carney’s campaign dismissed the planned PAC spending: “The governor listens to his constituents and tries to represent their interests. He’s not paying much mind to an out-of-state multimillionaire with an axe to grind about a decision in Chancery Court.

“Governor Carney’s record is clear. When he took office, he appointed the most diverse cabinet in Delaware history. As governor, he has made it a priority to make Delaware’s judiciary more reflective of the communities it serves, and to support students in public schools who need our help the most.

“Last year, the governor nominated the first African-American Delawarean to serve on the state Supreme Court. That work will continue. For the first time in Delaware’s history, Governor Carney secured additional, targeted funding for Delaware students living in poverty and for English learners. Governor Carney will continue to advocate for all Delawareans and Delaware families in a second term.”