Rep. Bryon Short won’t seek re-election


DOVER — Rep. Bryon Short, a Highland Woods Democrat, announced Thursday he will not seek another term. He is the eighth lawmaker to reveal plans not to run for the same seat in the upcoming election. Five others have confirmed they are retiring, while two are looking to move from the House to the Senate.

First elected in a 2007 special election, Rep. Short was re-elected five times to the 7th Representative District. He ran for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 before ending his campaign.

“I have been proud and blessed to have had the opportunity to work with my constituents to make the neighborhoods of the 7th District great places to live, work and raise a family,” Rep. Short, 51, said in a statement. “From fighting for the Claymont Library to funding the Claymont Elementary School playground to walking miles of neighborhood roads in need of repair, I have always made working closely with my neighborhoods my priority and have faith that the person who replaces me will do the same.

“While in Dover, I’ve had success in making Delaware a healthier state through progressive telemedicine legislation and the expansion of wellness centers in our schools, and making our state safer for our transgender citizens and the victims of human trafficking forced to work in illicit massage businesses.

Byron Short

“My background and passion has always been the role of Delaware’s small business community in our economy. I thoroughly enjoyed establishing the bipartisan Small Business Caucus and meeting small business owners throughout our state.

“After 11 years of service, I know it is time for me to step aside and make way for someone with a fresh perspective and energy to have the opportunity to serve the 7th District and our great state.”

Rep. Short chairs the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee, which handles most business-related legislation that comes through the House.

He flipped the 7th District in 2007 after then Majority Leader Wayne Smith announced he was retiring to take a lobbying job. Elected with 52.6 percent of the vote, Rep. Short went on to defeat an opponent in each of his next five elections.

In September 2015, he announced plans to run for the state’s to-be vacant seat in the U.S. House but dropped out in April, citing fundraising difficulties.

Delaware Democratic Party Chairman Erik Raser-Schramm in a statement praised Rep. Short Thursday, saying he “showed residents of the 7th District, and indeed our entire state, what it means to be a Democrat.”

Former state Rep. David Brady primaried Rep. Short in 2016, picking up 36.7 percent of the vote. An email asking whether he plans to run for the 7th District seat was not returned Thursday.

Fellow Democrat Joe Daigle, who announced his candidacy in 2016 but then dropped out after Rep. Short revealed he would end his run for Congress and seek re-election, said in an email he will consider running.

“My run two years ago feels like an unfinished project, and based on the avalanche of messages I received today, my supporters and neighbors think so as well. The campaign committee is still ready, we have T-shirts, volunteer rolls, and voter data ready to use,” he wrote.

“However, just as Delaware’s challenges have evolved, so has my life. So whether I run is a community decision, and, most importantly, a family decision. I intend to have these conversations over the coming days, and look forward to making an official decision soon. Regardless, I have a vision for Delaware that I know my neighbors share, and I will continue to serve my community in any way that I can.”

The 7th Representative District covers part of Brandywine Hundred along the Delaware River, although it does not quite touch the Pennsylvania state line. It has about 8,300 registered Democrats and 4,500 registered Republicans.

Rep. Short joins Reps. Melanie George Smith, D-Bear; and Harvey Kenton, R-Milford; and Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington; Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, R-Milford; and Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover, in not seeking another term. Reps. Trey Paradee, D-Cheswold, and Dave Wilson, R-Bridgeville, are running for the Senate.

Rep. J.J. Johnson, D-New Castle, is expected to announce at some point he will not run, and he could be joined by at least one more lawmaker.

The 2018 elections are already guaranteed to deliver the General Assembly its most turnover since 2012, when — partly due to redistricting — 15 individuals were elected either as new lawmakers or to a different chamber.

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