State treasurer Simpler to seek another term in 2018

Ken Simpler

DOVER — Treasurer Ken Simpler announced Thursday he plans to seek a second term next year.

In 2014, Mr. Simpler became the first non-incumbent Republican to win election statewide since 1994.

“We have come a long way in my time at the Office of the State Treasurer,” Mr. Simpler said in a statement. “We’ve gotten out of the trap of day-to-day trouble shooting and focused instead on large-scale, long-term problem solving. From the redesign of the $1 billion supplemental savings program for state employees and teachers to the re-architecting of the state’s $1.6 billion investment portfolio, our efforts are producing better outcomes at lower cost over the long haul. That’s good finance.”

Mr. Simpler was seen as the darling of the Delaware GOP after his win in 2014, which ended a four-year span where the party held only one of the nine statewide offices. He was mentioned frequently as a possible candidate for governor, and although Mr. Simpler did not run in 2016, some believe he will seek the state’s top office in 2020.

He captured 53.6 percent of the vote in the 2014 general election after pulling in 53.9 percent in a primary. In the general election, he was able to win in Kent and Sussex counties — handily, in the case of Sussex — and stay competitive in New Castle County, which holds about 59 percent of the state’s registered voters, a majority of whom are Democrats.

A former hedge-fund manager, Mr. Simpler has mostly stayed out of the spotlight during his time in office — a marked contrast to his predecessor, Chip Flowers, who publicly feuded with other state officials.

In a September newsletter, Mr. Simpler spoke of crafting a “Grand Bargain” in regard to the state’s financial picture and finding a compromise both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

“Honest to God reform of our revenue base — restructuring the taxes, fees and other income by which we fund our collective affairs, is absolutely necessary. Our current portfolio has grown too narrow, too volatile and too anemic to reliably fund our ongoing service levels,” he wrote.

“I cannot conceive, however, that such reform is possible — or even argue that it is wise — without an equal commitment to the same level of revisions to our spending controls. The budget process we have today is focused myopically on short-term solvency — balancing the budget one year at a time — with no guarantees as to long-term sustainability, no meaningful measure of sufficiency and no confidence borne out of certainty.”

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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