Lt. governor candidate refutes allegations

DOVER — Republican lieutenant Governor candidate La Mar Gunn refuted claims that he made racially-charged statements during an argument with a Dover city councilman Wednesday after a candidates’ forum.

On Saturday the Delaware State News published a story about an alleged shoving incident between Mr. Gunn and Councilman Roy Sudler.

Mr. Sudler’s fiancée, Pilar Figuera, told the Delaware State News that Mr. Gunn questioned Mr. Sudler’s decision to support the white Democratic Party candidate, Bethany Hall-Long.

“I was going to let it go,” said Mr. Gunn in a statement released Saturday afternoon. “I consider him a friend and would have been happy to have dropped the matter. But I can’t understand why he is making statements to give the false impression that I’m a racist.”

Republican lieutenant governor nominee La Mar Gunn hopes to lean on his activism to gain support from the minority community and win the lieutenant governor’s race. (Delaware State News file photo)

La Mar Gunn (Delaware State News file photo)

Mr. Gunn and Mr. Sudler, both African-American men, argued outside a debate at the Modern Maturity Center over what they described as political differences.

Mr. Sudler called 911 and police arrived after he was allegedly shoved by Mr. Gunn.

Mr. Sudler said he had been drinking before the alleged incident, and arriving officers detected a moderate smell of alcohol on his breath, according to a police report.

No charges were filed, and police categorized the complaint as unfounded. Late Friday night, Mr. Sudler said he told Dover Police that he would not pursue the matter any further.

In his statement Saturday, Mr. Gunn said, “The strife raised a core issue breaking apart our country – diversity and racism.”

Roy Sudler

Roy Sudler

Referencing “attacks” on him, Mr. Gunn said he was focused on concerns facing the state and believes constituents will see that as his campaign continues.

“As for me,” Mr. Gunn said, “I want a clean campaign that emphasizes where we stand on issues.”

Included in Mr. Gunn’s statement were comments from Sher Valenzuela, CEO of First State Manufacturing. Ms. Valenzuela was the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in 2012.

“I held a standing room only fundraiser for Mr. Gunn a few weeks ago, and the majority of the people in the room were white,” she was quoted as saying. “La Mar has a deep respect for Delawareans of all colors.”

Also weighing in a statement was Republican State Chairman Charles Copeland, who described categorizing Mr. Gunn as a racist as “absurd.”

“I mean real crazy talk,” said Mr. Copeland. “La Mar has spent this entire campaign working to repair the relationship between the Republican Party and the African-American community. A relationship that was damaged by the Democrats playing on the fears of the community, but failing to deliver on their promises.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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