Newcomer from New York seeks Delaware’s sole U.S. House seat

 

DOVER — Elias Weir has been living in Delaware for less than two years. But the state, he says, could still benefit from having him as its congressman.

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A native of Honduras who spent most of his life in New York, Mr. Weir moved to Delaware in April 2015 and now lives in Newark.

One of six Democrats running for the state’s open seat in the U.S. House, he admits winning the primary this month will be tough.

“It is an uphill battle, but you never know the conclusion of that battle,” he said.

In New York, he ran for state Senate in a Brooklyn district on the Conservative Party ticket in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The party espouses beliefs typically associated with right-leaning voters, such as lower taxation, gun rights and outlawing abortion.

Mr. Weir garnered no more than 8.5 percent in each election. In 2014, he sought to win the Democratic nomination but finished fourth out of four candidates and later ran in the general election as a Conservative.

But while he ran on the party’s ticket, he said he remained a Democrat at heart. The Conservative Party contacted him, Mr. Weir said, and he agreed to be their candidate.

“One of the things is my life ambition is to be an elected official and do public service,” he said. “I’m not new to the ball game.”

Elias Weir

Elias Weir

Mr. Weir moved to Delaware in April 2015 when his wife took a job here, but he remained on the ballot for the November election. He said he did the Conservative Party a “favor” but did not campaign.

Asked if he would have moved back to the Empire State if he had won the election, Mr. Weir replied he was not sure but was growing tired of New York.

The party tried again this year to put him on the ballot for the Senate seat, Mr. Weir said, forcing him to go through the elections office to get his name removed.

He has lived in Delaware for less time than the other five Democratic candidates — four of whom are native Delawareans — but he said he had long wanted to live in the state.

“Delaware is not a strange place,” he said. “I know Delaware. It’s not some place that I would say I just wanted to plant my roots by wind.”

Delaware is less “chaotic” than New York, said Mr. Weir, who also praised the state’s rural areas.

While he has had less time to familiarize himself with the state than the other candidates, Mr. Weir sees that as advantage of sorts. As a newer resident of the First State, he believes he presents another point of view.

“Sometimes people who are inside miss out on solutions because they are close to the situation and they become common. This is true for companies who bring in outside consultants to solve problems,” he said in an email.

“By no means this is meant as an insult to anyone. I am fortunate to be in the right place at the right (time). I have that ability to see the problems and find solutions.”

He supports raising the minimum wage, although he said careful consideration is needed to ensure businesses do not go bankrupt. Five of the six Democratic hopefuls back a higher minimum wage.

Mr. Weir believes improvements are needed in the state’s education system and economy, although he offered few specifics.

In Congress, he pledged, he would work to tackle the state’s heroin crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 228 people died from drug overdoses in Delaware in 2015, many of them from heroin.

Finding the distributors is key to stemming the tide and preventing drug deaths, Mr. Weir said.

He has not filed a financial report with the Federal Election Commission, indicating he has not spent or received $5,000. In contrast, the three leading Democrats for the office have very strong financial reserves. Mr. Weir acknowledged the disparity does matter but downplayed it, saying he is focusing on the positive comments made by voters.

“My experience and knowledge speaks for itself,” he said.

He did not file for the office until July 12, the last day candidates could submit their name to appear on the ballot.

Despite all the potential obstacles facing him, Mr. Weir has hope Delawareans will send him to Washington.

“Congress is Congress no matter where you live,” he said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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