Second Delaware Democrat wants to go to Congress

DOVER — The dominoes are falling. State Rep. Bryon Short, D-Arden, announced Thursday he will run for the U.S. House of Representatives, eight days after the current officeholder declared he plans to campaign for governor.

Rep. Short, a member of the General Assembly since a 2007 special election, had been rumored to be a possible candidate for months and had publicly acknowledged an interest in running for Congress.

When Democratic Rep. John Carney opted to seek a different office, it opened the door for a replacement.

Rep. Short joins Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, who declared one day after Rep. Carney’s announcement, in seeking to represent Delaware in Congress. With two popular Democratic lawmakers now in the running, the stage is set for a major primary battle.

Rep. Byron H. Short, D-Arden

Rep. Byron H. Short, D-Arden

In a message posted on Facebook and sent over email to supporters, Rep. Short spoke of improving the middle class, strengthening Social Security and transforming the country’s education system.

“With your voice and your support we can work toward building a future where the middle class thrives again,” he said in the statement. “A future where our education system serves its students. A future where my girls are paid the same as their male counterparts. A future full of promise and opportunity. A future where Washington once again, works for the people.”

Much of his focus in the past legislative session was on business-related areas. A small-business owner, he serves as the chair of the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee.

He was the lead sponsor on 14 pieces of legislation from January to June, including bills to reduce government red tape, grant employees social media privacy and support telemedicine.

Rep. Short spent several years in the early 1990s working for Tom Carper, a Democrat who served in the U.S. House. Rep. Short assisted in veterans’ affairs, military business and immigration, and he said that experience played a role in motivating him to seek higher office.

“I was able to see and be a part of firsthand helping Delawareans from a congressional office,” Rep. Short said in an interview. He said he had planned to continue serving in the state Legislature if Rep. Carney stayed in Congress.

He will have to give up his seat in the General Assembly regardless of the outcome, meaning a local seat will be up for grabs next year as well.

He wasted no time after making his announcement, spending Thursday meeting with Delawareans in all three counties.
The 2016 House primary is shaping up to be the biggest one since then-Treasurer Jack Markell and then-Lt. Gov. Carney squared off for governor in 2008, a battle narrowly won by the treasurer.

Rep. Short and Sen. Townsend have drawn praise from their colleagues in the General Assembly and the primary race is expected to be tight. Rep. Short is the more moderate of the two.

“I don’t think Delaware can go wrong with either one of them,” President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins, D-Elsmere, said last week.

Sen. Townsend, who announced his campaign team Thursday, shied away from criticizing his counterpart, although he did note he believes his specific vision in areas like job creation, social justice and education promotion are what the state needs.

“It’s critically important that we elect someone with a record of meaning on the issues that are important to all Delawareans,” he said.

A spokesman for the Delaware Democratic Party said the party will not endorse either candidate for the primary election.
Republican Hans Reigle, the former mayor of Wyoming, is also running.

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