Delaware Political Weekly: Jan. 4-10, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on January 10, 2014

The first full week of an election year=The Return of Delaware Political Weekly.

As a special bonus at no added cost, I’ll even include stuff that happened before this week, including all current filings.

Let’s Go!

1. Brenda Mayrack Makes It Official.

Mayrack has filed for State Auditor on the Democratic side. She may, or may not, face Tom Wagner in November. No, I don’t think she is in jeopardy of losing a primary challenge from, say, Ken Matlusky, I just wonder whether Wagner is willing to go out on his shield. He must’ve taken pause when he was almost taken out by the oleaginous Richard Korn. Mayrack is no Richard Korn. I think Wagner’s toast. Here is the official announcement from Brenda Mayrack:

Brenda Mayrack files papers to officially enter race for Delaware State Auditor

Dover, Delaware — Brenda Mayrack, a Wilmington attorney and small business owner, filed papers today with the State Election Commissioner to officially enter the race as a candidate for Delaware State Auditor.

Mayrack, 36, is a graduate of the University of Delaware and brings an ideal mix of private sector and public service experience to the position of State Auditor. Her law practice has focused on unclaimed property auditing and representing clients before various Delaware administrative agencies. She also has significant experience in public service and politics, serving as executive director of the Delaware Democratic Party and campaign manager for then-candidate for Lt. Governor, Congressman John Carney.

“After announcing my candidacy a month ago on Delaware Day, I am excited to officially enter the race for State Auditor today,” Mayrack said. “I look forward to speaking with Delawareans across the state about the important role of the State Auditor to protect our taxpayer dollars, particularly during these tough economic times. I believe I bring the right experience and vision to make sure that the State Auditor is doing everything possible to guarantee that our valuable tax dollars are spent properly and effectively.”

To learn more or to join the campaign team, please visit any of the following:


Twitter: @BrendaMayrack


2. Sean Matthews To Primary Dennis E. Williams in 10th RD.

He’s filed to go after Williams a second time after losing a relatively-close contest two years ago. Here is his press release:

Rep. Dennis E. Williams to face primary challenge again in 10th District

Incumbent State Representative Dennis E. Williams (D-Talleyville) will face a primary challenge if he seeks to keep his seat later this year.

27-year old Sean Matthews officially filed to run on the Democratic ticket for the 10th District Tuesday. The 10th covers parts of North Wilmington.

Matthews works as a special education teacher in the Brandywine School District. He says his experience in education would be invaluable in the General Assembly.

“As a teacher I think I can make schools work best for kids. Obviously budget times are tight and we need an expert on schools, and I’d be the only working teacher in the General Assembly,” said Matthews. “To me it’s an economic development issue. We need to ensure our graduates leave our schools with the skills of tomorrow, not of yesterday.”

Matthews says he would also focus constituent services if elected. He says Williams has not delivered in that category.

“All politics is local. I spent a lot of time in my own neighborhood — we have about 500 homes — talking about street signs, roads, different issues,” said Matthews. “A lot of neighbors have not liked the responses they’ve gotten from their current representative.”

Matthews also works as president of his neighborhood’s civic association. He adds that he is encouraged by young people stepping up to challenge what he sees as the existing political culture in Delaware.

The 10th district was a contested race in both in the primary and general elections in 2012. Dennis E. Williams defeated Matthews by 75 votes in the 2012 Democratic primary, then won the general election by only 4 percentage points over Republican Bob Rhodunda. Rhodunda has also announced he intends to run again in 2014.

– See more at:

My response? Meh. I’m no big fan of Williams, but I really don’t see a legit raison d’etre for Matthews’ candidacy beyond the ‘I’ve got ants in my pants’ desire to run for office.

Frankly, neither candidate excites me. Let’s see if either can excite the primary voters.

3. While We Were Partying, Candidates Were Filing.

The parties have already established their filing fees, and candidates have wasted no time. In addition to Mayrack and Matthews, here’s what we’ve got:

1st RD: Rep. Charles Potter (D)-Can we get a primary challenger for one of our worst D representatives?

22nd RD: John MacKenzie (D)-Currently represented by R Joe Miro. MacKenzie edged former cop Mike Terranova in a 2008 primary for State Senator, then was himself edged by incumbent Sen. Liane Sorenson in a close battle. He might have a shot.

36th RD: Incumbent Harvey Kenton (R)

37th RD: Paulette Rappa (D)-Currently held by the despicable Ruth Briggs King (R).  Rappa is a career educator, much of her career taking place out of state, who ran unsuccessfully for the Indian River School District. Here’s my question: A late-starting Elizabeth McGinn got 45.2% against Briggs King. Does this mean that she’s not running this time?

6th Senatorial District: First-term incumbent Ernie Lopez (R) and D challenger Claire Snyder-Hall. Don’t know if Snyder-Hall will have a primary challenge or not. What do those in the know know?

18th Senatorial District: Incumbent Sen. Gary Simpson and D challenger Gary Wolfe have both filed. Wolfe ran in 2012 for the Sussex County Council District 2 seat, and lost to incumbent Sam Wilson by a 58-39 percent margin.

NCC Recorder of Deeds: Incumbent Mike Kozikowski (D)

Sussex County Recorder of Deeds: Alma Roach (D)

Only something like 43 more weeks ’til Election Day…


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  1. SussexWatcher says:

    Sean Barney gets a front-page lead story in TNJ today about his Iraq combat experiences, in the same week Celia reports he’s running against Chip, and on the same day the GA says it’s going to smack down Chip. Not bad, whoever’s handling his press …

    Alma Roach tried to knock John Brady off last time, supposedly because of his switch from R to D, and failed. The R who did boot Brady out and now holds the seat, Scott Dailey, is a young telegenic charismatic smooth-talking builder and conservative Christian type from the beach area. He wins in a walk.

  2. Looks like Barney is indeed the Establishment Candidate.

    Which is OK with me as long as he doesn’t look past the Treasurer’s Office. He strikes me as someone who might have emerged from Carper Cryogenics.

  3. Mike Matthews says:

    I try to bite my lip sometimes, but when I smell BS I need to call it out.

    Two years ago, if I recall correctly, you were kind of excited about Sean’s candidacy, El Som. Sean made it clear the differences between himself and Williams, who has sponsored and passed one bill in six years.

    Sean worked his butt off in this campaign and ALMOST took out a heavily-favored, heavily-financed incumbent because of the MONTHS of time and work he put into a campaign that was pretty much self-run.

    Ants in his pants? Raison d’etre? I’ll tell ya what his raison d’etre is in this race: We need a current teacher in the Delaware legislature. We have none. Sean is not a one-issue candidate. From taking on Rep. Williams’s wish to bring casinos to an impoverished section of District 10 to keeping in touch with local civic associations on how to best serve them to staying in tune with educational issues that have a direct impact on our teachers and students, Sean definitely has a raison d’etre.

    Disclaimer: Though my name is Mike Matthews, I’ve no relation to Sean. We both worked in the same school for two years and I consider him a good friend. We need some fresh, young folk in Leg Hall. Sean has worked very well building relationships with legislators and I’m looking forward to him winning a seat in Dover.

  4. Mike, I think I had pretty much the same sense two years ago, and expressed it. Yes, he worked hard two years ago. So did Williams. Candidates are supposed to work hard.

    Frankly, I’m ambivalent about both candidates, just like I was two years ago.

    I’ll grant you this: I’d rather have either than Rhodunda. But that’s about all the enthusiasm I’ve got. Wish YOU’d run for something, though. A whole lot of us would be excited about that.

  5. I checked, and, for once, my memory proved correct. While I wrote about the race on several occasions, this tidbit from January of 2012 pretty much summed up my thoughts on the race, and they didn’t change much:

    “6. Rep. Dennis E. Williams Challenged By Former Campaign Manager

    After two days of reflection and feedback by insiders, I am now convinced that Sean Matthews, a 25-year-old special ed teacher from P. S. DuPont, was acting completely on his own when he decided to challenge incumbent Rep. Dennis E. Williams (D-Brandywine Hundred). He sounds like someone in a hurry to start his political career and, while there’s nothing wrong with ambition, his stated reason for entering the race (Williams publicly criticized members of his caucus for opposing casino expansion) looks more like a pretext than a raison d’etre. In fact, when I read his statement announcing his candidacy on his website, I had a hard time getting past this sentence:

    For the past three years, I feel our District has been underrepresented in Dover and it’s time for a change.

    So underrepresented in fact that Matthews served as Williams’ campaign manager. Which raises the question as to why he was the campaign manager for someone he believed was ‘underrepresenting’ the district? I searched in vain through Matthews’ statement to see how he reconciled this seeming incongruity, but he didn’t. So, what we have is a 25-year-old guy who has been President of the Chalfonte Civic Association for 15 minutes seeking to make a splash. While there’s nothing wrong with that, and while Williams has not always been the most diligent of legislators, Williams has voted as a progressive and championed progressive causes during his time in Dover. It remains to be seen whether Democratic primary voters are willing to throw him overboard for an ambitious tabula rasa. I’m guessing ‘no’. But it’s only January.”

  6. Jason330 says:

    Sean Barney is a product of Carper Cryogenics.

  7. puck says:

    Wasn’t Williams the guy who voted for HB 165 and admitted he didn’t know what was in the bill? That alone is worthy of a challenge, especially from a teacher. Although considering the performance of DSEA on that issue, there is no guarantee a teacher would be any better.

  8. I’m more ambivalent about Williams, in part due to the HB 165 stuff, than I was two years ago. Just not more enthused about Matthews unless/until he provides reasons for enthusiasm beyond ‘we need more young people in Dover’.

    I agree we need some better legislators, but age doesn’t have anything to do with it, IMHO.

  9. Delaware Dem says:

    I don’t care if Barney a former strategist for Governor Markell and obviously the Establishment candidate. I am voting for him.

  10. I’m sure that I’ll vote for him as well.

    I just don’t want another green-eyeshade-type heading for yet a higher office.

    Carper and Carney are two too many.

  11. Mitch Crane says:

    I am happy to comment on the Sussex County races. As I pointed out last Spring, the Sussex Dems have been working hard recruiting candidates. Those who have filed are the first recruited. Alma Roach is the candidate for Recorder of Deeds and she has the full support of Clerk of the Peace John Brady, even though she primaried him in the 2010 Recorder of Deeds Race. As a matter of fact, Mr. Brady is working closely with me in candidate recruitment.

    Gary Wolfe is a great candidate in the 18th Senate District. He srved with distinction on the Milford School Board, including as president, and he fought homophobia within the board. He has the courage of his convictions.

    Paulette Rappa is running in the 37th with the encouragement of Beth McGinn who is devoting her time to The Home of the Brave, a non-profit shelter for veterans in Milford. The 37th has a large manufactured homeowner population and Ms. Rappa’s husband is president of the Pots Nets HOA.

    Dr. Claire Snyder-Hall has been knocking on doors in the 6th Senate District since the Summer. I do not expect her to have a Primary opponent as she has the full support of the Party committees and has already raised tens of thousands of dollars.

    Not yet filed are candidates for two county council seats. Both are moderate Sussex natives with years of service in elected office. I believe they have excellent chances of replacing the retiring George Cole in the 4th District and the 5th District’s Vance Phillips, known for “taking the 5th”.

    Next will be the announcement of the candidate who will defeat Steve Smyk in the 20th RD.

    Candidates for the 35th RD and then for the administrative office of Sheriff will follow. Incumbents Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (14th RD) and John Atkins (41st) will file by the filing deadline.

  12. pandora says:

    I think Williams’ not knowing anything (and I mean anything) about HB165 should cause more than ambivalence. IMO, it’s a huge red flag. What else is this guy voting on that he knows nothing about? That’s a serious question, btw.

  13. Thanks, Mitch, excellent info.

    Pandora, I guess DSEA was Williams’ ‘hairdresser’.

  14. Old Sussex County Native says:

    Mitch: No Sheriff Candidate yet?????????? PLEASE, Dear God, let there be one who is good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Mitch Crane says:

    We have people who are interested. We are vetting those people to make sure they are qualified for the office, understand the powers that exist under the Delaware Constitution as interpreted by the courts, and are willing to commit the time needed to campaign for the office. There will be a candidate.

  16. Jason330 says:

    Why wasn’t Mitch Crane named the year’s most valuable Democrat by acclamation? It is a travesty, I tell ya.

  17. Anon says:

    Also a travesty that Lisa Goodman and Mark Purpura were not at (or near) the top of the list.

  18. Mike Matthews says:

    Thanks for the kind words, El Som. How’s this for a political response?

    “While I appreciate the interest others have shown in a potential run for the legislature, I feel my best work is done advocating for my members in the Red Clay Education Association. And, I’d also like to spend more time with my family.” Ha! 🙂

  19. AGovernor says:

    @Mike Matthews I liked it up until “spend more time with my family”. You are single.

  20. Anon says:

    Do single people not have families? I guess I don’t need to be in my family Christmas photo next year. My grandmother will be upset. I’ll tell her to contact AGovernor for an explanation.

  21. cassandra m says:

    Why would single people not have families? My own family is going to be pretty surprised I’m no longer one of them.

  22. Aoine says:

    The sheriff should be easy to beat

    Step one- trot out the old campaign flyers where he says he won’t raise taxes

    Step two- trot out the Bill for lawyers fees he has foisted on the Sussex Tax Payer………I wish I had that Bill

    sussex would vote for a mouse once they see that cost to the take payer

    We already have the Rat, so why not……

    Bet it could be FOIA’d

    old Sussex County Native…..wanna try?

  23. AGovernor says:

    Oh you all are so sensitive. Of course single people have families, and of course they want to spend time with them.

    But I really doubt that Mike could not be in the legislature because he needed to “spend more time” with that family. I am pretty sure Mike spends plenty of time with his family.

    Mike was being snarky and I was being snarky back.

    Now put your sensitive selves back into your protective cocoons climb into bed and get a good nights sleep.

  24. GiacobbeJake says:

    @ Mitch Crane —

    Are you dumping Chip?

  25. Dave says:

    We can always trot out Christopher’s quote about leaving this “God forsaken place” if he lost in the state Supreme Court. I am still willing to help him move.

  26. cassandra m says:

    Oh you all are so sensitive.

    The US world is largely oriented to pretend that single people don’t have families or family commitments — that somehow we’re going to have more time to do the stuff that busier married people can’t manage. It isn’t being overly sensitive to remind you that single people can be the caregivers for some in their families and have other important commitments to support their families. It would be nice if other people could be *more* sensitive to it.