A note on the chart. If the candidate has a asterisk by his or her name, they are the incumbent. If the candidate’s name is bolded, they have already filed to run. If a candidate’s name is not bolded, they are either a candidate that is expected to run, or an incumbent who has not yet filed to run.
A couple of mistakes/typos in the chart to explain. In the 11th, I forgot to add in Lynn Newlin, probably because I could not make it to her fundraiser last night. And Rebecca Walker is an incumbent. I forgot to put the asterisk next to her name in the 9th.
The chart is starting to fill in. But a lot of candidate recruiting remains, especially on the Republican side. One trend is clear: 2014 will feature a lot of primaries. Which makes some sense to a certain extent. Delaware is in many ways a one party state now. Some voters and some candidates recognize that and join the dominant majority party (the Democrats) and then the Democratic Primary is now the only place where there is a competitive election. Perhaps that is why we already have a primary for the 18th Senate District between Gary Wolfe and Patrick Emory.
Other primaries result from the actions and performance of the incumbent in office. These kind of primaries take three forms. First, you can have an organic, grass roots affair with a progressive newcomer challenging an entrenched establishment figure. That was certainly the case with Senator Tony Deluca v. Bryan Townsend in 2012. Second, you can have an incumbent so incompetent and/or vulnerable that multiple challengers enter the race. Indeed, the incumbent might be so incompetent and vulnerable that even the state party establishment will turn its back and endorse one of the challengers. And example of this is the 2012 Insurance Commissioner’s race with Karen Weldin Stewart, Mitch Crane, Dennis Spivak and Paul Gallagher. Finally, you can have a situation where the incumbent has pissed off the establishment in some way. It could be that the incumbent is rightfully (or wrongfully) challenging the status quo. Or it could be that the incumbent has several scandals that are damaging to the party’s chances of keeping the office should the incumbent be the nominee. Or it could be both, if your name is Chip Flowers. And so the establishment puts up a candidate against the incumbent in the hopes that the incumbent will lose.
With all due respect to Sean Barney, who I have heard great things about from multiple and varied sources, which I will no doubt confirm when I meet with him; his challenge of Treasurer Flowers is certainly perceived to be a primary of the third kind mentioned above. And yet, this treasurer’s race is not a slam dunk for the establishment or Mr. Barney.
Karen Weldin Stewart proved how hard it is to remove an embarrassing or incompetent incumbent in 2012. Chip Flowers has a base of support, and it is a vocal and involved base of support, as you can tell from our comment sections whenever we talk about him here at DL. While Mr. Flowers has had an expenses scandal for both himself and one of his employees, he has not really been incompetent in office like Ms. Stewart was. He just shook things up and (rightly or wrongly) challenged the status quo. So Mr. Barney faces those challenges as well as the added challenge of being his own man in this race so as to fight off the perception that he is Governor Markell’s pick or puppet or proxy in his feud with Treasurer Flowers.
If Chip Flowers runs, this Treasurers race will be the marquee event of 2014 for Delaware.
But then again, I keep hearing that Governor Markell wants primaries for
Senator Bryan Townsend (D) and Representative John Kowalko (D) for reasons passing understanding or logic. Both Townsend and Kowalko are to the left of Markell certainly, and have challenged Markell on several legislative issues, but for Markell to get so involved in their races that he would order primaries of both or either is so petty that it is almost Tom-Gordon-esque. Or Chris Christie-esque. Take your pick, Jack. The Governor will be well advised to keep his primary meddling limited to the Treasurer’s race.
UPDATE: After publishing this story, I received this emailed statement from Senator Bryan Townsend (D):
Earlier this week I met with the Governor to discuss important legislative issues in 2014, including proposals for enhancing Delaware’s infrastructure. At our meeting, the Governor expressed that he is looking forward to working together in 2014, and that he fully supports my 2014 re-election campaign.
Senator, 11th District
That’s good to know, and I am glad my sources are wrong. Hopefully they are wrong in Kowalko’s case too.
As for how the other races are shaping up, here are some of my thoughts:
1. I think Trey Paradee is in trouble in the 29th RD. He seems to have a credible GOP challenger in Pete Kramer.
2. I am loving the 22nd RD race. Joe Miro v. Steve Newton v. John MacKenzie. And honestly, I have no idea who is going to win. Yes, even THE Delaware Libertarian could win.
3. We have rematches in the 11th and the 20th RDs, and in the 21st SD. Right now, I definitely see one of the challengers winning: Bryant Richardson over Bob Venables in the 21st SD. I have have to wait and see how the other races develop.
4. I’m curious to find out more about some downstate Democratic candidates have have gotten an early start: Gallo, Robbins, Rappa, Emory and Wolfe.