Wagner Won’t Seek Re-Election, Auditor Race Wide Open

Filed in National by on February 17, 2018

State auditor Tom Wagner announced Saturday night at the annual Kent County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner that because of ongoing health problems, he won’t seek an eighth term.

This didn’t come out of the blue. Campaign finance reports last month indicated that Wagner was throwing in the towel. The eagerness with which Voter Fraud Kathy McGuiness threw herself into the ring signaled that insiders knew something was up. And the fact that Matt Bittle was ready with a long interview story indicated that the State News had advance notice of Saturday night’s announcement.

Most significant, perhaps, is that Wagner said he was not able to find a Republican to endorse in his stead. That makes it even more likely than before that the Democratic primary will serve as the de facto general election.

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  1. SussexWatcher says:

    Meanwhile the top story on the News-Journal site is “10 iconic places in Delaware you should visit.”

    Gannett’s new motto: Getting Our Asses Handed To Us Daily By Reporters Who Actually Go Places And Ask Questions.

  2. We simply can’t let the ethically-bankrupt team of Pete Schwartzkopf and Val Longhurst install an auditor who is beholden to them and their pet agencies.

    Is Dennis Williams up to the task of running a credible campaign and having a credible message? Is there someone else who will campaign on the basis of really shining a light on the casual corruption at the core of the Delaware Way? To be determined.

  3. Does the State Auditor get paid more than than the Wilmington City Treasurer?

    If so, Velda Jones Potter enters the race in 3-2-1…

  4. Kelly says:

    We do not need VJP as the State Auditor
    She is doing a good job Fuckin things up in City Government. And if someone doesn’t come to their sense soon this City is going to end up like Camden. I still can’t understand with as much as people knew about the Potters and how greedy they are why people voted her in as Treasurer. Looks to me that they go what they deserve. Now deal with it.

  5. Coffee-spit quote of the day. From Tom Wagner:

    “”It would not be fair to the citizens of Delaware or the Republican Party to run for re-election knowing that I cannot dedicate 110% of my time and energy to this critical role in state government,” the 62-year-old said in a release.”

    What explains the last 25-plus years then?

  6. Phil says:

    He’s been cash starved for years. He hasn’t had the money to conduct decent audits in recent history. The Delaware Way likes it like that. Shady dealings and backroom handshakes are the norm here.

  7. El somnambulo says:

    When a decent audit WAS conducted, one which demonstrated illegal procurement practices at Delaware State, Wagner fired the auditor and emasculated the report in order to protect political crony Dick Cathcart.

    So spare us the sob stories of Wagner’s living hand to mouth.

  8. chris says:

    Velda can’t win anything outside the city…. History lesson: when she was State Treasurer (thanks Jack Markell for that wonderful appointment), she beat Chip Flowers in the city but got crushed statewide and and lost the seat she had been appointed to …. in the campaign, she was exposed in a scandal where she was being paid for being State Treasurer and also collected on a 35-40K contract with the city providing ’empowerment to female finance employees.’ This nugget of information exposed by the News Journal killed her with the voters outside the city. Just one of the many Potter scandals and blatant greed.

  9. Jason330 says:

    What is Wagner getting from Pete for this?

  10. Rufus Y. Kneedog says:

    It will be interesting to see who surfaces now on the R side. I don’t think there’s any way they let McGuiness walk in uncontested.

  11. TonyDem says:

    I’m still holding out hope someone else will enter the Democrat primary. Our options right now bad and bigly bad.

  12. anon says:

    Remember Park City is good friends with Ken Simpler. I think the R’s would be very happy to have Kathy as state auditor.

  13. jason330 says:

    Clearly the DEGOP was a party to this operation. If ever a spot was wired for someone, this job was wired for Park City. It is so wired that I would not be surprised to see Dennis Williams drop out prior to primary day.

  14. Don’t think that’s gonna happen. He IS qualified. There is a hunger for someone not so–wired–for this race. As of now, I’m voting for him. I mean, I CAN’T vote for Park City. Maybe someone else will get in. But he’s the best (only alternative) we’ve got for now.

  15. Dave says:

    I will again mention that it’s not about party, Schwartzkopf, Lopez, Simpler, McGuiness are all townies. They live in the same place. Go to the same parties. Hang out with the same people. The expectation that the R or D behind one’s name is a meaningful distinction is incorrect.

    I haven’t been in Delaware long enough to know whether that’s the Delaware Way or not. But I been around this earth long enough to recognize the club, the old boys network, a clique, (whatever you want to call it). I can name you other members of the same clique. I bet Chateau Country has it’s own clique as well (which probably includes the Bidens).

    As Alby point out elsewhere, the oligarchy has no real allegiance to anything except perhaps to other oligarchs. And the clicques have no allegiance except to it’s members. There are some that do have values and act in accordance with those values, but they may be few and far between.

  16. Alby says:

    “The expectation that the R or D behind one’s name is a meaningful distinction is incorrect.”

    It is to the voters.

    No, the Chateau Country clique does not include the Bidens. Joe Biden has always been about the Bidens. He thinks he’s a Kennedy, minus the money. I’ve been going to Chateau country parties for years, and you’ll see Coons occasionally, saw Markell a lot, but I’ve never seen Biden.

    Also, it’s an Irish Catholic thing up here. The Irish mafia — I use the term mockingly, but Dana Garrett always challenges me when I do — takes care of its own regardless of party. Biden and Tom Gordon were buds with Larry Sullivan, the Republican (in name only) who ran the public defenders’ office for years, and Sullivan worked with Gordon against Colm Connolly when Connolly was US Attorney for Delaware.

    You are correct in the main, though — Delaware’s incestuous politics is a result of how small it is.

  17. jason330 says:

    The D primary is the election.

  18. John D says:

    Jason330: in that case let’s hope we get a 3rd candidate. Even if we do have a 3rd option don’t you think Pete and Val will go full tilt to ensure victory?

  19. Dave says:

    “It is to the voters.”

    It is to some voters. Other voters, not so much, at least down here, since everyone here seems to vote based on who they know. Down here it’s like two degrees of separation. Also, in Eastern Sussex County it’s the lifeguard mafia, composed of all the lifeguard alumni throughout the years.

    And as and Irish Catholic I don’t take umbrage for mocking them (or any other tribe for that matter). The Irish have their own history of why they stick together, just like all the other tribes do. For the Irish it’s because they were both Irish and Catholic.

    Anyway, coming from large metropolitan areas like the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Virginia, where I rarely saw an elected official, I find Delaware politics somewhat fascinating, because of the strange bedfellows and the personal animosity and relationships between people.

  20. jason330 says:

    Dave – All of that is true, but this mid-term could be different. With all the anti-Trump/special election/gun sanity energy in the air, it may play out more like a typical Presidential election year.

    If that is the case, party affiliation will loom large, and Democrats will notch a lot of wins all over the place merely by being the Democrat in the race.

  21. RE Vanella says:

    I saw Stephanie Bolden shilling at LOMA coffee shop just this morning. I was not fascinated. I wish I rarely saw these people.

  22. Justadude says:

    Transplant here to Delaware and new to this site. Very interested in what seems like unique politics here in delaware. Why can the republicans not find a candidate running with a popular treasurer who won by 10 points? Is the gop bench that bad? Seems like they had some great candidates to senate last year. I’m curious

  23. Alby says:

    @J: One-party state at the statewide level. Most centrist state in the union by temperament, and hard-right tilt of national party leaves Democrats closer to the center.

    We here attack most Delaware Democrats from the left.

  24. Justadude says:

    Why though Alby? Why can’t republicans succeed here? Trump won Kent and Sussex, why can’t they win working class whites in new castle?

  25. Justadude says:

    Ah I see centritism does seem to be a tend among delaware dems. There new chairman seems quite liberal tho

  26. Don’t those Russian bots correct spelling errors?

  27. Alby says:

    Apparently not. They apparently don’t know how to look up voter registration numbers at the state Department of Elections web site, either.

    It’s not just the Democrats who are centrists, Jdude. The upstate GOP disappeared when the Christine O’Donnell knuckle-draggers defeated Mike Castle. The downstate slackjaws have big mouths but no money, and upstate is dominated by corporations who want nothing to do with the unwashed. Given that the Democrats are corporate-friendly, they have no reason to deal with downstate Republicans at all.

  28. ProveMeWrong says:

    Why would a town of Wilmington employee form an LLC Corporation and then sell their home to that LLC?

  29. Alby says:

    You really can’t figure that out for yourself?

  30. Justadude says:

    So how come simpler won by 10 points

  31. Alby says:

    Incumbency. Name recognition. Office nobody but political nerds cares about.

  32. Justadude says:

    Simpler was not an incumbent

  33. Alby says:

    Oh, sorry. I misread you. Thought you were asking why Wagner won.

    The Democrats had screwed up that office big time with Chip Flowers, so voters opted for a change. The office is a ceremonial one with limited constitutional duties. It’s valuable mostly as a launching pad, which makes Simpler the grand poobah of the state party now.