Let’s Talk Delaware Governor’s Race For 2020, Shall We?

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on November 27, 2018 50 Comments

I’ve been thinking about this race. A lot. So many questions. Let’s ask (and try to answer) a few:

Will John Carney run for reelection? On one hand, he seems totally bored with being Governor. He has yet to put his stamp on the office, and he doesn’t appear to have anything approaching a direction for the remainder of his term. Unless ‘no direction’ is a direction. He never lusted after the political limelight. He was totally fine with being some sort of financial aparatchik until Tom Carper snatched him from obscurity and foisted Carney on Ruth Ann Minner as Carper’s ‘mini-me’.  Absent that, he almost certainly would not have run for office on his own. Even many D’s who supported him recognize that there is an empty maw at the center of state government.  Every governor has screw-ups, but most at least appear interested in fixing them.  Carney just lets the problems fester.

OTOH, he appeared similarly bored as Lt. Governor and as our congressman, but he kept running.  It could be boredom, could be sleep apnea, but he appears almost asleep while awake. He would be the favorite, if not the prohibitive favorite, if he chose to run. Why deviate from his well-trod path?

If Carney does run, his biggest advantage (his only advantage?) would be incumbency.  Who would challenge him? Would only one someone primary him, or would he be the beneficiary of having multiple challengers (the answer is obviously yes to that question).

If Carney runs…who would challenge him?  I’ll start with the obvious Republican candidate.  The only Republican candidate who could give Carney a race: Anthony Delcollo. Before you dismiss this idea out-of-hand, consider the following: Delcollo won in a strong Democratic state senate district, unseating the President Pro-Tem in the process.  That’s quite the accomplishment. Democrats who I talk to, both in the district and throughout the state, tell me that he’s built up a lot of good will in his first term.  The Republican template is out there, although it’s been rejected by the Delaware Republican Party.  I give you Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Larry Hogan in Maryland, and Phil Scott in Vermont. If those three D bastions have R governors, there’s no reason why Delaware couldn’t. The only issue where Delcollo skews to the far right is the gun issue.  In a race against the cipher that is John Carney, Delcollo would be the more likeable candidate. In fact, Delcollo would likely perform better against Carney than he would against pretty much any other D nominee. He would have to run as a progressive R on other issues, but he successfully cleared his first hurdle: He steered clear of taking a leadership position within the moribund Senate R caucus.

OK, kids, here’s where I want your ideas. Who would you consider as plausible primary challengers to Carney? Some possibilities: Eugene Young, Matt Denn, Bethany Hall Long.  I know, I know, you’re saying that BHL would never challenge Carney.  I think there’s a 20% chance. Why? She’s incredibly ambitious, she’d probably beat him in a primary, and she’d have a better chance of winning now than after 8 years as Carney’s feckless sidekick. Oh, and she’s got both a statewide operation and a sign-stealing team already in place. Matt Denn could/should have been Governor already if he hadn’t stepped in for Beau Biden. He’d be a wonderful progressive governor, but I don’t know if he’s even thinking about it. I’m using Eugene Young as a proxy for an insurgent progressive challenger. I don’t know if he’s gonna make another run for mayor, or just what he is considering. However, he’s already built up some nice political chits through his grassroots efforts, and he is as charismatic as they come.  With Young running, Drew Serres would have a candidate who could well win statewide office.

What if Carney doesn’t run? Oh, man, that field (and a few others) would be wide open.  Add, at a minimum, Lisa Blunt Rochester and Matt Meyer to the list.  Hey, LBR could follow in Carney’s timid footsteps and become ‘the first woman of color…’ to be governor.  She’d be at least marginally better. Likely at most marginally better as well. After some early missteps, I think Matt Meyer is doing a very effective job as NCC Executive, and governor, after all, is an executive position.  I think LBR would be the favorite to win if she ran, and I think that the race for her congressional seat would be fascinating.

OK, if I haven’t given you enough to chew on, I’m losing what’s left of my luster.

What do y’all think?

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  1. jason330 says:

    Carney will run. (But that overstates the effort he’ll put in.)

  2. I’m not so sure. Do you remember the no-content campaign that Carney ran in 2016?

    He didn’t have to campaign and he didn’t campaign.

    Don’t know what he’ll do if he has a strong challenger. He had every advantage when he ran against Markell, and he lost. Now everybody knows what a zero he has been as governor. He may pack it in.

  3. jason330 says:

    I agree with all of that except …what else would he do? Wouldn’t showing that much apathy cut him off from the post-elected office gravy train?

  4. Showing anything but apathy isn’t going to happen. He’s not going to run an idea-charged campaign. Hasn’t run one yet. Plus, he doesn’t have any ideas that haven’t already been vetted either by the Concord Coalition or the Chamber of Commerce. A deep thinker he’s not.

    He’s also not a lawyer, so he won’t be hanging his shingle anywhere. Hey, is Bluewater still around?

  5. Hmm says:

    This is definitely a creative analysis. Carney will run, he won’t have a primary, and he’ll win the general with 68%. That said, alternate realities are always fun to ponder.

    • Boy, you sure know a lot. Wish I knew as much as you do.

      • jason330 says:

        That scenario has the best odds of playing out. I mean, if you look at it as Nate Silver might – that is the 8 times out of 10 outcome.

        • No, I get that. But the assertion w/o evidence is just that: An assertion w/o evidence.

          I don’t think a whole lot of people are yet aware of how acutely the entire General Assembly feels about Carney’s passivity. No, the challenge is not likely to come from the General Assembly.

          But, as an incumbent, Carney is IMHO in even WORSE position than he was as the Party’s anointed candidate back in 2008. There’s no there there.

  6. RE Vanella says:

    Carney will be primaried.

    I feel a twinge of deja vu. People are very slow to the pick-up.

    • jason330 says:

      Even I am slow on the pick up on this topic. Must be some November ennui, or something.

      • RE Vanella says:

        I guess my point is that it’s pretty clear a leftist faction is strong and growing in this state. Carney is weak. Weaker than Carper. Weaker than Coons.

        The idea that in late November 2018 some fucking anonymous douche would state that Carney will not be primaried is dumb. Dry ice in the skull where grey matter should be.

        Did Hmm just wake up from 2015?

  7. Hmm says:

    The GA has no electoral effect ( they were all behind Carney in 08′), DE voters favor safe and effective (keep the place running, not ideological progress), Carney is consistent in terms of favorability, and the most formidable primary candidates are risk adverse. Take it as you will.

  8. RE Vanella says:

    all behind Carney in ’08.

    • Hmm says:

      Not sure what you’re getting at. The vast majority of the GA supported Carney’s 08′ campaign and it had little impact on his campaign. I’d fathom the impact of the GA against him would be similar, especially since it would be a quiet opposition or at least a tame one.

  9. RE Vanella says:

    Saturday night I spoke with a guy in the know re GA politics. (This is 2018 remember. Maybe you haven’t looked at a calendar this decade.)

    Carney is strongly disliked in GA. (See also the vetoes, etc.)

    Your fathom of the impact is completely unsupported by recent events.

    I cannot be any clearer.

  10. Joshua W says:

    A primary against Carney is an inevitability. The question now isn’t if there’s going to be a primary, but rather who will it be, a strong opponent or a weak one?

  11. Hmm says:

    This isn’t a pissing match. You all could be right, but the safe bet based on history and other factors is you aren’t. Also it’s Delaware we all talk to or are someone with deep connection to the GA.

    • RE Vanella says:

      It is a pissing match actually. That history is over. You should be paying closer attention.

      I am talking about people aren’t irrelevant. Under the age of 40. Time moves on.

      • Hmm says:

        Pretty sure Tom Carper won handidly and the people who voted were mostly well over 40. Look I’m a progressive and a millennial, but I also deal with the facts. I want this to be the time for new young leaders in DE but on the statewide level we’re still 5-10 years out. We’re building a great bench of both progressives and young leaders, the future is bright, but the future isn’t here yet.

  12. Hmm says:

    Also you’re right SOMEONE will probably primary him. That someone is Dennis e Williams or the like.

  13. RE Vanella says:

    No Democratic leftist/progressive challenger to a Delaware Way candidate can make a dent without the support and direction of Network DE, DE United and Drew Serres.

    I feel like you all are living in the past. Try to keep up.

    • Hmm says:

      You’re doing Drew a disservice. Drew is probably the brightest DE electoral mind in Delaware. Ask him if he’s focused on winning the next election or building an infrastucture and foundation to put good people in the office for the long term. I think you may be surprised by his answer. It’s not about winning the next election it’s about changing the whole pipeline.

      • The two are related. We’re big Drew fans here. We know that Drew was key in a couple of the legislative victories this year.

        He almost helped Eugene Young, who nobody had ever heard of, win the Wilmington’s mayoral race.

        He’s been essential in building a great grassroots movement in Delaware. I think he can help a progressive D win the governor’s race. Could happen in 2020.

        • Hmm says:

          Again I think you all are confusing your wishes with what’s most likely. I share your end goals and desired outcomes, DE’s electorate just hasn’t demonstrated that it’s there yet, and frankly nor have the challengers. It’ll happen, but these things don’t happen overnight.

          • No. Part of what we, or at least I, do, is push for progressive candidates who will push for progressive policies. If you reread what I wrote, I made clear that Carney was the favorite. But, unlike with Carper, Carney has lost statewide before. Lost as a prohibitive favorite.

            He’s not a juggernaut. Not challenging him in 2020 would, IMO, be political malpractice for those of us who are progressives. You may be right, it MIGHT not happen. But neither you nor I know if it WILL happen.

            Hey, we got rid of Greg Lavelle, Bob Weiner, Ken Simpler, Charles Potter, Bill Powers and Debbie Hudson this year. Oh, and don’t forget Tizzy Lockman’s win. It’s not as if this grassroots movement isn’t already paying dividends.

            No free passes for DINO’s. Nest to Carper, Carney is the ultimate DINO.

  14. RE Vanella says:

    Haha. This guy’s a riot. Next time you speak to Drew ask him if he thinks I’m “doing him a deserve.”

    I’m serious. Ask him.

    He’s a friend of mine so he calls me Rob.

    Actually he has a corny nickname for me. Ask him what it is.

    Then get back to me. Let me know what he says….

    Hahaha. You dumbfuck.

  15. JJ Smith says:

    Also thrilled about a potential primary to Trinidad Navarro in 2020. Thoughts on who?

  16. RE Vanella says:

    Do you need Drew’s number?

    Actually we’re having dinner Saturday. You you come by. We could find out what he thinks when we ask him.

    Hahaha. You fucking know-it-all trash fuck… I dare you to ask him.

  17. RE Vanella says:

    Probably just us now. Folks, this Hmm is a dipshit. I’m very sad to say. I think he’s a plant of some sort. Undercover pig. Centrist hog. Know what I’m saying?

    He referred Carney’s support in 2008. Then tells us “these things don’t happen overnight.” Hahahaha. I mean, that’s very funny shit.

  18. RE Vanella says:

    Also, for the record. What I said was any Carney challenger from the left needs Network/DE United/Drew support to have any credibility.

    This is based on the grassroots organization Drew built.

    You a fucking anonymous fool. So by all means keep commenting. I will embarrass you and the entire HMM dipshit nonsense family.

    Try me, motherfucker.

  19. RE Vanella says:

    I think we’re done.

  20. Hmm says:

    I’m not attacking you man. Best of luck in life. I have Drew’s number, thanks though.

  21. RE Vanella says:

    Fuck off. You’re super sanctimonious centrist trash. Anonymous fucking dork.

    Call Drew. Ask him what my nickname is.

  22. Hmm says:

    I’m not a centrist. Also I’m not in middle school so I’m going to give this who knows who game a rest. Look all I said was it’s unlikely John will be primaried, to be fair I should’ve clarified credible primary, I could be wrong but just doubt it’s likely. I could be wrong, I’m not a prophet. Glad we could have a healthy discussion, have a great night.

    • Susan says:

      Hmm, please think about the origins of Keri Harris’ campaign against Carney. She was not considered credible until she was. Same with the mayoral campaign. Same with many of the campaigns that occurred this year. Please tell me who you think is credible. I think we need someone who has the balls to buck the Delaware way and not just talk. The Delaware way survives on all this talk with very little action.

  23. RE Vanella says:

    I do appreciate the backpedal though.

    You come on here and tell us there’s zero chance of this that. Because “2008”. Tell us how it “works.”. Tell me what Drew would think of my argument.

    Now you’re chill. Not attacking. Have a nice life… bullshits.

    Choke on my fucking scrote.

  24. RE Vanella says:

    Fuck you and your bio. Piss off down the road.

  25. RE Vanella says:

    Healthy discussion… Condescending fuckwad.

    You’re anonymous. Bad faith. Coward.

    You’re game is dumb & weak…

    …But yeah, you could be wrong… When you think that maybe reassess how you come out of box. Because I’ll slam that box shut.

  26. Hmm says:

    Not backpedaling, based on history and this State’s electorate, a credible primary won’t happen. I base this on history and my experience in the state. It’s my opinion, it could be wrong but I stand by it. Not sure what’s up with the hostility and attacks. Also not sure about the bio.

  27. RE Vanella says:

    I don’t like you. I can tell by the way you write. You would say stupid shit. I would despise you as a person.

  28. RE Vanella says:

    By the way, are you like slow on the pick up for real? Like a certified idiot? With papers?

    Are you trying to still make some wierd point?

    You tried the internet. You failed. You’re an embarrassment.

    It’s like you’re confused about what’s happening… Very strange.

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