Senator Tom Carper, as you can see from the chart below, will lead the Democratic campaign in 2018 if he runs for reelection and if he garners the Democratic nomination. He has not announced his intentions, but I suppose it is a safe bet that he will run since he has been trying to move left to be closer to his Democratic base in the last few months. And by that I mean he has been trying to be as vociferous as a Tom Carper can be in opposition to Donald Trump. Showing up at protests. Saying all the right things.
Still, he is Tom Carper. He is 70 years old. And much like his contemporary 70 year old Donald Trump, he will not change. He is the person has always been: a moderate both sides are good always in search of bipartisanship Democrat who seems to always seek permission from Republicans before he takes a stand on anything. You can see it in his response to the CBO score:
I expected a whole lot more from the people who have been promising us for years that they’ve figured out the key to insuring more people for lower costs. This clearly isn’t it. I’m disappointed by many of my Republican colleagues who began their disavowal of the CBO’s findings before they were even made public. Attacking our nonpartisan budget and economic analysts doesn’t change the fact that, behind all their lofty promises of terrific care that everyone can afford, is a hastily put together piece of legislation that doesn’t make the cut. I hope this CBO report will serve as the shot of reality we so badly need to get our Republican friends to focus on improving upon the progress we’ve already made through the ACA, not tearing down a system that has improved the lives of millions of Americans.
You see the problem? He is disappointed that Republicans have come up with a horrible bill. After 40 years of public office, 40 years of seeing Republicans up close, 40 years of seeing their disdain for providing healthcare to anyone, let alone those who need it, 40 years of knowing that Republicans see healthcare as a privilege and not a right, and HE EXPECTED THEM TO DRAFT A GOOD BILL???? He expected them to help improve Obamacare??
Senator, for the love of God, wake the hell up. I know, this statement may not be sincere and you may be just playing your Carper Bipartisan Shtick. But that’s a problem, because that bullshit, while perfectly fine for the late 1980’s and 1990’s, doesn’t play any more. We Democrats have long moved past it and Republicans don’t fall for it. That leaves reasonable centrists or independents that I suppose this out dated Delaware Way idiocy is intended for, and they no longer exist. The public, your voters, do not care about your disappointment in Republicans. We have been disappointed by Republicans for many decades. Indeed, one of the reasons we are Democrats is because we don’t like Republicans. We also don’t like what Republicans like. We know who the Republicans are. We know what they want. And that is why we oppose them with every fiber of our being.
And we are long past waiting for you to oppose them with every fiber of yours. We don’t expect anything from Republicans but unlimited evil and malevolence. It seems to me, if Senator Carper’s statement is sincere, then he must not run for reelection because he is hopelessly out of touch with not only the people but the times. He can go find Mike Castle and they both can long for the days when they could swap jobs like musical chairs and no one would notice.
But, as is our luck, I assume he will run. So the only hope of stopping him from being reelected is a CREDIBLE primary challenge. That has always been a problem in a state as small as Delaware, because, unless you win, an up and coming politician’s career would be pretty much finished if he or she ran against Carper in a primary and lost. It’s that old adage: you come at the king, you’d best not miss.
So who could do it?
First, let’s take a look at the roster of offices up in 2018:
|US Senator||Tom Carper|
|US Representative||Lisa Blunt Rochester|
|Attorney General||Matt Denn|
|State Senator 2||Margaret Rose Henry|
|State Senator 3||Bob Marshall|
|State Senator 4||Greg Lavelle|
|State Senator 6||Ernie Lopez|
|State Senator 10||Stephanie Hansen|
|State Senator 11||Bryan Townsend|
|State Senator 16||Colin Bonini|
|State Senator 17||Brian Bushweller|
|State Senator 18||Gary Simpson|
|State Senator 21||Bryant Richardson|
|State Representative 1||Charles Potter, Jr.|
|State Representative 2||Stephanie Bolden|
|State Representative 3||Helene Keeley|
|State Representative 4||Gerald Brady|
|State Representative 5||Melanie G. Smith|
|State Representative 6||Debra Heffernan|
|State Representative 7||Bryon Short|
|State Representative 8||Quinton Johnson|
|State Representative 9||Kevin Hensley|
|State Representative 10||Sean Matthews|
|State Representative 11||Jeffrey Spiegelman|
|State Representative 12||Deborah Hudson|
|State Representative 13||Larry Mitchell|
|State Representative 14||Peter Schwartzkopf|
|State Representative 15||Valerie Longhurst|
|State Representative 16||JJ Johnson|
|State Representative 17||Michael Mulrooney|
|State Representative 18||David Bentz|
|State Representative 19||Kimberly Williams|
|State Representative 20||Stephen Smyk|
|State Representative 21||Michael Ramone|
|State Representative 22||Joe Miro|
|State Representative 23||Paul Baumbach|
|State Representative 24||Ed Oisenski|
|State Representative 25||John Kowalko|
|State Representative 26||John Viola|
|State Representative 27||Earl Jaques|
|State Representative 28||Bill Carson|
|State Representative 29||Trey Paradee|
|State Representative 30||Bill Outten|
|State Representative 31||Sean Lynn|
|State Representative 32||Andria Bennett|
|State Representative 33||Charles Postles|
|State Representative 34||Lyndon Yearick|
|State Representative 35||David Wilson|
|State Representative 36||Harvey Kenton|
|State Representative 37||Ruth Briggs King|
|State Representative 38||Ron Gray|
|State Representative 39||Daniel Short|
|State Representative 40||Timothy Dukes|
|State Representative 41||Richard Collins|
Two relatively young up and comers, Attorney General Matt Denn and State Senator Bryan Townsend, are off the list because they are running for reelection themselves in 2018. New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer is still too new. He needs to have a successful first term in order to prove that he wasn’t just an anti-Gordon fluke. No one else in the General Assembly has the cache or the desire to challenge Carper.
Delaware Liberal has someone in mind:
The Delaware Way notion of ‘reaching across the aisle’ is now viewed as anathema among grassroots Democrats. […] For the first time in Carper’s lengthy reign, the forces are finally aligned for a serious challenge. Not only are people creating a sustainable grassroots political presence in Delaware, but there is also at least one prospective candidate with the potential to both challenge Carper and to defeat Carper. If Carper even opts to take on the challenge. […]
Between Delaware United, Network Delaware, and other closely-aligned grassroots organizations, we now have the volunteers, fundraising potential and enthusiasm to mount a significant challenge to Carper. […] While Network Delaware can impact elections up and down the ballot, there’s no way that Eugene Young has not considered how his own political future could be impacted by this organization that he has helped to create. [….]
Young is the ideal candidate for this race. He almost won Wilmington’s mayoral office, losing only b/c of the calculus of one too many black candidates. He made virtually no political enemies in the process, running an inclusive campaign that galvanized hundreds of volunteers throughout the state. Even Carper took note, urging Mayor Mike to hire Young. I think now you can see why. If I were Carper, there’s no way I’d want to even consider the prospect of being primaried by him.
I am intrigued. Sure, sure, it probably won’t happen, but El Som has painted the first scenario in all these many years where I can see a candidate actually challenging Carper or scaring him into retirement. If Carper does decide to retire, before or after Young announces a run, I would expect the primary to fill up with many candidates. I expect Lisa Blunt Rochester to try to move up. Maybe Denn would decide to forgo reelection to the AG at that point.