The Question of Carper looms over 2018

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:

Office Democrat Republican
US Senator Tom Carper
US Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester
Attorney General Matt Denn
Treasurer Ken Simpler
Auditor Tom Wagner
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.



Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

9 comments on “The Question of Carper looms over 2018

  1. I’d bet money that you couldn’t scare Carper out of his seat. And if anyone could, I’d put my money on Jack Markell. Who I DO NOT KNOW to be even considering this. But I don’t think Carper would be easily scared.

    But those seats coming up is worth their own speculation, though. MR Henry is expected to retire and both Potter and Bolden are said to want to step up. If Marshall doesn’t retire, he is going to be easy to take out. Will Helene Keeley step up? Gerry Brady is very vulnerable. Is JJ Johnson ready to retire? I thought I saw that Jacques would step back My memory may be faulty here).

    So if all of those retirements and efforts to step up happen, then we have ALOT of Democratic seats in play. While I really want Carper to be replaced by a more progressive Senator, frankly I’d rather put my energy in more progressive local candidates for these Senate and Rep seats.

    • speaktruth200

      The only two real progressives in this state are John Kowalko and Kim Jones…the rest of them are corporate owned, not worthy of pushing to Congress. We need NEW progressive blood. 55,000 citizens voted for Bernie in Delaware…lets find a good one amongst them.

      • speaktruth200

        Why have all the progressives and liberals in this state stopped calling WDEL. We have two alt right talk show hosts who are spewing the vile of Trump and the alt right. Only two progressives call that talk show anymore…so there is no pushback on the alt right. Wake up, citizens who listen (and there are many) are turning possible progressives to the right. Its you duty as a citizen to call both shows and provide the opposite view point.

        • No. Most progressives are working when these programs are on. There’s little point to calling in (much less listening) when WDEL created it’s alt-right radio bubble. If they want a broader range of listeners and caller, then they should have a broader range of radio hosts. Until then, WHYY broadcasts incredibly interesting programming throughout the day and there are always podcasts.

          • speaktruth200

            Gee as I recall when Al was on…progressives and liberals found the time to call in…I don’t agree with you Cassandra the point is UNLESS there is push back the alt right is winning over voters in this state. Those who can call, should call…period. WDEL is now statewide into NJ, Md..etc…I am a progressive and I have time to call, so does Ernie…but WE are the only two.. and they are censoring us, or putting us off the air immediately trashing what we had to say…So Cassandra you may be working during the day, but many work other hours and/or CAN call in, if they choose too.

          • Yes, well when Al was on, there was actually something to listen to. Progressives and liberals have changed the channel now. Why spend precious time listening to a conservative bubble? You don’t work during the day. Many of the rest of us do. Calling into an alt right radio station is not going to change their voting behavior.

  2. I agree, Carper is well past the point of anything to prove or be scared of, as noted he sees nothing wrong with himself or for that matter with the hated Delaware Way. I would not be surprised if Delaware’s complacent and, (dare I say it?) somnambulant electorate, would feel the same way.

  3. Frank Sims

    I believe Carper has for years totally abdicated his role of “public servant” for the citizens of Delaware. Enough!

  4. Carper is and has always been a corporate democrat. He has done nothing for the citizens of Delaware. Frankly, I don’t think he will run, he is rumored to have Parkinsons! Even if he does run, we need a real progressive (not Jack Markell, or Matt Denn etc) they are just as corporate owned as he is.

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