Delaware Elections

Fundraising Reports Raises Questions

Poring over campaign finance reports is tedious but it can informative when you recognize the names of certain donors or companies.   For example, Sam Guy, a candidate for State Senator in the 2nd Senate District, and a Democrat, getting a maximum primary donation of $600 from Republican Senator Colin Bonini.   What game is being played there?  Is Colin perhaps courting a future Senator in a closely divided State Senate?

Then you have Kathy Jennings, a Democratic candidate for Attorney General.  You can say she is the establishment’s pick for the office, and thus, as such, she has received more corporate and institutional donations.  For example, her latest reports reveal donations from JP Morgan Chase, Pfizer and the Delaware City Refinery.

Her primary opponent Chris Johnson’s campaign manager, Sarah Fulton, rightfully points out that these donations may be a conflict of interest if your goal as Attorney General is to fight the opioid epidemic, an epidemic caused in part by pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer; and they may be a conflict of interest if your goal as Attorney General is to punish corporate polluters of our environment, like Delaware City Refinery.

There is also a $600 donation from the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, which might make sense, but then you have to wonder if she will be supportive of reforming our criminal justice and cash bail system for non violent offenders.

Jennings’ finance report also lists contributions that may prove to be a more direct conflict of interest: donations of $300 from Margaret Strine, the wife mother of Delaware’s Chief Justice Leo Strine Jr., and $100 from Leo Strine, Sr, the Chief Justice’s father.

Now, candidates cannot control necessarily who donates to their campaign. Well, they can refuse and refund the donation if they were so inclined.  For example, I would expect candidates I support to refuse donations from the NRA or Club for Growth.  But what candidates can control is their actions and reactions in office.   Campaign donations do not necessarily mean a candidate will change or modify their positions and policies according to the donor’s wishes once in office.  But it means we need to watch.

Kathy Jennings is on TV up and down the state with ads about reforming the cash bail system.  If she wins the primary next Thursday, and wins in November, and then doesn’t do it, or doesn’t hold those response for the opioid epidemic, pollution, or pursue criminal justice reform, then we will know why.


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

10 comments on “Fundraising Reports Raises Questions

  1. RE Vanella

    That’s the goods. Well done.

    Vote Chris Johnson.

  2. While you are focusing on this statewide race, look at the 30 day and 8 day reports for NCC Sheriff. Sheriff Sam Pratcher is being opposed by Scott Phillips. Wonder who the Tom Gordon candidate is? Phillips! Gordon contributed. Sherry Freebery maxed out at $600, as did Insurance Commissioner Navarro, his chief of staff Stu Snyder and highly paid insurance department contractors Gene Reed, Jr., Mike Johnson, John Tinsley and Jim Black. IC benefactors George Schreppler gave $300 and John Petrib too. Rumor is Navarro is Gordon’s candidate for County Executive in 2020.

  3. Pratcher was appointed and hired a bunch of Mayor Dennis Williams cronies. Didn’t care about this office until he needed to run for it.

    • Sam Pratcher won a Purple Heart in Vietnam, then became a Wilmington cop. He earned a college degree and promotions under six different chiefs, eventually becoming chief of police. He retired at least 10 years before Williams became mayor.

      • He was fired from the Sills Admin at least 10 years before Williams became mayor. Fixed that for you.

        No disparagement of his previous service, either. But he seems to have picked up some crony politics from Williams that has not been good for the office. Vote for anyone who didn’t pick up Williams’ bad habits.

  4. FYI – Margaret ‘Peggy’ Strine is Leo’s mom, not his wife, right?

    She’s on ACLU board, RDC, etc. – Peggy was previously Senior VP of Public Affairs & Community Relations for Citizens Bank. Since retiring, she has continued to be strongly involved within the community. Peggy is an executive board member for Downtown Visions and a board member for The Partnership, Inc., an affiliate of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. She was named Chair of the Riverfront Development Corporation’s board of directors by former Governor Ruth Ann Minner in 2006, and President of the First State Community Action Agency’s board in 2010.

  5. Stan Merriman

    Corporate interests don’t give to campaigns just out of good heartedness. They want payback and often get it. The Attorney General’s race is most telling about the competing interests in the Delaware Democratic Party; corporate and citizen. I go with those that can do reform in the interest of citizens. Go, Chris Johnson. You can do that job for us in the AG seat.

  6. Russ Melrath

    Nothing against Jennings but spend 5 mins with Chris Johnson and you will be amazed with his warmth and sincerity . Clean and knowledgeable .A breath of fresh air .

Leave a Reply to delawarewayCancel reply