Posted: April 7, 2016


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Bryon Short has not just withdrawn from the congressional race. He has withdrawn. Period.

Short has made himself scarce since Monday, when he conceded he could not turn himself into Delaware's lone member in the House of Representatives, not after figuring out there were not enough campaign contributions to get him through the crowded Democratic primary.

This disappearing act might be fine for Short. It is not nearly so fine for the three Democratic candidates who are already campaigning to replace him as the state representative in a Brandywine Hundred district with Claymont and Arden in it.

The filing deadline for candidates is not until July. Short has not indicated he intends to pivot and run for re-election for his legislative seat, which he first won in a special election in 2007. Nor has he indicated he will not.

This is an unexpected complication for Dave Brady, Rob Cameron and Joe Daigle, who up until now only had to worry about one another in what is regarded as a safe Democratic district without a Republican candidate running.

Two words. Political limbo.

"I'm just going on as I was. We'll see what happens when it happens. You give people a few days. I'm sure he'll make a decision soon," Cameron said.

"I don't know exactly what's next for Bryon. He needs time to plan his next step on his own terms. He's been a great state representative. Obviously I'd have some serious considerations to go through. I wouldn't have made the decision to run," Daigle said.

Short was not alone in lying low. Brady was also unavailable for comment.

Although Short has ruled out the congressional race -- which still has Sean Barney, Lisa Blunt Rochester and Bryan Townsend for the Democrats, Hans Reigle for the Republicans, and a couple of serial candidates -- the campaign season is still early enough for him to file for something else, and not just his legislative seat, if he wants to.

The state Senate? A different statewide race for lieutenant governor or insurance commissioner, where the Democrats already have primaries, anyway?

Not governor, though, where John Carney, the departing congressman, is running for the Democrats. All Carney did between Labor Day and New Year's Eve was vacuum up a half-million dollars in campaign contributions.

That makes it no race to come up Short.

# # #

Just what the state Republicans needed. More drama.

The Republicans were looking at contested elections for national committeeman and committeewoman at their convention, which is set for the end of the month in Dewey Beach.

This is a party that has been painstakingly trying to nurse itself back from the ruinous primary it had for the Senate six years ago between Mike Castle and Christine "I'm Not a Witch" O'Donnell. Things were finally looking up after the Republicans elected Ken Simpler as the state treasurer and picked up three legislative seats in 2014.

Internal cracks would not help.

The current national committeeman and committeewoman are Laird Stabler, a lawyer whose late father was a revered national committeeman before him, and Ellen Barrosse, a retired businesswoman. Both are running for re-election, Stabler for a third term and Barrosse for a second, and in the last few weeks, opposition loomed.

The posts are prime leadership positions that bring four-year terms on the Republican National Committee, the party's governing entity, and grant automatic delegate status to the presidential nominating convention.

Kevin Wade, who has the distinction of losing consecutive elections to Tom Carper and Chris Coons, the two Democratic senators, declared his interest in running for national committeeman, as did Debbie Hudson, the minority whip in the state House, for national committeewoman.

Hudson has since changed her mind and bowed out, but Wade is still in there.

"George Washington was much beloved, much more beloved than me or Laird, and he left after eight years," Wade said.

What a new way to look at Washington -- first in war, first in peace and first to get out of the way.