Posted: May 16, 2016


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

John Carney is nothing if not courteous.

Carney waited for a season to pass, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, after Beau Biden died last year before he declared as the Democratic candidate for governor, and he also took care to call the vice president first.

These days Carney is patiently staying out of Jack Markell's way by keeping to the political sidelines while the current Democratic governor of Delaware navigates through his last session of the legislature, which ends on June 30.

This is not just good political etiquette, considering that the campaign for governor traditionally does not get started until the legislature goes home, but also good political smarts. Why should Carney let himself get dragged into current controversies or potentially played off against Markell?

Not that something is not going on.

Carney is managing to put off the politicking and still be out and about, a benefit that comes from being the current congressman, and he is also socking away the campaign contributions. He went into the election year as the only statewide candidate to collect more than a half-million dollars, and as anybody in politics knows, money begets money.

He has more fund-raisers on his schedule. The big one features Joe Biden on Saturday at the Riverfront in Wilmington.

Another is timed for Friday on what is Carney's 60th birthday at Delaware Park in Stanton, and still another is set for June 6 at the Monday Club, which was founded in 1876 as a social club for black men who had Monday off from their work as butlers, cooks and similar jobs.

Not much action is coming from the Republican side for governor, either. Colin Bonini, the leading candidate, is a state senator, so it leaves him even more preoccupied with the legislative calendar than Carney is.

The Republicans did finally come up with a candidate for lieutenant governor, though.

It is La Mar Gunn, and he got the attention of his fellow Republicans when he introduced himself at their state convention last month as the only NRA cardholder and NAACP president (for the Central Delaware branch) in the building.

Gunn's political history is also a little unconventional. He won an election, lost an election and tied an election, and it was all the same election.

Gunn ran in 2014 for Kent County recorder of deeds against Betty Lou McKenna, the Democratic officeholder. It looked like Gunn won by two votes, but a recount had him losing by two votes. Gunn went to court to get a new recount, and this one came out a tie, except the second recount was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which threw it out. McKenna was the winner.

All told, there are 22 candidates running for statewide office in 2016. This calls for a scorecard:

Office Democrats Republicans Rundown

John Carney

Colin Bonini

Lacey Lafferty

Call it the ABCs of the governor's race -- Anybody But Carney is all but unthinkable
U.S. House

Sean Barney

Mike Miller

Lisa Blunt Rochester

Bryan Townsend

Scott Walker

Rose Izzo

Hans Reigle

The voter math says a Democrat ought to be the next congressperson, but which one? The primary has three serious contenders -- Barney, Rochester and Townsend -- but no clear front-runner
Lieutenant governor

Brad Eaby

Greg Fuller

Bethany Hall-Long

Kathy McGuiness

Ciro Poppiti III

Sherry Dorsey Walker

La Mar Gunn With so many candidates trying to stuff themselves into so small of an office, this is like the clown car of state politics
Insurance commissioner

Karen Weldin Stewart

Paul Gallagher

Trini Navarro

Jeff Cragg

George Parish

Something about Stewart never fails to attract a host of candidates. Just like the two times she won in 2008 and 2012, three's a crowd

Incumbents in bold