Posted: June 19, 2014


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Saying that Chris Coons and John Carney are "running" for re-election somehow sounds wrong. Better to say they are "standing" for re-election, as the British expression goes.

Maybe even "waiting" for re-election.

For now, there is not much more to do for Coons, the Democratic senator up for his second term, or for Carney, the Democratic congressman up for his third term, not as long as the Republicans continue to give them both a pass.

It makes Coons and Carney the personification of a campaign season unfolding here in Delaware in slow motion, nor does it have much time left to speed up. The candidates' filing deadline is under three weeks away on July 8.

It puts a new twist on an old, overused phrase. The 2014 election. Wait for it.

U.S. Senate. The biggest event so far was a non-event. Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party Republican from the Senate race in 2010, blasted out an e-mail early this month to say she would not be running again.

O'Donnell continues to try to get political mileage out of saying what she is not.

Last time it was I'm-not-a-witch. This time it is I'm-not-a-candidate.

U.S. House of Representatives. Carney put out an announcement to say he had filed his candidacy for re-election on June 6. Twitter did not exactly light up.

Carney looks to be living the charmed life of a proven candidate -- a twice-elected congressman and twice-elected lieutenant governor -- on the high side of the state's lopsided voter registration with 124,000 more Democrats than Republicans.

Filing his candidacy may be as strenuous as it gets.

Attorney General. A race? A race? Could there actually be a race? Matt Denn, the Democratic lieutenant governor, has had the field to himself for two months, due to his agility to become the first political figure to regroup and reorient after Beau Biden's stunning decision to get out as the Democratic attorney general in 2014 but get in as a candidate for governor in 2016.

The Republicans struck out trying to recruit Colm Connolly, the ex-prosecutor who famously put Tom Capano away, but now it looks like they could be getting a walk-on candidate.

Ted Kittila, a lawyer who grew up in Seaford, works in Wilmington and lives in Greenville, is interested in running. He is a University of Delaware graduate who went to law school at the University of Minnesota and clerked in the Court of Chancery, the famed forum for business law.

While in college, Kittila worked for Bill Roth, the late Republican senator, and he described his politics with words seldom heard in Republican circles anymore.

"I'm a fairly moderate candidate," Kittila said.

State Treasurer. The first major showdown for this race is about a month away, when the Democratic Party's executive committee meets on July 15 to decide whether to endorse Chip Flowers, Sean Barney or possibly neither of the above.

Flowers, the first-term treasurer, probably has nobody to blame more than himself for this primary fight, not after his feuds with other Democrats and the troubles his office has had with travel and personnel issues.

Because Flowers is the sitting officeholder, Barney would benefit either from an out-and-out endorsement for the primary or from no endorsement, which would be regarded as a no-confidence vote for Flowers.

Not that the Democratic Party's endorsement has necessarily meant very much. Ask Governor Carney about that.

Until the primary decides the nomination on Sept. 9, it leaves Ken Simpler, the Republican running for treasurer, doing what other candidates are doing. Waiting for an opponent to materialize.

State Auditor. Tom Wagner, the Republican auditor for the past 25 years, is running. Really he is. He expects to be paying his filing fee to put him on the ballot any day now.

"Why take five grand out of my bank account? That's just the banker in me," Wagner said.

Wagner finds himself in a serious fight for his political survival. Brenda Mayrack, running on the Democratic side, is campaigning aggressively, fund raising furiously and recently picked up the backing of EMILY's List, a national PAC for pro-choice Democratic women running for office. (The name stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast, because it makes the dough rise.) 

Mayrack is involved in a primary with Ken Matlusky, but he is regarded as a vanity candidate with little chance. It makes their race an oddity -- something in this campaign season that does not figure to be a matter of waiting, but a matter of time.