Posted: June 24, 2015


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Chris Bullock became the first candidate to get going in the post-Beau Biden era by letting fellow Democrats know Wednesday he has decided to run for lieutenant governor.

Bullock has been open about his interest in running for a higher office when his single term as the New Castle County Council president is up next year, but he had not settled on whether it would be lieutenant governor or congressman.

The race for lieutenant governor is wide open. The one for Delaware's lone seat in the House of Representatives is not quite.

Lieutenant governor is so open, there is not even a sitting officeholder. Matt Denn abandoned it mid-term to get himself elected as the Democratic attorney general last year and left it yawning, because the state constitution does not bother to provide a way to fill a vacancy.

The congressional race is waiting on John Carney, the three-term Democrat. It is regarded as only a matter of time before he is expected to switch to running for governor.

Bullock nevertheless came around to thinking he was more suited for lieutenant governor, who serves as the president of the state Senate, sits on the Board of Pardons and is first in the line of gubernatorial succession.

"In many ways I'm doing the job now as County Council president, presiding over a legislative body," Bullock said in a short telephone interview.

The office would also let him continue his ministry as the senior pastor at Canaan Baptist Church in New Castle, Bullock said.

Bullock does not exactly have the Democratic field to himself. Brad Eaby, a Kent County Levy Court commissioner, and Greg Fuller, a former Sussex County row officer, are running, and other possible candidates are Kathy McGuiness, a Rehoboth Beach commissioner, and Sherry Dorsey Walker, a Wilmington councilwoman. There are no known Republicans yet.

It would be about as diverse a field as Delaware has ever seen. Bullock, Fuller and Dorsey Walker are black, and Eaby and McGuiness are white.

Bullock would likely have an advantage in a Democratic primary as the only candidate elected countywide in the largest of the state's three counties.

He has also been credited by fellow Democrats for not letting himself be dragged into the soap-opera feuding that never seems to end between Tom Gordon, the Democratic county executive, and the County Council, most recently over such matters as e-mail and the auditor.

It figures into what Bullock says would be a campaign focus of unity and diversity.

"My campaign theme is going to be 'One Delaware,' bringing people together," Bullock said. "There needs to be a credible voice statewide for the African-American community."

Bullock's move looks like the kickoff of a hyperactive election cycle. Trini Navarro, the Democratic sheriff in New Castle County, has scheduled a press conference on Thursday to announce his plans, which are widely assumed to be a primary challenge against Karen Weldin Stewart, the Democratic insurance commissioner.

Other candidacies in other races are expected, once the legislative session ends on June 30 and Carney makes up his mind, now that politics-after-Beau is here.