Posted: July 12, 2016


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Not since the Three Blind Mice fled the knife from the farmer's wife has there been a retreat as hasty as the one beaten by Kevin Tinsley from the governor's race.

Tinsley, whoever he is, came out of nowhere, an unidentified flying object mysteriously filing as a Democratic candidate for governor on Monday, shortly after John Carney did.

The contender followed by the pretender. If history can repeat itself as farce, why not politics, too?

For a while there, it looked like the one and only oasis of sanity on the Democratic statewide ballot -- with Carney as the party's consensus choice for governor -- was going the way of the rest of the races, where there is a mind-bending crush of candidates for congressperson, lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner.

Tinsley did not last long, though. By Filing Day on Tuesday, the last chance for candidates to get themselves onto the ballot in Delaware for the 2016 election, he got out of there, instead.

It left Carney joining Hans Reigle, the Republican candidate for congressman, and La Mar Gunn, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, as the only ones to lock down a nomination for statewide office without waiting for the vote on Primary Day on Sept. 13.

Carney is expected to be running for governor on Election Day, Nov. 8, against Colin Bonini, a Republican state senator who once ran for state treasurer, although Bonini first has to dispense with a primary from Lacey Lafferty, a Tea Party candidate.

Tinsley's brief appearance as the human boomerang of state politics was odd all along.

He was taking on Carney, who is the most formidable candidate of this campaign season with five statewide wins as the current congressman and past lieutenant governor, and not only does Tinsley lack political credentials, he has been a Democrat for only a month and a half.

Tinsley, 51, who has been a consultant for H&R Block, the tax preparation firm, was recorded as a Republican on the state's voter rolls until he showed up May 27, the last day to change parties before the primary, to switch his registration.

He is a Camden-Wyoming neighbor of Hans Reigle, who was floored by the turn of events.

"He gave me a thousand dollars for my campaign, and he helped me a little in the beginning, so wow. He's a good guy. I guess he's not working on my campaign anymore," Reigle quipped.

Whatever motivated Tinsley, he did not return a telephone call asking for an interview to explain.

Tinsley's candidacy was iffy from its inception. When he turned in his paperwork and the filing fee of $6,840 on Monday to election officials, he also filled out a withdrawal form, just in case, and a day later, he did back out.

"He said all these reporters were calling, and he wasn't ready for all that publicity, so he withdrew," said Elaine Manlove, the state election commissioner.

The mystery is not why Tinsley fled. It is why he entered in the first place.

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Statewide registration: 48% Democratic, 28% Republican, 24% others

There are 129,000 more Democratic than Republican voters

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

Elias Weir

Hans Reigle

The voter math says a Democrat ought to be the next congressperson, but who? There are three serious candidates -- Barney, Rochester and Townsend -- with Townsend showing a little traction
Lieutenant governor

Brad Eaby

Greg Fuller

Bethany Hall-Long

Kathy McGuiness

Ciro Poppiti

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

Trini Navarro

Jeff Cragg

George Parish

Something about Stewart never fails to attract a host of candidates. She had a primary when she won the office in 2008 and another one in 2012. Why should 2016 be any different?

Incumbents in bold