Posted: Aug. 21, 2014


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Guess who still has his name officially on the ballot after saying he was getting out of state politics?

Surprise, surprise, it is Chip Flowers. Like it was going to be Beau Biden?

Nearly a week has gone by since Flowers, the Democratic state treasurer, declared he has been so misunderstood here, he wanted out of Delaware and would be moving to Massachusetts.

Like so many breakups, this one has continued to go badly.

In keeping with a tenure rampant with travel, credit card and personnel issues in the treasurer's office, a power struggle over the state's investment authority, and feuds with the governor, Cabinet secretaries, the legislature and his own party, Flowers still has it in him to make another fuss.

He has delayed the official withdrawal of his candidacy, a time lapse that has left the primary, the state election officials and ultimately the voters in a hard-hearted limbo.

Until Flowers' about-face, he was expected to be running in a Democratic primary on Sept. 9 against Sean Barney, a former gubernatorial aide to Jack Markell and senatorial aide to Tom Carper, for the nomination against the winner of the Republican primary between Ken Simpler and Sher Valenzuela.

Election officials were led to believe Flowers would drop out by Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday, only to have Flowers put them off again with another dismaying development.

"He told me he was going to post-date it for next week," said Elaine Manlove, the commissioner.

He did, too. Flowers' withdrawal is not effective until Aug. 28 at 4 p.m., according to election officials.

This is hardly what the election officials needed. They were already sweating it. They have 900 voting machines to get ready, and time was closing in.

Manlove pressed Flowers for a reason for the postponement, and she said he told her he was working to restore his reputation before he formally withdrew.

Whatever that means. Flowers did not respond to a request for an interview to explain.

When the election officials first thought Flowers was dropping out, they considered just posting cards inside the voting booths to say there was no race, so they could avoid redoing all the machines.

Then they decided it would be safer and less confusing to fix the ballot, after all, even though it is time-consuming and tedious work. It involves taking out four screws to remove the cover over the ballot, putting stickers over the names and blocking the voting button, and reattaching the cover. Repeat, 900 times. Then get the machines certified and delivered to all the polling places.

Now they may be stuck with posting the cards, after all.

"I don't know how we're possibly going to handle all the machines. I explained to him [Flowers] the impact it would have on the voters, the confusion for the voters, to no avail," Manlove said.

It figures. There is nothing that has suited Flowers like confusion. It might as well be his last act.