Posted: Aug. 18, 2016
THE CIRCLE OF MONEY
By Celia Cohen
There are statewide candidates who can only dream about bringing in the political contributions the way Pete Schwartzkopf, the Democratic speaker, has.
Schwartzkopf built a campaign treasury with almost $130,000 in it -- more than any other candidate running for state office, either statewide or legislative, on Primary Day in Delaware on Sept. 13.
More than the Republican candidates for governor. More than the Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor. More than all the candidates for insurance commissioner.
The statewide candidates can eat their hearts out. They are prospecting for tens of thousands of votes up and down the state, while Schwartzkopf is going after a mere 8,400 Democratic voters in a compact coastal district, taking in Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach, in Sussex County.
Not far behind Schwartzkopf is Valerie Longhurst, his political partner as the Democratic majority leader in the state House of Representatives. Longhurst is going into her primary election with nearly $94,000 in her campaign account.
This is the way it is with the circle of money in Legislative Hall. The money chases the power, and the power chases the money, the better for the power to stay in and the money to have an in with it.
Not that it is foolproof for the legislative leadership to get moneyed up.
After all, it was only two elections ago that Tony DeLuca, then the Democratic president pro tem in the state Senate, was sitting on nearly $90,000 at this point in the campaign season, and he still was taken out in a primary.
Nobody else running in a legislative primary could come close to showing the kind of money that Schwartzkopf and Longhurst could, when the campaign finance reports were filed by the deadline on Tuesday at midnight.
As a matter of fact, the reports showed a clear financial hierarchy.
Other legislators below the leadership could put together five-figure campaign accounts, but the contributions were harder to come by for challengers and first-time candidates.
Only Caitlin Olsen and Jack Walsh, the Democratic candidates in a primary for a state Senate seat, collected contributions topping $10,000, and there is a reason for it.
One of them is going to be a state senator. They are running to replace Karen Peterson, a Democratic state senator who is retiring, and there is not a Republican opponent in sight, so the primary will settle it.
This is typical of the money. Not only does it chase power, it likes to get in early.
Incumbents in bold
Source: Campaign finance reports