Posted: Sept. 26, 2006


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

Long into the election season, with campaigns focused on the cry, "41 days and a wakeup call," Republican Esthelda R. "Stell" Parker Selby got around to declaring her candidacy for state treasurer Tuesday with the traditional tour to Delaware's three counties.

It may be just six weeks before Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 7, but it is also only three weeks since the Republican Party talked Parker Selby into signing the filing papers to plug the last hole on their statewide ballot.

Parker Selby has company. State Treasurer Jack A. Markell, the two-term Democrat established enough to be in his party's mix for governor in two years, is not declaring his candidacy until Thursday.

Markell has been taking a "Get to Know Jack" tour, going one by one to 34 of the 41 state representative districts so far, and he has had "Jack's Tour de Delaware," bicycling from Claymont to Delmar in August, but the three-county tour still awaits him, overkill or not.

Parker Selby is taking one for the party by offering to run with modest name recognition and not much time or money for building it. Still, she is probably not even the most obscure statewide candidate this year, a distinction more likely appropriate for Michael J. Dalto, the hail-Mary candidate whom the Democrats found to run for auditor at the filing deadline.

Parker Selby has eye-catching campaign signs going up around the state, while Dalto was not even granted speaking time last week at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, annually the Democrats' biggest event.

Parker Selby began the day with her New Castle County announcement at Republican headquarters in Wilmington, delivering some brief remarks to about 20 people before heading downstate to stops in Dover in Kent County and Georgetown in Sussex County.

"I am not backing down from any challenges. I am ready, willing and able. I have overseen many budgets, from small ones to large ones. I will do the job as your state treasurer," she said.

Parker Selby is the second African-American candidate to run on the Republicans' statewide ticket, following Sherman N. Miller for lieutenant governor in 1996.

She is a familiar and appreciated figure in Republican circles in Sussex County, her home, where she was born in Milford 59 years ago, grew up in Lewes going to segregated schools and now lives in Milton. A retired teacher and administrator with a bachelor's degree from Delaware State University and a master's degree from the University of Delaware, she serves on the board of directors for the Beebe Medical Center.

Parker Selby first ran for office in 2002 against state Sen. Thurman G. Adams Jr., the Democratic president pro tem from Bridgeville. After she lost, she ran for the Cape Henlopen School board in 2005 and won. She serves as the vice president and took as her motto a quotation from Marian Anderson, the opera singer who said, "In life, if you have a purpose in which you can believe, there's no end to the amount of things you can accomplish."

Parker Selby is up against a candidate who polled 66 percent of the vote in 2002 and went into the election year with $1.5 million in his campaign account, half from his own pocket. If only Sussex County elected a treasurer and she could run for that . . .