Posted: Sept. 10, 2007


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

There are 249,716 registered Democrats in Delaware. It only seems like all of them are trying to get on the statewide ballot.

The party is swarming with candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner, all of the open races in 2008, and it may get another one. Samuel Prado, a Wilmington councilman in his first term, has thoughts about running for insurance commissioner.

Just what the Democrats need -- another statewide candidate. Still, it says something about the direction of a party when even the election for insurance commissioner is oversubscribed.

"A lot of people must think it's going to be a good year for us. I hope they work as hard for us to accomplish that," quipped John D. Daniello, the Democratic state chair.

Daniello, who won what was probably the bloodiest primary the state Democrats ever had, a congressional fight in 1970, is not exactly fond of them, knowing from personal experience that his contest against Samuel L. Shipley set him up to lose to Republican Pierre S. "Pete" du Pont, launching his statewide career as three-term congressman and two-term governor.

Even so, an overabundance of candidates beats the Republicans' situation. The statewide vacancies that are a magnet for Democrats are something of a black hole for them.

The Democrats have Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. and Treasurer Jack A. Markell for governor, Insurance Commissioner Matthew P. Denn and City Council President Theodore Blunt for lieutenant governor, and Eugene T. Reed Jr., Karen Weldin Stewart and perhaps Prado for insurance commissioner.

The Republicans have either noncommittals or tepid candidacies from Alan B. Levin for governor, state Sen. Colin R.J. Bonini for lieutenant governor and state Rep. Robert J. Valihura Jr. for insurance commissioner. What they have from Michael D. Protack, a perennial spoiler looking at governor again, is not something they can describe in polite company.

Prado comes with a political pedigree. His father Jesus M. Prado had the council seat earlier from 1984 to 1992. Sammy Prado, 31, works at the Delaware Skills Center, a vo-tech school in Wilmington. His familiarity with the insurance industry comes from previous jobs at AIG and Blue Cross Blue Shield in customer service and administration.

"I'm looking into running," Prado said. "I should know by October whether this is going to happen. I'm struggling with it because I love city council."

Although Prado may join a primary himself, he has no interest in meddling in any other, especially the one between Carney and Markell, not when he can stay out and potentially draw votes from backers of either candidate.

"I'm not getting involved in that race," Prado said.

What happens in the insurance commissioner's primary stays in that primary.

# # #

The Delaware Republicans have brought in Cheryl L. Corn to be their executive director. Corn, a 2004 candidate for the New Castle County Council, replaces Garrett Wozniak, now the policy coordinator for the Republicans in the state House of Representatives.

As a public service for those who usually learn their politics by talking rather than reading, it should be noted that Corn is no relation to Richard J. Korn, a 2006 Democratic legislative candidate, nor is there any indication she would prefer it any other way.