Posted: Sept. 28, 2015


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

John Carney was a popular guy at the Truman-Kennedy Dinner.

Naturally a lot of it was the aura that came from the Democrats there thinking they were looking at the next Democratic governor of Delaware.

There was also the matter of Carney's generosity in paying the expenses for the gathering, which the Sussex County Women's Democratic Club hosted Saturday evening for about 80 people at the Bridgeville fire hall, although it was not quite as generous as it might seem.

The underwriting, which cost Carney $1,400, came out of the account he has used to run for congressman, and he is not allowed by law to convert campaign money for a federal office to a state office like governor.

At the last reckoning, Carney was sitting on $650,000. It is legal for it to go toward Democratic candidates or causes, like the Truman-Kennedy Dinner, or else charities, so why not burn through it? Political money is a terrible thing to waste.

Carney was also looking especially popular because he has acquired an eager band of groupies, ready or not.

It is made up of all the Democrats who are trying to stick as close as a shadow because they would love to win his favor to run with him for lieutenant governor. It would be a big asset in a primary, most likely determinative.

Carney is not letting on if he intends to express a choice or not.

"I think it's a question we have to deal with," he said in a brief interview.

Carney is regarded as a clear front-runner in the 2016 election, and so will his running-mate-to-be-named-later. This is a state that has not elected a Republican for governor or lieutenant governor since 1988, when it went with Mike Castle and Dale Wolf.

Carney's leading Republican competition is Colin Bonini, a state senator, who could not even get by Chip Flowers for state treasurer. There is no doubt considerable voters' remorse about Flowers, a Democrat whose single term was so messy, he ran himself out of state, but not enough remorse to lift Bonini to governor. The Republicans have nobody yet for lieutenant governor.

As of now, the Democrats have five candidates who are saying they are running for lieutenant governor and one candidate who is not saying it.

The candidate who is not saying it is Bethany Hall-Long, a state senator, and she is an example of why there is so much talk in politics about ducks.

There is the lame duck. There is also the dead duck. Then there is looking-like-a-duck-and-quacking-like-a-duck-so-it-must-be-a-duck, which is the way it is for Hall-Long for lieutenant governor.

Surprise, surprise, Hall-Long attended the Truman-Kennedy Dinner, along with four of the candidates in the official field -- Brad Eaby, a Kent County commissioner; Greg Fuller, once a Sussex County row officer; Kathy McGuiness, a Rehoboth Beach commissioner; and Sherry Dorsey Walker, a Wilmington councilwoman. Only Ciro Poppiti III, a New Castle County row officer, missed it.

Nobody knows better than Carney what a nod from him would mean.

When he was a first-time candidate for lieutenant governor in 2000, the field was cleared for him when Ruth Ann Minner, the Democratic candidate for governor, made him her choice on their way to winning two terms together.

It was different back then, though. Although there was a slew of candidates angling to run, nobody had made it official, so Minner could not be accused of meddling in a primary. Carney would be.

Whenever Carney shows up for political events, it looks like he can expect to have side boys and girls. The flock for lieutenant governor will be there to hover.