Posted: Feb. 23, 2004; updated: Feb. 24, 2004
REP. DAVID ENNIS EXPLORES A
RUN FOR INSURANCE POST
By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer
State Rep. David H. Ennis
told his fellow Brandywine Hundred Republicans on Monday evening he
is considering a run for insurance commissioner as a replacement for
Donna Lee Williams, the three-term Republican who stunned the party
leadership when she announced last month she was getting out of
Ennis, a legislator since
1980, did not commit to the race, saying only that he was forming an
exploratory committee and would finalize his decision after the
Republican state convention in May, when the party votes on
Ennis arrived at the
meeting, attended by more than 50 people at the Brandywine Town
Center, with a press release ready to distribute about his
"It is my intent to use the
next several months to gauge party and financial support," it said.
"My 24 years in the Delaware General Assembly, 14 of which were
spent chairing the House Banking & Insurance Committee, have helped
prepare me for the insurance commissioner office."
Ennis' interest threatens to
fissure the Brandywine Hundred Republicans, also the home base for
Jeffrey E. Cragg, the New Castle County Republican co-chairman who
actively is pursuing the nomination for insurance commissioner.
Cragg's father, Ernest E. Cragg, is the Brandywine Republicans'
Jeff Cragg has spent the last
month making the rounds of the Republican Party's seven regions --
Brandywine, Wilmington, Newark, Christiana-Mill Creek, Colonial,
Kent and Sussex -- and is in the process of divesting himself of
insurance interests in his business holdings.
"I've burned my ships.
There's no going back," Cragg said.
State Republican Chairman
Terry A. Strine said Tuesday there still could be more candidates
emerge, but he was optimistic the party would use the state
convention to unite behind one of them.
"I would hope this would be
resolved, come the state convention in May," Strine said.
The Democrats have two
candidates in the insurance commissioner field -- Matthew P. Denn, a
lawyer who was the counsel to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, and Karen Weldin
Stewart, the party's candidate in 2000. They appear committed to
taking their campaigns to a primary in September to settle their
Cragg called on the
Brandywine Hundred Republicans to head off a similar showdown by
solidifying behind one candidate and preserving the nomination for
the region. Clearly he thought he should be that candidate.
"I have to give Dave the
opportunity to make the right decision for the party," Cragg said.
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