Friday, July 31, 2020

Race of the Day- Delaware Governor

Delaware Governor

95 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Likely Democrat

I cannot claim to know a whole bunch about what is going on in this race. The Democrat incumbent should win. The state is pretty reliable for his party. The state has not elected a Republican to the post of Governor in 30 years and this cycle will see favorite son Joe Biden at the top of the national ticket. Still, these are pretty unprecedented times in terms of virus concerns, a devastated economy, and lack of confidence in government. Absent any polling data to this point, and still about a month and a half before the primaries in the state are held, I will be extra cautious and categorize this as Likely over Safe. It may very well turn into a complete blowout, but at least a challenger will have a lot to talk about in regards to wanting change.

John Carney's path to the top job in his state was not necessarily an easy one. The Democrat first became Lt. Governor in the year 2000. Eight years later, he was the choice of party insiders for the job as Governor but suffered a surprising primary defeat. He was able to find some solace two years later being elected to Congress from the state at large. Six years after that, when the job of Governor was again available, and with former state Attorney General Beau Biden having passed away, Carney was seen as the easy choice. He would go on to easily defeat Colin Bonini, a state Senator who had run statewide for Treasurer in 2010 by a 58-39 margin. This year, he is facing nominal primary opposition from an African-American opponent.

Four years later, as Carney seeks reelection, Bonini is seeking a rematch. The GOP bench in Delaware is not considered very deep. He is considered a mainstream credible candidate but faces an uphill battle if once again nominated. Bonini has to first get past a Republican primary. He faces five other candidates. Some of them appear to be sort of gadflyish, but fellow State Senator Bryant Richardson is also part of the field and seems to perhaps be to Bonini's right. The winner of the recent statewide Republican convention though, which I imagine was a virtual event, was attorney Julianne Murray. My sense is that conservative activists may feel like they have the most in common with her. For all I know though, one of the candidates I am not even naming here will go on to capture the nomination in September.

Whomever emerges as the Republican challenger will go after Carney as it relates to his stewardship over the state's economy as well as his handling of Covid 19. (Perhaps ironically, it was Carney's statewide "stay at home" order that kept Joe Biden in his basement for several weeks which helped him solidify his current national lead.) While many in the state could be receptive to a change message, especially after decades of one party rule in the Governorship, any Democrat in Delaware will benefit from one of their own being nominated for President for the first time.

Governor races predicted thus far: 
1 D (1 Likely)
0 R

Total with predictions thus far:

21 Democrats (20 holdovers, 1 Likely)
19 Republicans (19 holdovers)


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