DOVER, Delaware: Three state executive offices are up for election this year in Delaware: governor, lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner. Incumbents are seeking re-election in all three of the races. In Delaware, a primary election is only held if two or more people file for the same office in the same party. The only state executive primary to be held this year in Delaware is the Democraticnomination for insurance commissioner; all other candidates are unopposed in their party’s primary.
Incumbent Jack Markell (D) was first elected in 2008 and is not prevented by term limits from seeking a second term in office. He is unopposed in the primary and will face Republican Jeff Cragg – who is likewise not facing any primary opposition – in the general election in November. Jess McVay was nominated for the position by the Libertarian Party, but he did not file his candidacy.
Markell is in a fairly comfortable position to win re-election. A Democratic incumbent in a heavily Democratic state, he won his election four years ago with 67.5% of the vote and the Washington Post ranks him among the nation’s most popular sitting governors. He begins a one-year term as Chair of the National Governors Association at the end of this week, relieving Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell of his position.
Incumbent Matthew Denn (D) is in his first term and is not prevented by term limits from seeking a second term in office. He is unopposed in the Democratic primary and has drawn two challengers for the general election in November, both of whom are also unopposed in their respective primary races: Republican Sher Valenzuela and Libertarian Margie Waite-McKeown.
Valenzuela was a syndicated columnist, published feature writer for several daily newspapers, a daily editor for Delaware State News and a communications director for IBM before starting, with her husband, First State Manufacturing. On her campaign website, she outlines her “Accelerated solutions for a better Delaware.” She believes over-regulation is controlling the lives of Delaware residents and advocates for reducing the reach of government.
Democratic incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart is seeking re-election as Delaware Insurance Commissioner. She will face Mitch Crane, Paul Gallagher and Dennis Spivack for the Democratic nomination, while Benjamin Mobley is running unopposed in the Republican primary. David R. Eisenhour is also in the race for the Libertarian Party.
Polls earlier this year showed the Democratic race was open, which led three challengers to join the race for the seat. Following Stewart’s official filing in January, next up was Crane on February 8. A former elected judge in Pennsylvania, Crane was regulatory counsel and acting director of consumer services at the Delaware Department of Insurance from 2007 to 2011, leaving after policy disagreements with Stewart.
Crane explained, “She ran as a consumer advocate, which was good then, and then in a year she turned into an insurance industry advocate. I told her if things didn’t change I was going to leave, and I eventually left.”
Filing next was Gallagher on March 6. An insurance executive, Gallagher previously served as President of the Board of Independent Insurance Agents and was an officer of the Independent Insurance Agents Board of Directors for 15 years. He is running on a “10-Point Insurance Improvement Plan” that he says “includes very important changes that are geared to benefit Delaware insurance consumers immediately.”
Last to join the Democratic race was Spivack, who filed on March 26. Spivack, an attorney, states on his campaign website that “health care is a right, not a privilege, and that all Delawareans should have some form of access to health care.” To that end, he says a number of health insurance claims have not been honored but should have been.
“That office needs to be restructured in a way so that it’s open and accessible to the public, and one of the first things I’m going to create is an office of constituent services that is dedicated entirely to Delawareans,” he stated. Spivack previously ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2006.