With the presidential primary and school board elections behind us, attention is turning to state races.
Eight candidates are vying for governor, including Gov. John Carney, who is running for re-election but has opposition in his own party.
Six of the candidates are Republicans, and during the Republican State Convention July 18, the party voted to endorse Seaford lawyer Julianne Murray on its second ballot.
State Sen. Colin Bonini declined to attend the convention, citing health concerns. He was not nominated for an endorsement. David Bosco also declined to be nominated for an endorsement.
The recent pandemic has caused a lot of frustration in both parties, and all candidates oppposing Carney said that their decisions to campaign were partially influenced by Carney’s handling of COVID-19.
Delaware’s state primary is Sept. 15, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Because Delaware has a closed primary, only members of a party may vote in that party’s primary.
Carney, 64, is currently serving in his first term as governor, and he is seeking another four-year term. Carney lives in Wilmington with his wife, Tracey Quillen Carney. They have two sons.
Carney has been heavily involved in government before serving as governor, holding the office of lieutenant governor and U.S. Congressman. He’s also been secretary of finance, deputy chief of staff and chairman of several councils and commissions.
Carney is focused on economic development and making Delaware more competitive with its neighbors and lowering healthcare costs for families.
David Lamar Williams Jr.
David Lamar Williams Jr., 54, moved to Delaware eight years ago and lives with his wife, Angela, in Camden-Wyoming. He has one daughter.
Williams served in the United States Army and has been accountant at KenCrest for nearly 12 years. KenCrest provides services for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Williams also is involved with the Urban League and NAACP Chapter of Central Delaware.
Williams recalled watching the TV and being disappointed in President Donald Trump and his actions during the pandemic, but also in Carney’s response. Williams said he seeks to bring a new progressive perspective to state government and wants to work with state leadership to get it done.
On the Republican side, there are now six candidates, with the withdrawal of business owner Neil Shea.
State Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover, returns as a candidate for governor in 2020. He ran against Carney in the 2016 gubernatorial election.
Bonini, 55, is a resident of Camden where he lives with his wife, Melissa. He was first elected to the Delaware Senate at the age of 29 and has held the seat for 26 years. He is the owner and principal of Alliance Associates LLC, which is a business development and customer service firm.
Bonini describes himself as a stalwart conservative who is dedicated to fighting for his principles. He believes that Carney has mishandled the pandemic. “Because of his policies, Delawareans are facing the negative health effects of COVID-19, and we’re facing a collapsing economy.”
Bonini has committed to making sure businesses are reopened and taking steps to protect vulnerable populations during the pandemic, such as the elderly and those with weak immune systems.
David J. Bosco
David J. Bosco, 48, is a small business owner who lives in Greenwood with his wife Amy and his three children. Bosco works for a local dealership, drives tractor trailers and owns 911 Airsoft in Greenwood.
Bosco has never held elected office, but sees that as part of his appeal to voters. He is also active with his fire company, first volunteering at age 15 in 1987. His work in the fire department has given him perspective on first responders, which he says are underfunded.
The handling of the pandemic by Gov. Carney was cited as his inspiration to run, and he is campaigning on an economic recovery platform. He wants to make home owners aware of the potential dangers of mortgage forbearance during the pandemic, and says he would want to work with credit unions and banks on this issue. “People aren’t looking at the fine print,” he said.
Bosco is also passionate about the Second Amendment and gun rights. “I will help create a program for first-time gun buyers to get a card and learn how to use and store their firearms, all free of charge.” Education about firearm safety and usage will help lower gun fatalities and dispel gun myths, he said.
David C. Graham
David C. Graham, 66, is another returning candidate for governor, having run in 2004, 2008 and 2012. A resident of Smyrna, he is a tax enforcement officer with training and supervisory responsibilities with the Delaware Department of Finance, as well as being a certified C.P.A.
Graham said that he began to have interest in running back in 2000 when he had to go through the Family Court system. “The Family Court system is inefficient and seeks to benefit the lawyers and bureaucrats, not the families it is supposed to serve.”
Graham says a governor needs to have a backbone.
“I’ve been a U.S. Army sergeant, and so I have discipline. This governor does not,” he said. “We’ve had 28 years of Democrat governors. Delaware needs a clean house, starting with the governor’s office.”
Julianne E. Murray
Julianne E. Murray, 50, is a lawyer and law firm administrator who is a managing partner of her firm, Law Offices of Murray, Phillips & Gay in Georgetown and Milford. A resident of Seaford, she lives with her husband.
Murray is deeply concerned about Delaware’s economy. “There’s no growth, it’s receding and we’re chasing businesses out of the state,” she said. “When the state is the biggest employer, that is a problem.” Murray said the economy was already weakened before Carney’s actions and the pandemic exposed how fragile it really is.
Her platform also will focus on rebuilding and education. “If we want to attract businesses and talented people, we need to have higher standards of education so those people will want to come and invest.” Murray said Delaware has the third highest cost in the U.S. per pupil educated, and yet two-thirds of eighth graders are not proficient.
Murray was also concerned about governmental overreach: “We are a regulation-heavy state.”
Carney’s actions were unjustified, and that his behavior has been dictatorial, she said. “People are hungry for change. They’re hungry for someone fresh and new, and who is a political outsider. I think I have the appeal and can cross demographics that no other candidates can.”
State Sen. Bryant Richardson, R-Seaford, 74, is in his second term. He lives with his wife, Carol, and has three children. Richardson has a background in media, starting as a reporter in 1972 and rising to general manager before starting his own publishing company, Morning Star Publications Inc., almost 25 years ago.
Richardson wants jobs to come back to Delaware and is worried about Delaware’s economic prospects. He has told a story about the University of Delaware’s touchscreen technology that enabled smart phones: “They did not protect our intellectual property. The taxpayers helped fund that development, they should be paid back. We only received $1 million, rather than $1 billion we should have.”
As a member of the Joint-Finance Committee, Richardson has taken on the governor’s budgets and interviewed cabinet secretaries. He does not believe that Carney knows what’s best for Delaware, and said outside interests are playing a role in the agenda. “It’ll be four more years of government as usual if Carney is reelected.”
Richardson is also passionate about pro-life positions and said that as governor he would continue fighting for the unborn and the right to life.
Scott Walker, 69, is a resident of Wilmington and has four children. Self-employed since college, Walker has worked in horticulture, serving malls, hotels and restaurants, and was a landlord for 15 years.
He has never held elected office, but he is a perennial candidate, known for his homemade signs that are nailed to trees up and down the state. In 2016 he sought the Democratic nomination for Congress, but was defeated. In 2018, he received the Republican nomination for U.S. House, but lost to current Congresswoman Lisa Rochester.
Walker has concerns about the governor’s actions taken during the pandemic: “There is a grave constitutional crisis that we have never seen since the Civil War here in Delaware. We need leadership that will respect the rights of the people, not bypass the Bill of Rights.”
He wants to challenge Carney and disrupt single party control in Delaware, saying that Carney is simply following other blue states and not showing signs of leadership. “Delawareans are out of work, businesses are closed and people are suffering physically and mentally. It’s Armageddon.”