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Why wait to speculate on Carney’s eventual successor?

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Who will be Delaware’s next governor?

No, not in 2021 from the 2020 elections. Rather in 2025, from the 2024 elections!

Little reason exists now to believe that Gov. John Carney will face serious opposition from either the Republicans or within his own party.

Gov. John Carney being sworn in by former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court Leo Strine Jr.

Carney reportedly does face some of the carping from within his own ranks that he’s not joined the increasingly influential Marxist wing of the Democrat Party that moved the national party so far left.

Yes, of course, the federal races sit atop the ballot, where the congressional seat can be Lisa Blunt Rochester’s as long as she wants it, and likewise for Sen. Tom Carper, who has held office in Delaware since the 1976 elections ““ nearly a half-century ago! 

Sen. Chris Coons is up again in 2020, and that’s a slightly different story. A man who started life as a Republican and announced his conversion in a college newspaper article to “a bearded Marxist” has moved sensibly back towards the center ““ where most Delawareans are politically.

In doing so and becoming a “Senate bridge” in the mold of U.S. Sen. Joe Biden in the middle between the extremes of both parties, he has attracted internecine opposition from one of those pesky Marxist Socialist challengers, Jessica Scarane, 34, a digital strategist, who risks becoming “the Christine O’Donnell” of the emergent Delaware Left, as O’Donnell did with the Tea Party Right vs. Rep. Mike Castle.

And that brings us to Carney, to whom many if not most observers will cede his re-election.

So, the real sport is in watching the positioning to succeed Gov. Carney in 2024. I count about a half-dozen challengers, among them…

  • Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, who realizes her No. 2 position won’t automatically give her the gubernatorial brass ring, as John Carney learned when he lost in his primary bid to Jack Markell in 2008 in Carney’s race to succeed Ruth Ann Minner, before he went on to Congress then back in 2016 to the governor’s role.
  • Insurance Commissioner Trinidad “Trini” Navarro, who comes from a mainstream of the party, having served as a New Castle County policeman (where he was widely known as its media spokesperson) before retiring to be elected sheriff in 2010, re-elected in 2014 and elected insurance commissioner in 2016, and prevailing in two primaries against heavyweight incumbents to
    get it done.
  • Matt Denn, who served as Gov. Jack Markell’s lieutenant governor in his first six years in office, before election in 2014 to attorney general, a job he left in 2018 after one term to focus on family.
  • Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo Strine Jr., who unexpectedly retired early in mid-2019 from the Supreme Court bench to return to private practice.
  • State Sen. Bryan Townsend, 38, who never has been shy about his statewide interests since winning election in 2012.
  • Matt Meyer, who was elected New Castle County Executive in 2016, Delaware’s second largest elected chief executive post, and should win re-election this year, if his 1960s brand of idealism doesn’t burn him out before 2024.

Throw in a few more Democrats for good measure ““ perhaps Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, Delaware State University President Antoine “Tony” Allen, some of the Carper-Markell-Carney cabinet secretaries, and maybe even Lisa Blunt Rochester ““ and 2024 has the potential to be one of those watershed years in Delaware politics, at least on the Democrat side.

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is control of that fabulous patronage machine that is the governorship, which makes being senator or congressman like running a small family business compared to Tony the opportunities in running a corporation like the State of Delaware.

Nothing like a bit of political speculation and handicapping to start the New Year. 

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