Simpler to press for fiscal reforms in bid for second term as State Treasurer

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Good morning,

Last week Ken Simpler quietly announced he will seek re-election as Delaware’s State Treasurer.

“I believe Delaware can be the best state in the nation in managing our finances and creating value. The pieces are in place for a powerful series of reforms that would put Delaware on a sound fiscal footing for the next generation and create incentives for us to measure performance and continuously get better. I will be advocating strongly for those reforms, ”Simpler stated in the announcement.

“We look forward to a robust campaign, listening to Delawareans and spreading our message of making Delaware the First State in finance.”

Simpler is one of two Republican statewide officeholders and came into office after a bruising Democratic primary that followed the turbulent first term of his predecessor Chip Flowers. Flowers clashed often with the administration of fellow Democrat, Gov. Jack Markell as well as legislators. It got ugly at times.

Flowers sought to expand the reach of the office, with Simpler sticking to the basics of the office. Flowers has since moved to Massachusetts.

Simpler, meanwhile, has posted a quarterly newsletter that outlines his thoughts on the state’s fiscal policy. He has held out the possibility of a “grand bargain” between the parties that would provide a long-term fix to the state’s structural budget deficit.

Simpler, who received a degree of bipartisan support in his race for State Treasurer, is not considered a shoo-in for a second term, given the voter registration advantage of Democrats.

At the same time, he is running in a year without a presidential election and might be able to exploit any enthusiasm gap among Democrats.

Many Republicans, uncomfortable with the current “party of no,” would like to see Simpler run for governor in 2020 Winning a second term as State Treasurer would give him a leg up in a match-up with Gov. John Carney.

They envision a scenario where Simpler could emerge as a governor in the mold of Maryland Republican Larry Hogan, who works with Democrats and steers clear of the toxic swamp in nearby D.C.

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