The election season is upon us with supermarket and online media executive Chris Kenny taking heat from the State Democratic Party.
Kenny is CEO of family-owned Shoprite supermarkets in northern Delaware. Earlier, he bought theTownSquareDelawareandMilfordLivecommunity news websites while also launchingDelawareLive.com.
The Delaware party this week issued a release taking Kenny to task for big campaign contributions.
Tracking the PACS
The information first surfaced in a story fromDelaware Call, a nonprofit website launched in early August that has focused on activity from PACs tied to Republicans.
Dems identified one PAC –A Better Delaware– as donating nearly $180,000.A Better Delaware was formed by Kenny and Ben duPont, co-owner of the DuPont Country Club and son of former Delaware GOP Gov. Pete DuPont. The policy group’s postings paint a grim picture of a Delaware with sky-high taxes and a poor business climate.
A Better Delaware shares many of the economic views of the long-runningCaesar Rodney Institutebut shies away from that group’s climate change obsession.
The PAC money, according to Democrats went to three Republican incumbent senators, Cathy Cloutier, Anthony Delcollo, and Dave Lawson. Cloutier and Delcollo are moderate Republicans. Unlike the Delaware House, tipping the Democrats’. slim majority to the Republican side is possible. Conversely, Democrats hope to widen that margin.
Tipping the Senate
Cloutier’s north Wilmington district has been turning blue since the primary defeat of U.S. Rep. Mike Castle to Christine O’Donnell. Delcollo represents a blue-collar district in Newport-Elsmere-Prices Corner that tossed out a long-time Democratic incumbent four years ago.
Lawson, whose district is in an increasingly red area of Kent County has taken heat for an anti-Islamic stance that’s well outside of the political mainstream in Delaware.
“A Better Delaware isn’t pro-business; it’s anti-worker,” Delaware Democratic Party Chair Erik Raser-Schramm stated in the release. “It is a conservative organization that is desperate to thwart future increases to Delaware’s minimum wage, opposes expanded benefits like paid family leave, and in the state with thelowest tax burden in America, is an advocate for further tax breaks for wealthy corporations that would make it impossible to fund things like education reform properly.”
‘Kenny’s nefarious foray’
Raser-Schramm also stated that “Kenny’s nefarious foray into electioneering isn’t confined to these three races. The K3C PAC, which has spent thousands of dollars on incendiary mailers targeting Kent County Democrats, was seeded with $45,000 from Kenny Family Shoprite stores.”
It should be noted that Democrats have not fully embraced a higher minimum wage. While neighboring Maryland will phase in the higher base wage over the next few years, a similar measure went nowhere, thanks in part to opposition from some in the party that controls both houses.
Zoe Callaway, executive director for A Better Delaware, responded that the “ABD PAC abides by all rules and regulations and are engaging in the same free speech activities that many similar groups that support Democratic candidates have engaged in and continue to engage in, to this day. Their complaint is totally frivolous and wildly hypocritical.”
Democrats had a PAC war of their own in the primary battle for New Castle County Executive.
Incumbent Matt Meyer cried foul when a New Jersey-based PAC tied to unions unhappy with labor negotiations cranked out campaign mailers that claimed the county executive’s actions were reminiscent of those of Donald Trump.
The Meyer-Jones saga
Meyer challenger Maggie Jones went on to lose by a decisive margin despite the mailer attacks. She disappeared from view and dispensed with the norm of gracious concession remarks.
Delcollo also sees campaign literature in his district, complete with grim images that tie him to Trump.
It is worth noting that Kenny has not used the news websites as a megaphone for his causes. None of the digital products offer an opinion page, although guest views are offered.
In fact, TownSqure Delawarewas the first to break the news,with both sides getting their say in the story. In what some would see as an editorial comment, the story did come with a photo of someone with mud on their hands.
Kenny does want to be part of the conversation and has taken the unusual step of launching his ownpersonal websitecomplete with a press release announcement. He also has something known as the Delaware Pigeon text line.
None of this will halt long-running speculation that Kenny harbors loftier ambitions that could include the governor’s office. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.