State Treasurer Colleen Davis launched a campaign for Delaware’s lone congressional seat on Wednesday.
On the campaign’s website, Davis stressed her working-class roots and accomplishments as treasurer. She also launched a fund-raising effort. Davis is a former financial consultant and a long-time resident of Sussex County who lives in Dagsboro with her husband and family.
As treasurer, Davis has championed Delaware EARNS, a retirement savings program for those working at employers that do not offer the benefit.
Davis will vie for the seat on the Democratic ticket with State Sen Sarah McBride of Wilmington for the post to be vacated by Lisa Blunt Rochester, who is seeking the Senate seat held by Tom Carper. Carper, in his 70s, decided against seeking another term and quickly threws his support behind Blunt Rochester.
Minus popular Blunt Rochester, the congressional race could end up with a crowded field with no clear frontrunner.
Eugene Young, Delaware State House Authority Director and a former candidate for Wilmington mayor has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate, scheduled a press conference on July 24 to announce his future plans.
On the Republican side, three-time congressional candidate Lee Murphy is running again. Murphy, an actor and retired railroad conductor comes with a labor background not usually seen among Republicans and recently announced he was walking with picket line in the screen actors strike. On other issues, he sides with more conservative Republicans on economic issues.
The state treasurer’s post has been a steppingstone to higher office in Delaware, with Carper and former governor and current U.S. Ambassador Jack Markell among its alumni.
Davis was elected treasurer in a blue wave election that ousted highly regared Republican Ken Simpler, who returned to the private sector.
Simpler had been mentioned as a Republican hopeful for higher office. The GOP currently holds no statewide offices. Among his accomplishments was working with Democrats on “budget smoothing,” a strategy that sets asides funds for periods when revenues drop.
The approach has not been popular among some in the growing Democratic progressive wing in the Legislature, leading to a constitutional amendment embedding the approach going nowhere. Gov. John Carney has been successful in getting funds set aside in past budgets.
Davis avoided the controversies of fellow Sussex resident state Auditor Kathy McGuiness. McGuiness ended up in legal turmoil over allegations of nepotism and other misdeeds with the former Rehoboth Beach commissioner convicted of misdemeanor charges that are now being appealed. Prior to her legal problems, McGuiness had been mentioned as a candidate for higher office.
McGuiness lost the 2022 Democratic primary to Hockessin attorney Lydia York, who now holds that office.
Davis did not attempt to expand the scope of the treasurer’s office or take on the current administration of Gov. John Carney. That approach was attempted by Democrat Chip Flowers, who finished his term and moved out of state after clashing with the Markell administration.
The controversy paved the way for Simpler to win one term in a state where GOP registrations are outnumbered by those of Demorats.