Tuesday, May 22, 2007

John Carney and Jack Markell: Deal or No Deal?

Is there even a tentative agreement to avert a primary for the Democratic nomination for governor? That depends on what the definition of "is" is.
In the latest version of the deal story, City Council President Ted Blunt is protrayed as having thrown a monkey wrench into the works by refusing to put aside his own ambitions to run for lieutenant governor to allow for a purported deal between John Carney and Jack Markell. But Ted Blunt does not seem inclined to step aside for a deal that has yet to draw much interest from the would be party of the second part. (By the way, WDEL's Alan Loudell in his blog offers some thoughts as to why Jack Markell would not be interested in a deal.)
An interesting twist to the story unfolded at Ted Blunt's announcement on Saturday. As Celia reports, John Carney and his backers skipped the event, while Jack Markell seemed more than happy to attend:
Markell showed up for his announcement, as though it was business as usual and he was paying a courtesy call on a potential running mate, but Carney and other statewide Democratic officeholders did not.
"This is Ted's day. I think we've got two excellent candidates for lieutenant governor. When Matt announces, I'll be there, and I'm delighted to be here today," Markell said.
Will Ted Blunt and his supporters feel slighted by the very public effort to portray Blunt as getting in the way of a deal, real or imagined? One of John Carney's strengths is his ability to tap into the existing structure of the Democratic Party. But making a scapegoat of Ted Blunt could alienate Party leaders in Wilmington, many of whom, as Celia notes, are lining up behind Blunt:
Wilmington is clearly and perhaps defiantly Blunt's base. In addition to Mayor Baker, former Mayor James H. Sills Jr. came to the announcement, and so did most of the City Council members, although the ones who stayed away were notable. There was no sign of Councilman Charles Potter Jr., recently seen at a fund raiser for Denn, or Councilman Theopalis K. Gregory, who doubles as the Wilmington Democratic chair.
By leaning on Blunt to back off, Carney could be foregoing, or at least splitting, the support of much of the Party apparatus in the city. Wilmington provided about 25 percent of the votes in the last Democratic primary for governor in 1992.

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