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Democratic Rep. John Carney Wins Delaware Governor’s Race

Rep. John Carney keeps the Delaware governorship in Democratic hands. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. John Carney keeps the Delaware governorship in Democratic hands. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. John Carney has defeated Republican state Sen. Colin Bonini in Delaware’s gubernatorial race, The Associated Press projects.

Carney led Bonini 49.7 percent to 48.3 percent with 0.93 percent of precincts reporting. 

[Election Results 2016]

Carney will succeed Democratic Gov. Jack Markell who was term-limited.

The win ensures that the Democrats’ gubernatorial winning streak in Delaware continues. Democrats have now won seven straight races since Thomas R. Carper’s win in 1992. (Carper is now the state’s senior senator.)

Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Safe Democrat by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. 

[Delaware Rep. John Carney Running for Governor]

In contrast to the three presidential debates, Carney and Bonini were friendly during an Oct. 19 debate, according to local reports. But their policy differences were on full display, and weeks later, more voters sided with Carney on things like his economic plan.

“The economy for the future is going to be more on small businesses, innovation and that is about creating a climate where businesses can be successful and thrive,” Carney said.

“Government doesn’t create jobs, they create a climate where businesses can be successful,” Carney said. “They fund infrastructure so businesses can get their products to market, they provide us with a university, the talent businesses need. Increasing, it’s about talent and workforce in terms of where the jobs are going to be.”

Carney, who serves on only the Financial Services Committee, doesn’t need the glare of the spotlight to be effective. Through focusing on the decidedly wonky issues of government accounting, housing finance, and fiscal practices, and serving as whip of the New Democrat Coalition, he has made a name for himself as one of the leading moderate Democrats in the House.

[Even in Safe Seats, Candidates Hit the Campaign Trail]

A Delaware native, Carney is one of nine siblings in a family with an athletic bent. He was an All-Ivy League football player at Dartmouth and worked as a sports coach after graduation. While studying for a master’s in public administration at the University of Delaware, he started working as a staff assistant to Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. — who is now the vice president.

He went on to became a deputy chief of staff to Carper during his time as governor. Carper, a former Delaware treasurer, was preoccupied with balance sheets, and in Carney, he found a kindred spirit. Carney served as finance director during Carper’s second term; and served as lieutenant governor from 2001 to 2009.

Carney has continued to associate with notably numerate people as a member of the House. He sits on the Financial Services Committee and belongs to the business-minded New Democrat Coalition. And since his freshman term, he and Ohio Republican James B. Renacci — an accountant — have organized an informal, bipartisan working group with around 20 members.

Over breakfast, members discuss legislative plans covering a wide range of subjects. According to Carney, members are “more moderate, more fiscally responsible, business-oriented.”

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