Boo: Could be a scary year for incumbents

June 4, 2012

It's apropos that Halloween and Election Day are close together because this year may well end up being a scary – in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” way – for incumbents. People are fed up – in a Network “I'm not going to take this anymore” way – with politics and government.

This is going to be a very interesting year for politics around The Circle.

Three incumbent members of county council are reaching the end of their first terms. So far, Democrat Joan Deaver of Rehoboth Beach in District 3 and Republican Mike Vincent of Seaford in District 1 have opponents, but it's a safe bet someone will also challenge Republican Sam Wilson of Georgetown in District 2.

As of May 31, Vincent had not filed, but he told me on two occasions he plans to run again. Republican Don Ayotte of Georgetown has filed for District 3 against Deaver and Scott Witzke of Laurel has filed to run against Vincent.

Because of the slowdown in the economy, voters can't be too upset with council members about too many land-use decisions although the recent $725,000 insurance settlement may become an issue.

Surely, what will end up as the hot campaign issue will be council's stand on the role of the Sheriff's Office.

Because many people are fed up with the federal government, that feeling tends to trickle down the line to state, county and local elections. It's going to be a great year for challengers.

Incumbents are going to have to work hard this summer and fall to meet and greet people to get out the vote.

Beyond county council, popular Sussex Clerk of the Peace George Parish is stepping down from his seat leaving that row office open. Parish says he may run for county council in 2014. So far, Democrat John Brady – who switched from the Republican Party in 2009 – has filed for the clerk of the peace seat. It was Brady who lost the recorder of deeds office to Scott Dailey in the Republican bloodbath of row offices in the last election. Brady was also register in chancery from 2001 to 2003, an office that no longer exists.

There is buzz around Georgetown that some other prominent names may surface in this race; time will tell. I can't believe that Sussex Republicans won't get someone from their ranks to challenge Brady.

One of the reasons Parish is stepping down is because of his disdain for the new civil union law.

Although his race is not around The Circle, the challenger who has the most potential – and money – to create the most fireworks is Independent Alex Pires of Dewey Beach, who is facing off against U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. Pires has already gone on record that, if elected, he would serve only one term. That's in stark contrast to Carper who was first elected to public office in 1976. He's served three terms as state treasurer, five terms in U.S. Congress, two terms as governor and two terms as a senator. In all, he's won election 12 times over the past 36 years.

  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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