Sussex County Republican leaders are throwing support behind Brian Pettyjohn, a write-in candidate for Senate District 19. Pettyjohn’s name will not appear on the Tuesday, Nov. 6 election ballot.
Former Republican nominee Eric Bodenweiser suspended his campaign for personal reasons after winning the Sept. 11 primary against Sen. Joe Booth, R-Georgetown. Bodenweiser's name will not appear on the ballot, said Department of Elections Administrative Director Kenneth McDowell.
Sussex County GOP Spokesman Duke Brooks said Bodenweiser sent an email to GOP Chairman Jerry Woods Oct. 12, announcing he would suspend his campaign. In an Oct. 16 interview on Delaware 105.9, a talk radio station, Brooks said the party is urging voters to write-in Pettyjohn, a Republican and former mayor of Georgetown.
“Just looking at things logically, it’s very difficult to be behind a candidate who for personal reasons has made a decision to suspend his campaign,” Brook said. “He can’t be forced to get out and campaign. He cannot be forced really to do anything.”
Brooks said the committee conducted an email poll of about 90 executive committee members. “We got overwhelming support and response for the committee to support the write-in candidacy of Brian Pettyjohn,” he said.
In an Oct. 16 press release, Chairman of the Republican State Committee of Delaware John Sigler supported the committee’s decision.
"I hope every Republican, Democrat and Independent voter will take the time to get to know Brian better over the next few weeks. He is a unique and dynamic leader who will offer the citizens of the 19th Senate District the solid leadership they deserve,” Sigler said.
Only Democrat Jane Hovington will appear on the general election ballot. Absentee ballots that have already been mailed to the Department of Elections cannot be changed, Brooks said.
Bodenweiser has not returned calls or email for comment on withdrawing from the race.
Bodenweiser's brother, Paul Bodenweiser, issued disparaging remarks about Bodenweiser Oct. 13, on his website, bodenweiser.com.
In the post, Paul Bodenweiser said he spoke with a Detective King about his brother, and he gives the phone number to State Police Troop 4 in Georgetown.
In an email, Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack said, "As with any investigation that the State Police may or may not be conducting, I can neither confirm nor deny any criminal investigation that may be ongoing as to not compromise the integrity of any interviews or investigative measures utilized to thoroughly and comprehensively investigate any crime."
“We certainly wish Eric the best,” Brooks said.