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Kathy Jennings running for attorney general

Democrat joins growing field for soon-to-be-vacant seat
February 14, 2018

As state prosecutor, in 2013, Kathy Jennings helped then-Attorney General Beau Biden craft the first draft of a piece of gun legislation that limits access to firearms for those who present a danger to themselves or others.

Five years later, Jennings is now one of three Democrats who have announced their candidacy for attorney general and Gov. John Carney is supporting the most recent version of the legislation.

“There’s no question it’s the right bill,” Jennings said Jan. 17.

It’s still early in the 2018 election cycle, but the race for attorney general is shaping up to be the most interesting statewide competition. Attorney General Matt Denn, a Democrat, announced in August he would not run for re-election in 2018. He has held the position since 2015.

In addition to Jennings, Democrats Timothy Mullaney of Dover and LaKresha Roberts and Chris Johnson, both of Wilmington all say they may seek the seat.

Mullaney is a former U.S. marshal and the Department of Justice chief of staff.

Roberts was Delaware chief deputy attorney general before resigning from her position a couple of days after Jennings to pursue the soon-to-be vacant seat. Johnson is an attorney and voting rights advocate who is running on a platform of justice-based reform.

Wilmington Republican Thomas Neuberger has also expressed interest in the seat.

Neuberger is an attorney and is currently representing the widow of Lt. Steven Floyd Sr. and five other prison staff held hostage during a prisoner siege at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in February 2017. Floyd was killed during the siege.

As of Feb. 8, Mullaney was the only person to file election paperwork, which he did Jan. 29.

Jennings, who also served as chief deputy attorney general under former Attorney General Charles Oberly, said she welcomes the field of candidates. It gives everyone an opportunity to focus on the issues, she said.

Jennings said she is in favor of bail reform, because the current cash-based system unfairly targets the poor. She said she’s supports House Bill 204, modernizes pretrial detention and bail by reducing reliance on monetary conditions.

Jennings also said people who are sent to prison need to be equipped to make an honest living after their sentence is up.

Jennings said she is not a proponent of the death penalty, but as attorney general she would be required to enforce the law if it were reinstated in Delaware.

In August 2016, the state Supreme Court ruled Delaware’s capital punishment law is unenforceable because the law, without a unanimous jury’s consent, allows a judge to rule a crime’s aggravating circumstance justifies a death sentence.

In May 2017, a bill reinstating the death penalty passed through the House. House Bill 125 would require that a jury must determine unanimously that at least one statutory aggravating circumstance exists before the death penalty can be imposed.

If the General Assembly chooses to reinstate the death penalty, Jennings said she would recommend narrowly defining what crimes would trigger its use.

“The worst of the worst,” she said.

The deadline for candidates to file for a statewide office and all other offices is noon, Tuesday, July 10.

The statewide primary election is Thursday, Sept. 6. The deadline to register to vote in the primary is Saturday, Aug. 11.

The statewide general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Saturday, Oct. 13.