Delaware Republican voters appear to have chosen Newark resident Ken Simpler, 47, over Milton’s Cheryl “Sher” Valenzuela in statewide primary voting for the office of state treasurer.
As of 10:25 p.m., Sept. 9, he was leading Valenzuela by 13,456 votes to 11,529, according to unofficial results from the office of the state Election Commissioner.
Simpler now will face Democrat Sean Barney and Green Party candidate David Chandler in the Nov. 4 general election.
None of the three general election candidates have held elective office before. Incumbent Chipman L. “Chip” Flowers Jr. bowed out of the race in August after he was accused of harassment by a former deputy treasurer. Those allegations were later discounted by Dover Police.
In considering his victory, Simpler, who is chief financial officer for Rehoboth’s Seaboard Hotels, said, “It’s a good night, I won’t complain.”
Simpler’s campaign manager, Chelsea Fredericks, said the campaign had not heard from Valenzuela, but had listened to her concession speech on a local radio station.
The Dover Post also tried to contact Valenzuela and her husband Eli, but only could reach their voice mails.
Simpler said, “As far as the math looks, we’re in a position to say we’ll be a candidate for state treasurer.”
He said voters understood his concerns about the condition of the state treasurer’s office.
“I can only say the message we carried was fairly discrete and pretty specific, that our state finances require and deserve the attention of a finance professional. And that’s what I am,” he said.
“I’m not a mind reader, but my view of this race and the way I expressed it to voters is that Delawareans were prepared, based on the last three and a half years, to put someone in the officer who was unequivocally qualified to manage a $2 billion portfolio and oversee their finances.”
The campaign was a good one, Simpler added.
“The feedback I received is that we ran a very positive campaign and that we tried to answer all the voters’ questions about this office.”
Barney’s campaign was quick to release a statement following the Republican results.
“Delawareans face a real choice, between Sean Barney's record of mainstream leadership and public service and Ken Simpler’s right-wing approach of comparing seniors on Medicare to bank robbers,” said campaign manager Andrew Wilson.
Wilson said, “Ken Simpler wrote that seniors on Medicare were stealing from drug companies. And Simpler wrote we should make seniors pay more for prescription drugs so drug companies can make higher profits. That sort of Tea Party politics is the last thing we need in Delaware.”