Delaware AG Matt Denn not running for re-election

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn has issued a broad subpoena seeking Catholic Diocese of Wilmington records on possible sexual abuse by priest in recent decades. (WHYY, file)

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn has issued a broad subpoena seeking Catholic Diocese of Wilmington records on possible sexual abuse by priest in recent decades. (WHYY, file)

After 14 years in elective office, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn will return to the private sector when his term is over next year.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page Monday afternoon, Denn said it was a “very tough decision” to step away from politics. “I am ready for a change. Although my term does not end for another year and four months, I thought it was responsible to let people know my plans now,” Denn wrote.

He gave two reason for his decision; the first he called a selfish reason. “Politics these days can be grueling, with endless fundraising and traveling and constant attacks, which can be tough on a candidate but are even tougher on his family.”

Denn’s twin sons were born five days before he first took office as Delaware Insurance Commissioner 12 years ago. “Given the time required and the tone involved in politics these days, my boys deserve a change, my wife deserves a change, and I would like a change as well.”

Denn said he also wants to spend more time working to “fundamentally change the lives” of Delaware children. He said as attorney general, he must focus all attention on the day-to-day tasks of running the office, “leaving little time to focus on the big picture.”

He hopes to be able to focus on the bigger picture after leaving office. “I don’t know what I’ll be doing in January 2019, but my  hope is to be doing something in the private sector where I’ll be able to devote part of my time to ensuring that every single kid in our state has a real opportunity to fulfill his or her potential.”

Denn was elected to his current post in 2014. Prior to that, he served for six years as lieutenant governor under then-Gov. Jack Markell. When he was elected as AG in 2014, he still had two years left on his term as lieutenant governor. Because Delaware law did not call for a special election to replace him, the lieutenant governor’s office was vacant for the final two years of Markell’s term. Denn was first elected to public office as insurance commissioner in 2004.

Delaware Democratic Party Chairman Erik Raser-Schramm said he was sad to hear Denn would not seek re-election, but thanked him for announcing his decision so early. “I think it gives interested public servants the opportunity to thoughtfully evaluate what they can bring to the Attorney General’s job, and whether they wish to run for the seat.” 

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