Fallout from a controversial business trip to Alaska and a very public feud with state government leaders won’t deter Delaware State Treasurer Chip Flowers from running for reelection.
The Democratic incumbent announced his bid today after filing the necessary paperwork and paying the $4,000 filing fee Wednesday.
“Too often in Delaware those who stand for change, they get run out of the state. And I think we have to stop that,” Flowers said, admitting that people have told him he doesn’t stand a chance in September’s primary. “You start doubting yourself. And through faith and prayer, I realized that this is not about winning, it’s about doing the right thing.”
Staying in the ring
For a while, negative attention seemed to follow Flowers at every turn: First, there was the imbroglio surrounding a work trip to Alaska, when Flowers was accused of using his state credit card to extend his vacation.
Flowers maintains he did nothing wrong, but reimbursed the state about $460 to maintain the integrity of the office.
Second, there was a very public battle with the state’s Cash Management Policy Board, many of which are appointees of the governor. Consequently, state lawmakers passed a bill that many said strips the treasurer of investing power. Flowers continues to push for legislation requiring more transparency of cash board members.
“I just want to basically stay in the ring and fight. And I know that I’ve taken some punches and some weren’t really fair. And I know that people are going to look at the $400 mistake I made in Alaska, but I’ve worked hard,” Flowers said.
Touting a $44 million profit under his leadership, Flowers said that over the next six months, he will propose “innovative” ideas that will increase revenue for the state of Delaware. He would not go into specifics, but said that he will introduce a new idea in each month leading up to the primary.
“We’re gonna fight these tax increases and we’re going to keep putting forth ideas that we believe are really going to make Delaware a better place,” he said, referring to Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s proposed 10-cent gas tax on a gallon of gas to fund infrastructure improvements and a $45 annual fee to clean the state’s waterways.
Flowers will face off against Sean Barney, Markell’s former policy director, in the Democratic primary. Flowers said Barney stands for the status quo, defined by Barney as an inactive treasury.
“When you talk about raising people’s taxes and reducing the power of the treasury that’s making money, I think that we’ve lost a little bit of reason here. So it’s time to get back to work, back to common sense,” Flowers said. “You decide, do you want the millions or do you want the tax increases?”
Flowers said that he will run a positive campaign. He loaned his campaign $150,000 of his own money and has raised about $40,000.
The winner of the Democratic primary will go up against Republican investor Ken Simpler in November.