Former New Castle County Executive runs for his old office

Tom Gordon is running for election to New Castle County Executive, a position he held for eight years.

Gordon sent out a simple tweet by Twitter to supporters Monday morning:   “friends, today I’m officially announcing my candidacy for New Castle County Executive.”

Gordon joins a race that includes incumbent Paul Clark and Bill Shahan, a longtime employee in the New Castle County Land Use Department.  They will square off in the September 11th Democratic primary.

In an interview with NewsWorks.org, Gordon said he received hundreds of calls of support encouraging him to run.  He also compared the current scenario to what he faced when he first ran for office in 1997.

“We had a plan in ’97 where we held the line on taxes, we reorganized, we focused on core services and we were able to go after new sources of funding,” Gordon said.  He added that on its current course, the county faces a growing shortfall and rising debt, while residents have faced property tax increases and hikes in sewer fees.

Additionally, Gordon plans to deal with a perception regarding land use decisions that “developers control the process.”

Gordon and his former top aide, former Chief Administrative Officer Sherry Freebery, were indicted on racketeering charges in 2004 in a federal case alleging that they utilized county resources for political gain.  The most serious charges were later dropped.  Gordon pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of failing to provide accurate tax information to the government, and received a sentence of one year of probation.

The charges, Gordon said, stemmed from his allowing a county employee to work on political matters during lunch hours.  “I was wrong to let that happen.  I certainly learned from it,” Gordon said.

The 2004 election resulted in former County Council President Chris Coons becoming County Executive.  Clark became County Executive when Coons was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010,

Prior to his election in 1997, Gordon was Chief of the New Castle County Police Department.  He also attempted a political comeback in 2008 by running for his old office.

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