At 9 a.m.: Day 2 of Public Impeachment Hearings

Listen on WHYY-FM, watch on WHYY-TV or stream online.

Sher Valenzuela throws hat in Del. Treasurer race

 Sher Valenzuela & Ken Simpler are vying for the GOP nomination in Delaware's Treasurer race (Valenzuela and Simpler campaign photos)

Sher Valenzuela & Ken Simpler are vying for the GOP nomination in Delaware's Treasurer race (Valenzuela and Simpler campaign photos)

Sher Valenzuela splashed onto Delaware’s political scene in 2012 when she ran against incumbent Matt Denn for the lieutenant governor’s seat. 

Two years later, the Milford entrepreneur is making headlines again after she filed to run for State Treasurer on the very last day candidates for a statewide office could do so.

“We need to restore some balance of decision-making, we need to restore balance of the parties,” Valenzuela said. “Right now we don’t have that, so we don’t really have a lot of discussion about ways in which to solve, for instance, the issues that we have around job creation, business development and our communities are falling apart.”

Valenzuela’s decision to run came as a surprise to many, but the Milford entrepreneur said it’s something she’s been thinking about for a while. She and her husband own industrial sewing company, First State Manufacturing. 

“When I saw that this office was opening and it directly ties to economic development, which is my passion, I looked at that and thought about this last October,” said Valenzuela, who said she approached Delaware Republican Party Chair Charlie Copeland for some input.

“He talked about the value of a primary and that he would never dismiss the possibility of others coming into the arena that might be looking at the same thing,” recounted Valenzuela. 

This conversation, she said, occurred before Republican candidate for Treasurer Ken Simpler filed to run. But Valenzuela shelved her campaign goals until about six weeks ago when she said some information about Simpler’s background was presented to her. 

“He partnered with a Democrat-elected official’s son and proposed turning part of the Delaware Seashore State Park into an Atlantic City-style casino,” said Valenzuela, who fears the Democrats will use Simpler’s connection to a struggling gambling industry against him.

Valenzuela is also worried about Simpler’s hedge fund management attachment to Citadel, LLC.

“The Democrats hung that around Mitt Romney’s neck – his hedge fund past – and they’re going to use that against Simpler too,” she said. “We might lose our opportunity to take a valued seat in our state government, where we badly need some balance and where we have an opportunity to get balance because it’s not lost on anybody what a disaster the current State Treasurer is, Chip Flowers, and his conduct of running that office.”

Taking all of that into account, Valenzuela said if a “good, conservative” candidate didn’t step up by filing day, she would step forward. 

The Simpler campaign released a statement following Valenzuela’s last minute filing. While he didn’t specifically address Valenzuela’s comments about his background he stated, “My message is clear: a finance job requires a finance professional. I am the only candidate in the field with a proven track record of managing money and running a finance office. “

Simpler has more than two decades of experience in finance, according to his campaign website where he stated, “I am hoping to bring to Delaware’s government the lessons that I have learned over a 20-year career as an investor and a financial officer.”

The winners of both the Democratic and Republican September primaries will battle it out in November’s general election.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.