Delaware Gov: Is Bill Lee a "terrible candidate?"

Commenter Benjamin offered a insightful response to something I wrote a few days ago about the Delaware gubernatorial race: With all due respect, I think ...
by | August 6, 2008

Commenter Benjamin offered a insightful response to something I wrote a few days ago about the Delaware gubernatorial race:

With all due respect, I think you are completely misreading the mood in Delaware right now. The State GOP has completely collapsed and Bill Lee is a terrible candidate - even though he has high name recognition. His 46% were more testament to Minner's weaknesses than his own strengths.

Seeing him completely ridicule himself with his back-and-forth on whether he wants to give illegal immigrants drivers licenses this week was stunning of ineptitude, he has literally said nothing about the issues of the days while both Markell and Carney have been developping long lists of proposals, Obama is big in DE and the state GOP is in disarray because its traditional moderate persona has been destroyed by the juxtaposition with the Bush Presidency.

Markell/Lee is not a race. Carney/Lee a bit more because Minner is really unpopular and Carney was her Lt Gvrnor.

But it is not much of a race right now.

There are lots of points in that comment that deserve some elaboration. Lee really has been running a lackluster campaign -- or, if you want to be generous, he's using a "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes" strategy.

Without any other high-profile candidate, Republicans had to beg Lee to run. Even after he agreed -- and even though he was starting late -- he spent a couple of months doing little but raising money. It would be easy to conclude that his heart isn't really in the campaign.

When he finally began campaigning in late July, the driver's license flub almost immediately put a damper on his candidacy. If you want more detials, they're here.

That said, Benjamin brings up a good point about the Democratic candidates. Back in 2005 and 2006, when SurveyUSA used to produce approval ratings for all 50 governors (those were the days), Gov. Ruth Ann Minner would consistently poll in negative territory. I get the sense that she hasn't recovered since then.

That's a likely liability for Lt. Gov. John Carney, if not in the Democratic primary then in the general election. Hence, the the sentiment that Lee would have a chance only against Carney.

How much of a chance? We'd have a much better sense if someone would commission a poll.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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