Carney announces he’s running for mayor of Wilmington

Betsy PriceGovernment, Headlines


Gov. John Carney told DETV’s Kerwin Gaines, left, Monday morning that he’s running for mayor of Wilmington.

Gov. John Carney, who leaves office in January after two terms, announced on DETV Monday morning that he is running for mayor of Wilmington.

Carney said he was going to leave the taping at the I.M. Pei building downtown and walk over to file.

He called running for mayor “really a big challenge.”

“I’m really excited about it We’ve got some big issues to deal with for sure,” Carney told DETV’s Ivan Henderson. “But I bring experience I think to the job that’s necessary to get it done and confront those issues and to lift every family, every neighborhood in our city up and be better still in the future.”

Carney plans to have a big public announcement this afternoon.

He will be running against Velda Jones-Potter, a former state treasurer and Wilmington treasurer who ran for mayor in 2020 against Mayor Mike Purzycki and lost. She has been a bitter opponent to Purzycki and his agenda for Delaware’s financial hub and largest city.

“I believe the residents of Wilmington are ready for a leader who genuinely cares and will put their interests first,” Jones-Potter said. “From sponsoring youth sports teams, tutoring students in the FAME Program, the founding Board Member of Eastside Charter School and the Police Athletic League, to public service as State Treasurer, Wilmington Finance Director and City Treasurer, I have demonstrated a sincere commitment to the people of this city.  I look forward to the election and serving as Mayor to improve the quality of life for all people of Wilmington.”

Purzycki is at the end of two terms and is not running again.

Carney, who has been governor, U.S. congressman and lieutenant governor, has lived in Wilmington for 40 years with his wife, Tracey Quillen Carney and their two sons.’

His announcement was not unexpected. Carney had formed a committee to explore the idea months ago.

carney mayor wilmington

Gov. John Carney talked to DETV’s Ivan Henderson after announcing he will run for mayor of Wilmington.

Carney not retiring

Gaines noted that Carney, who is about to turn 68 on May 20, could retire.

“You’re choosing not to do it,” Gaines said. “It seems like there’s a lot more left in the tank.”

“There is a lot more left in the tank and that’s really what it’s all about, the importance of the job,” Carney said, noting he’d been in public service for 30 years.

“I’ve learned a lot and one of the things I’ve learned is that in order for the state of Delaware to be successful, the city of Wilmington has to be successful as a cultural hub and as the business hub,” he said. “That’s just a such an important part of our state.

In order for Wilmington to be successful, every neighborhood has to be strong, he said.

“The families who live there need clean and safe streets. They need good education for their children, and they need affordable housing,” he said. “Those are the things that I’ve been working with with the current administration, the current mayor, as governor. We’ve invested more money in Wilmington than any other governor of housing and education and development, and I want to continue that focus as the next mayor Wilmington.”

Carney said that in his 30 years of public services, he’s learned that elections are more about the people than they are about the candidates.

“And they’re more about the future than they are about the past,” he said. “So we’ll be talking about what we see as the future for the city of Wilmington.”

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He said one of his focuses will continue to be education.

Carney pointed to the creation of the Wilmington Learning Collaborative, a new organization he advocated for years about. It will provide additional resources to elementary schools that are in the city, but under Christina, Red Clay and Brandywine school districts because of the way the city was carved up for desegregation.

“We need to provide additional resources and focus to the children. We know they can do better and do well, and the city depends on those families and their children,” Carney said.

Carney told Gaines and Henderson that he had just attended the 50th reunion of his St. Mark’s High School Class of 1974.

“It also was a reminder that our days are limited, so you’ve got to try and make an impact on the community,” Carney said.

Staff writer Jarek Rutz contributed to this report.

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