Flowers Officially Out of Del. Treasurer Race - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Flowers Officially Out of Del. Treasurer Race


DOVER, Del. (AP) - Two weeks after tearfully announcing he was ending his re-election campaign, state treasurer Chip Flowers is officially out of the race.

Elections commissioner Elaine Manlove said Flowers called her and said his withdrawal, which was set to take effect at 4 p.m. Thursday, would stand.

The decision ended any speculation that Flowers, who has had a rocky relationship with the Democratic Party establishment and was the subject of a recent harassment complaint by his former deputy treasurer, might change his mind.

"I'm at peace with it," Flowers said in a telephone interview.

Manlove said elections officials will make changes to ballots. There will be no Democratic primary for treasurer Sept. 9.

Flowers' primary opponent, Sean Barney, will be the Democratic nominee. Barney is a former policy director for Democratic Gov. Jack Markell and former aide to Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Carper.

The Republican primary pits Ken Simpler, chief financial officer for a hotel management company and a former hedge fund executive, against businesswoman Sher Valenzuela.

Flowers had submitted his withdrawal form to the elections commission on Aug. 21 but postdated it. He had hoped to resolve the harassment complaint filed by former deputy treasurer Erika Benner before he officially ended his campaign so that he could leave with his name untarnished.

Flowers met with investigators this week, and Dover police have not yet resolved the complaint.

"I feel comfortable enough today to withdraw," said Flowers, adding that he has provided substantial information to investigators to show that Benner's claims were false. "I feel substantially confident that my name will be cleared."

Dover police spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman said the investigation was still open, and police would make a statement once it is resolved.

Benner's Aug. 7 complaint stemmed from an encounter between Flowers and her 16-year-old son as the treasurer was waiting to participate in a Fourth of July parade in Dover.

According to the initial complaint, Flowers told Benner that if her son approached him again, he would have to defend himself with a gun. Flowers, who is black, claims Benner's son threatened him, using a racial slur. Benner and her son are white.

Benner said she didn't hear any threat or slur from her son and says Flowers has continued to call her and text her, despite being told to stop.

In an incident report, police say Benner reported that she and Flowers had a romantic relationship that ended in 2012 and was physical at times. Benner later denied having a romantic relationship with Flowers.

Benner resigned last year after repeatedly misusing her state credit card. She and Flowers also came under scrutiny for expenses they incurred during a 2012 trip to Alaska, which resulted in reimbursements by both to the state.


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