The Delaware Democratic Party today appealed Friday’s decision by the Court of Chancery to add Brian Pettyjohn to 19th senate district ballots.
The Delaware State Republican Committee on Thursday filed a motion in Chancery to add Pettyjohn’s name to district ballots in Sussex County. The original candidate, Eric Bodenweiser, withdrew from the campaign on Oct. 17th. Bodenweiser was indicted on multiple felony charges, stemming from allegations of sexual conduct with a then-underage male in the 1980s, on Oct. 22nd. The motion, seeking to reverse a decision by Elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove, was granted by Chancellor Leo Strine, shortly before 4pm, Friday. Manlove had refused to put Pettyjohn on the ballot in the 17 election districts comprising the 19th senate district.
In a statement, Delaware GOP Chairman, John Sigler, Esq. said, “I am both shocked and disappointed that the Democrat’s “one-party-rule” over this state would extend to the processes by which we offer the people of Delaware meaningful options in selecting their State Senators. While in the beginning I was willing to believe that Commissioner Manlove was acting in good faith, I am no longer convinced of that fact.”
John Fluharty, Delaware GOP Executive Director, told quadrust.com that the Committee’s attorneys were notified shortly after noon Sunday, by a Delaware Department of Justice attorney, of the Democrat’s intention to file an expedited Motion for Stay with Chancellor Strine, pending the Party’s appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court.
Fluharty also said that there had been “numerous conversations, which occurred Saturday as well as Sunday morning, between lawyers for the Delaware Justice Department and lawyers for the state Democrat Party.” Additionally, Fluharty said that Governor Jack Markell’s (D-DE) counsel was also involved in the discussions at some point.
According to John Brady, Esq., the filing of an appeal does not automatically grant a stay of the original decision in Delaware. He also said that it was unlikely that any further action on this case would occur before Wednesday.
The Delaware Court of Chancery traces its origins to English Common Law and is the First State’s venue for cases at equity. The expertise of the 5-member court and its nearly 3 centuries of precedent are central to Delaware’s reputation as the foremost site of incorporation in the Western World. Its decisions have been reversed on appeal about 12% of the time.