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State Sen. Marshall enters race for Wilmington mayor

Delaware Public Media

Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams (D) has another challenger for his office in 2016. It's state Sen. Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington West), who announced his candidacy Thursday.

Marshall has represented his Wilmington-area third district for almost 40 years, and says his work in that role makes him uniquely qualified to run the state's largest city.

"Wilmington is a troubled city without effective, real political leadership. I will lead, and my record in public office clearly demonstrates that I have the ability to persuade, to work with others, and to work out a program that will have this city up again," said Marshall in announcing his candidacy on the Wilmington Riverfront.


Marshall says he respects Mayor Williams, but feels he didn't fulfill campaign promises to stem a rising tide of violence in his first term.


"The mayor did not meet his obligation, and for that reason, I am disappointed. I respect him -- but I am disappointed," saisd Marshall. "He has not performed, and Wilmington needs help. We need a new path forward, we need new political leadership."

Marshall says one thing he'd do differently than Williams is immediately hire an outside leader to oversee the city's police department, rather than a police chief within the force. He says he would fill that police commissioner position with someone that has a record of driving community policing in similar cities. 


Mayor Williams' campaigned in 2012 on finding a police chief from outside of Wilmington, but ultimately hired two chief from within the force during his first term.


This is not Marshall's first bid for the city's highest office. He began a run in 2011, but his 2012 campaign never got off the ground. Instead, he says he chose to stay in the legislature and focus on helping Wilmington through his work there on raising the minimum wage and blue collar job creation.

"In 2015 , looking ahead to 2016, I am in the race to be mayor," said Marshall.

Williams has already begun campaigning for reelection in 2016. Marshall joins a list of challengers that includes City Council president Theo Gregory, two other former City Council members, Norman Griffiths and Kevin Kelley, and Delaware Center for Justice advocacy director Ernest Young. All six candidates are Democrats.

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