Matthew Denn

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Matthew Denn
Matthew Denn.JPG
Attorney General of Delaware
Incumbent
In office
January 6, 2015 - present
Term ends
January 2019
Years in position 0
PartyDemocratic
PredecessorBeau Biden (D)
Compensation
Base salary$145,207
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Next generalNovember 6, 2018
Campaign $$1,545,319
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Lieutenant Governor of Delaware
2009-2015
Delaware Insurance Commissioner
2005 - 2009
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of California-Berkeley
J.D.Yale University Law School
Personal
Date of birthFebruary 9, 1966
Place of birthWilmington, Delaware
Websites
Office website
Campaign website

Matthew Denn is the 45th and current Democratic Attorney General of Delaware. First elected to the position in 2014, Denn was sworn in for a four-year term on January 6, 2015, replacing Beau Biden (D).

Until declaring his candidacy for attorney general, Denn was viewed as a potential successor to Delaware Governor Jack Markell (D), who is term-limited from running for re-election again in 2016. Speculation about Denn's 2014 bid for attorney general began once incumbent Beau Biden (D) decided to forgo a possible third term as attorney general when his seat came up for election 2014 and instead focus on his forthcoming gubernatorial campaign.[1]

With Biden out of the running, Denn was unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the 2014 attorney general primary, and defeated four opponents to win the general election on November 4, 2014.

Before becoming attorney general, Denn served as Lieutenant Governor of Delaware from 2009 to 2015. He was first elected to the position in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012. Denn did not complete his second term as lieutenant governor, resigning in January 2015 to take over the attorney general's office. Had he remained lieutenant governor, Denn would have been ineligible to seek re-election in 2016 because of term limits.[2]

Biography

Denn was born February 9, 1966, in Wilmington, Del., and grew up in suburban Hockessin in New Castle County. He moved to California during high school. A graduate with honors and student body president at the University of California, Berkeley, he received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1991.

Denn worked for two years with Delaware Volunteer Legal Services before entering private practice and becoming a partner with the law firm Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor. In 1998, he was appointed chairman of Delaware's new Child Protection Accountability Commission, and has served on a number of boards and commissions, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Delaware, the Wilmington Civil Rights Commission and the Kutz Home.

Denn has also worked as an adjunct professor at Widener University Law School in the area of constitutional law.[3]

Denn's state executive branch experience predates his election as Attorney General by over a decade. In addition to his six years as lieutenant governor, Denn served as chief legal counsel to then-Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (D) from 2001 to 2003 and was Delaware's Insurance Commissioner from 2005 to 2009. In 2004, Denn was elected to his first and only term as insurance commissioner. He used the office to push for the adoption of new laws restricting credit scoring and unfair cancellation of homeowners insurance as well as limiting increases to insurance rates.[3]

Education

  • Bachelor's degree, University of California at Berkeley
  • J.D., Yale University

Political career

Delaware Attorney General (2015-present)

Denn has served as attorney general since January 6, 2015. He was elected to the office on November 4, 2014.

Delaware Lieutenant Governor (2009-2015)

Denn won election as the Lieutenant Governor of Delaware in 2008, defeating Republican Charlie Copeland. His first term in office, serving alongside Democratic Governor Jack Markell, began January 20, 2009. He was re-elected in 2012, running unopposed in the Democratic primary and defeating Sher Valenzuela (R) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[4] In January 2015, two years before completing his second elected term, Denn resigned from the lieutenant governor's office to assume his new role as Delaware Attorney General.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner (2005-2009)

Denn was elected Delaware Insurance Commissioner in 2004. He defeated Karen Weldin Stewart in the Democratic primary election, and Republican Dave Ennis, who was at the time a member of the Delaware General Assembly from New Castle County, in the general election. He served until 2009, when he began his first term as Lieutenant Governor.

As commissioner, Denn focused on consumer protection, fighting to pass laws restricting credit scoring and unfair cancellation of homeowners insurance, as well as limiting increases to insurance rates for consumers.[3]

Legal Counsel, Office of the Governor (2001-2003)

As Governor Ruth Ann Minner's legal counsel from 2001 through 2003, Denn wrote several of the Governor's major legislative initiatives, such as the Patients Bill of Rights, anti-terrorism legislation, environmental legislation and legislation protecting school teachers from lawsuits. He also represented Minner on a variety of task forces, including the Governor's Strategic Economic Council and the Governor's Cancer Task Force.[3]

Elections

2014

See also: Delaware attorney general election, 2014

Denn ran for election to the office of Delaware Attorney General in 2014.[2] He was unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the primary. The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Results

General election
Attorney General of Delaware, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMatthew Denn 52.8% 121,410
     Republican Ted Kittila 39.2% 90,257
     Green Catherine Damavandi 4.6% 10,599
     Independent David Graham 2.1% 4,879
     Libertarian John Machurek 1.3% 2,984
Total Votes 230,129
Election Results via Delaware Office of the State Election Commissioner.

Campaign themes

Denn's campaign website listed the following issues for the 2014 race:

Protecting Delaware’s Most Vulnerable Citizens

Prosecuting child predators and others who prey on our most vulnerable citizens, like the elderly and disabled, must be a priority,

Protecting Delawareans from Identity Theft and Other Internet Crimes

As more and more Delawareans are victims of identity theft and data security breaches, we need to update and strengthen Delaware’s laws with respect to the obligation of affected institutions to make things right when they allow the personal information of Delawareans to be improperly accessed or released.

Providing the Highest Quality Legal Representation to the State

Half of the hundreds of attorneys in the Department of Justice represent the different agencies of the State of Delaware, and providing good, quality legal service to state agencies saves the state money and helps these agencies better serve the public.

Reducing Violent Crime Part II: Addressing its Underlying Causes

Earlier, I released my seven-point plan for dealing with our state’s violent crime and homicide problem through traditional law enforcement means that have shown immediate success when employed in other states and cities. That plan is part of the solution to our state’s violent crime problem. But if we are to successfully address violent crime in the long run, we also need to address some of the underlying causes of criminal activity much more aggressively than we have in the past. Few of these efforts can be pursued unilaterally by the Attorney General, but the Attorney General has a critical role to play in advocating public and private funding for these efforts, and in bringing people and organizations together to pursue them.

Reducing Violent Crime, Part I: Seven Steps To Crack Down On Criminals

There are a variety of crime challenges facing the State of Delaware, but the single most acute problem is that too many people in our state are being killed. In 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, the homicide rate in our state steadily increased, at the same time that homicide rates in most states around the country were dropping.[1] The rate of homicides in 2014 suggests that this may be one of Delaware’s most violent years in recent memory.

There are two parts to addressing our state’s violent crime problem. One part involves better dealing with some of the underlying causes of violent crime: our high rates of substance abuse, the high recidivism rate among inmates who are released from our prisons, the absence of adequate after-school and summer programs for our youth, and the overall quality of the educational and early childhood programs that we provide to our children. Over the long term, our improvement in these areas will have a significant impact on our crime rates in Delaware – and I will have more to say about each during this campaign.

But there is also a law enforcement component to reducing violent crime, and Delaware has substantial room to improve in that area. As the highest ranking and most visible law enforcement official in the state, the Attorney General has an important leadership and coordinating role to play in improving law enforcement efforts.

Safer and Better Schools

I want to continue the work that Attorney General Biden and I have started to combat school bullying, and in particular the new problem of cyberbullying.

Stopping Health Care Fraud and Insurance Fraud

Health care fraud and insurance fraud have become more sophisticated, and in order to investigate and prosecute them, the Attorney General’s office needs a greater capacity to take advantage of technology and data.

Strict Enforcement of Delaware’s State Civil Rights Statutes

Delaware has its own state civil rights statutes, which in some cases provide Delawareans with more protections than federal civil rights statutes. [5]

—Matthew Denn's campaign website, (2014), [6]

Debates

Debate media

October 15 debate
October 15 debate

Matthew Denn (D), Ted Kittila (R), Catherine Damavandi (G) and David Graham (I) discussed the state's heroin problem and their proposals for strengthening the office during a debate at Widener University Law School. Kittila and Damavandi agreed that the attorney general's office should target high-level dealers in the state to deal with the drug's growing use. Graham brought up a family member struggling with heroin addiction when bringing up the need for rehabilitation programs. Denn also argued on behalf of treatment programs that could stem the supply side of the problem.[7]

The candidates were asked to assign themes to their campaigns or potential administrations during the debate. Denn spoke about the need to improve the efficiency of the office while focusing on violent crimes. Kittila suggested that the office needed to reclaim its role atop the state's legal system. Damavandi stated that her administration would be focused on equal justice for every resident and Graham suggested that leadership and management would be necessary to continue the office's work.[7]

2012

See also: Delaware lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2012

Denn won re-election as Lieutenant Governor of Delaware in 2012. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on September 11, 2012. He defeated Sher Valenzuela (R) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[4] In Delaware, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected on separate tickets in both the primary and general elections.

Lieutenant Governor of Delaware General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMatthew Denn Incumbent 61.6% 238,959
     Republican Sher Valenzuela 37.1% 143,978
     Libertarian Margie Waite-McKeown 1.3% 5,206
Total Votes 388,143
Election Results via Delaware State Board of Elections.


Endorsements

Denn was endorsed by the Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats.[8]

2008

On November 4, 2008, Denn first won election to the lieutenant governorship. He defeated Republican Charlie Copeland and Blue Enigma Party candidate Peter Cullen.[9]

Denn raised $487,648 for his campaign. Copeland collected $555,874 in donations and Cullen reported $0 in donations.[10]

Delaware Lieutenant Governor, 2008
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party ApprovedaMatthew Denn 61.3%
     Republican Party Charles Copeland 38.7%
     Blue Enigma Party Peter Cullen 0.00% (92 total votes)
Total Votes 386,059

2004

On November 2, 2004, Denn defeated Republican David H. Ennis to become Insurance Commissioner.[11]

Delaware Insurance Commissioner, 2004
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMatthew Denn 52.8% 182,619
     Republican David H. Ennis 47.2% 163,027
Total Votes 345,646

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Denn is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Denn raised a total of $1,545,319 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 8, 2013.[12]

Matthew Denn's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Lieutenant Governor of Delaware Won $325,688
2010 Lieutenant Governor of Delaware Not up for election $45,523
2008 Lieutenant Governor of Delaware Won $487,648
2006 Delaware Insurance Commissioner Not up for election $218,098
2004 Delaware Insurance Commissioner Won $468,362
Grand Total Raised $1,545,319

2012

Denn won re-election to the position of Lieutenant Governor of Delaware in 2012. During that election cycle, Denn raised a total of $325,688.

2008

In 2008, when Denn first won election, he collected $487,648 in donations.[13] In Delaware, campaign finance laws limit single contributions to a statewide candidate to $1,200 per election period.[14]

The following organizations donated the maximum $1,200 in 2008:

  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  • United Distributors of Delaware
  • Valero Energy
  • Local 451 PAC
  • Westmont Associates, Inc.
  • Chateau Orleans
  • Silver Lake Office Plaza II

The following individuals donated the maximum $1,200 in 2008:

  • Robert Lewin
  • Wendi Haas
  • Jacqueline Miceli
  • Amy Kiefer
  • Zoe Roa
  • Brian Schultz
  • Rosalie Ableman
  • Gilbert Shelsby
  • Jay Eisenhofer
  • Bifferato Gentilotti
  • Paul Diconsiglio
  • Gary Hindes
  • Bruce Stargatt

2004 and 2008

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Matthew Denn's donors each year.[15] Click [show] for more information.


Personal

Denn lives in the North Star area with his wife, Michele, and twin children, Zachary and Adam.[3]

Recent news

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Contact information

Delaware

102 W. Water Street
Dover, DE 19904

Criminal Division: 302-739-4211
Civil Division: 302-739-7641
Toll Free Phone: 302-739-1545
Fax: 302-739-7652
E-mail: Attorney.General@State.DE.US

Online comments/suggestion form

See also

External links

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References

Political offices
Preceded by
Beau Biden (D)
Attorney General of Delaware
2015 -
Succeeded by
NA
Preceded by
John C. Carney, Jr. (D)
Lieutenant Governor of Delaware
2009 - 2015
Succeeded by
NA