The chairman of the Sussex County Republican Committee, Jerry Wood, will not be seeking a second term in office.
The county GOP office announced Thursday morning that, due to health concerns, Wood has decided to return to private life, but will remain chairman until the Sussex GOP elects a new chairman in March.
In an email to this writer, Bryant Richardson, publisher of the Seaford Star newspaper, and former GOP candidate for the 21st senate district, said, “We will miss his leadership. He was there for me when I needed his support.” Richardson’s sentiments are echoed by Republicans county-wide.
John Sigler, esq., Chairman of the Delaware Republican Party, told rootshed.com that “Jerry has given good service to the Sussex Committee and the State Party. I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.”
The nature of Wood’s health problem has not been revealed.
Wood was elected in March, 2012, when then-Chairman Glen Urquhart stepped down to run for the Delaware 6th senate district. Urquhart was defeated in the March 11th primary by Ernie Lopez, who was elected to the state senate, defeating Democrat Andy Staton, in November.
Wood’s tenure as chairman saw a new state representative district and a new state senate district in Sussex County created by redistricting, a county- and state-level issue involving the county sheriff’s powers, and the withdrawal of Eric Bodenweiser from the 19th senate district election. Bodenweiser defeated incumbent GOP senator Joe Booth in September’s contentious primary, but withdrew in October shortly before he was indicted for felony sexual misconduct, alleged to have occurred over 20 years ago. The former mayor of Georgetown, Brian Pettyjohn, mounted a write-in campaign and was ultimately placed on the ballot in place of Bodenweiser.
Under Wood’s leadership, the GOP retained all Republican-held seats in the county council and in Legislative Hall, and gained both new districts in the county.
The Executive Committee, comprising the 9 representative district chairs and the election district committeepersons, 2 for each of the 7 (or more) election districts in each representative district, will vote in March for a new chairman. The “ExComm” is composed of approximately 140 members.
Although speculation concerning possible candidates for the chairmanship is rife, no clear front-runners, or even formally-declared candidates, have yet emerged.
The writer is the spokesman for the Sussex Republican Committee and was appointed to that position by Chairman Wood in March, 2012.