GEORGETOWN — Rep. Ruth Briggs King, a Republican who has held the 37th District seat since winning a special election in 2009, confirmed Monday that she has initiated an exploratory committee amid rumors of a possible vacancy in the 19th Senatorial District.
Rep. Briggs King said she wants to weigh all options for a run for Senate should the district’s current senator, Brian Pettyjohn, also a Republican, vacate the position he has held since 2012.
“There are rumors that there could be changes, either between redistricting — because some of us weren’t certain, and we’re still not until we vote on Nov. 1, where the new district lines are — then, there has also been rumors that Sen. Pettyjohn could be exploring himself another full-time position or something. We’ve all heard those same rumors,” Rep. Briggs King said.
She added that running for Senate would be a “natural progression.”
“I thought, ‘Well, best be prepared that, if an opportunity does come up, I would like to do that.’ That’s why I said — not knowing what’s what — I would form an exploratory committee because (I’m) feeling certain, after seeing the proposed new lines, I would continue to be in the senatorial district. I am just keeping options open and doors open, based on the same rumors circulating widely in many circles.”
There has been speculation that Sen. Pettyjohn may be leaving the General Assembly for another employment opportunity.
Contacted Monday, the lawmaker declined to comment on his future status in the Senate and Rep. Briggs King’s exploratory committee.
“We’re sort of hearing some of the same drums beating,” said Rep. Briggs King. “Knowing Delaware is a small state, a lot of times where there is smoke, there is fire. I just want to be prepared. I have been through a special election. I was elected under special circumstances. I know how fast and furious a special-election campaign can be, especially if it is before the holidays.”
Rep. Briggs King noted that she joined the General Assembly by winning a September 2009 special election for the vacancy in her district created when Joe Booth moved from the House to the Senate. Mr. Booth had won an earlier special election following the death of Sen. Thurman Adams, who passed away in late June of that year.
“There’s quite a bit of conversation about this in several different circles,” said Rep. Briggs King. “I don’t think there is anything official. There is a lot of speculation and hearsay. I just prefer to wait for the facts. But I want to be prepared for whatever. That is why I went ahead and did that exploratory committee to consider that.”