John Carney
John C. Carney Jr. official portrait 112th Congress.jpg
74th Governor of Delaware
Assumed office
January 17, 2017
LieutenantBethany Hall-Long
Preceded byJack Markell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's at-large district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byMike Castle
Succeeded byLisa Blunt Rochester
24th Lieutenant Governor of Delaware
In office
January 16, 2001 – January 20, 2009
GovernorRuth Ann Minner
Preceded byRuth Ann Minner
Succeeded byMatthew Denn
Personal details
John Charles Carney Jr.

(1956-05-20) May 20, 1956 (age 66)
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Tracey Quillen
Residence(s)Governor's Mansion
EducationDartmouth College (BA)
University of Delaware (MPA)
WebsiteOfficial website

John Charles Carney Jr. (born May 20, 1956) is an American politician and former football coach who is the 74th governor of Delaware, serving since 2017. He is a member of the Democratic Party, and served as the U.S. representative for Delaware's at-large congressional district from 2011 to 2017. Carney was also the 24th lieutenant governor of Delaware from 2001 to 2009 and served as Delaware's secretary of finance. He first unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 2008, losing to Jack Markell. He ran for governor again in 2016 and won, succeeding Markell, who was term-limited. He was reelected in 2020, defeating Republican Julianne Murray with 59.5% of the vote.

Early life

Carney was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and raised in Claymont, the second of nine children of Ann Marie (née Buckley) and John Charles "Jack" Carney (1925-2014).[1] Both his parents were educators.[2] His great-grandparents immigrated from Ireland.[3] Carney was quarterback of the 1973 state championship St. Mark's High School football team, and earned All-Ivy League and Most Valuable Player honors in football at Dartmouth College, from which he graduated in 1978. While a student at Dartmouth, he joined the local Beta Alpha Omega fraternity. He later coached freshman football at the University of Delaware, while earning his master's degree in public administration.[4][5]

Early political career

Carney has served as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of New Castle County and as Secretary of Finance and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Tom Carper.

Lieutenant Governor of Delaware

Carney giving a speech, 2005
Carney giving a speech, 2005

He was first elected Lieutenant Governor of Delaware in 2000 and served from January 16, 2001 until January 20, 2009.

As Lieutenant Governor Carney presided over the Delaware State Senate and chaired the Board of Pardons. He was chairman of the Delaware Health Care Commission, the Interagency Council on Adult Literacy, the Criminal Justice Council, the Center for Education Technology, and the Livable Delaware Advisory Council. In 2002 he launched the education initiative "Models of Excellence in Education" to identify practices in schools that have raised student achievement. Carney was also selected by other Lieutenant Governors as chairman of the National Lieutenant Governors Association from July 2004 to July 2005.

Carney has long been an advocate for wellness issues in Delaware, sponsoring "BeHealthy Delaware" and "The Lt. Governor's Challenge" to encourage Delawareans to be more active and address the State's high rate of chronic diseases. He fought for Delaware's public smoking ban to improve health, cut cancer rates, and discourage teens from starting to smoke.

After completing his tenure as lieutenant governor in 2009, Carney served as president and chief operating officer of Transformative Technologies, which is investing in the DelaWind project, to bring offshore wind turbine construction to Delaware.[6] He planned to step down in early 2010 to concentrate on his U.S. House campaign.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives



See also: 2010 United States House of Representatives election in Delaware

Carney was the Democratic nominee for Delaware's at-large seat in the United States House of Representatives in 2010. He faced Republican Glen Urquhart, Independent Party of Delaware nominee Earl R. Lofland, Libertarian Brent A. Wangen, and Blue Enigma Party nominee Jeffrey Brown. The seat had been held since 1993 by Republican Michael Castle, who declined to seek re-election to the House in order to run for the U.S. Senate seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden. In the first week of October, Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Poll released the results of its opinion research, showing Carney with a 15-point advantage over Urquhart, 51%-36%; well ahead in New Castle County (56-32) but running even with Urquhart (43-43) in the downstate counties of Kent and Sussex.[8] Days before the election, a second Fairleigh Dickinson poll showed Carney leading by 17 percentage points, 53% to 36% among likely voters.[9]

Carney won the seat by 16 points, 57%-41%, and took office on January 3, 2011. His victory was one of the three seats gained by the Democrats in a year where they suffered a net loss of 63 seats to the Republicans.


See also: 2012 United States House of Representatives election in Delaware

In his bid for a second term, Carney faced Republican Tom Kovach, the President of the New Castle County Council, and two minor candidates. In a debate with Kovach, Carney stated, "I will continue to do in Washington what I did in Delaware: work across the aisle to get things done. I learned early on that compromise is part of life." Speaking on the Affordable Care Act (commonly called Obamacare), Carney stated that it "is not perfect" but that it is the "only chance we have to get costs under control."[10] Carney was re-elected in a landslide, with 64% of the vote to Kovach's 33%.


See also: 2014 United States House of Representatives election in Delaware

Carney ran for re-election to a third term in 2014. He defeated Republican Rose Izzo by 59% to 37%, with Green nominee Bernie August and Libertarian Scott Gesty taking 2% each.


In 2011, Carney and Illinois Republican Aaron Schock co-sponsored a bill that would use U.S. oil exploration to help fund a five-year federal highway construction project.[11][12]

On April 7, 2014, Carney introduced the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014 (H.R. 4414; 113th Congress) into the House.[13] The bill would exempt expatriate health care plans from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.[14] Carney argued that expatriates, a group that includes businessmen, pilots, and ship captains, usually already have special, high-quality health care plans designed to meet the unique needs of expatriates.[14] Carney said that "expatriate health insurance plans offer high-end, robust coverage to executives and others working outside their home country, giving them access to a global network of health care providers."[14] Carney indicated that requiring American expatriate health care providers to meet the tax and reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act would put them at an unfair competitive disadvantage in comparison to foreign companies offering similar health care plans.[14]

Committee assignments

Governor of Delaware



See also: 2008 Delaware gubernatorial election

Carney at a campaign event, June 23, 2008
Carney at a campaign event, June 23, 2008

Carney sought the Democratic nomination for the office of governor in 2008, as incumbent Governor Ruth Ann Minner was constitutionally barred from seeking a third term. However, despite the backing of most of the party establishment, Carney lost the Democratic primary in an upset by fewer than two thousand votes in a close race to State Treasurer Jack Markell, who went on to win the general election.[15]


See also: 2016 Delaware gubernatorial election

Carney once again sought the Democratic nomination for the office of governor in 2016, as incumbent Governor Jack Markell was constitutionally barred from seeking a third term. Carney won the Democratic primary unopposed and went on to win the general election.[16]


On July 12, 2017, following his signing of Executive Order 11 to reestablish the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, Carney said, "The Juvenile Justice Advisory Group will help us create an environment where all Delaware kids have an opportunity to succeed. This Executive Order will recharge and reenergize the group to find solutions that will work."[17] July 20, Carney vetoed a Delaware House of Representatives bill removing the five-mile radius of Delaware charter schools with enrollment preference and keeping out students in Wilmington, charging it with negatively impacting "some of our most vulnerable students."[18]

On October 13, 2017, in response to President Donald Trump's ending cost-sharing reductions within the American health care system, Carney asserted the choice would lead to "more people being uninsured in our state, which eventually means increased premiums for all of us" and pledged he would work with the state congressional delegation to return the cost-sharing reductions.[19]

In April 2019, Carney pardoned Barry Croft, a Bear resident who had served a three-year sentence for possessing a gun during the commission of a felony. In October 2020, Croft was arrested and federally charged for his involvement in a kidnapping plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The day after Croft's arrest, Carney confirmed the pardon, called the federal charges "disturbing", and said, "This is also another warning sign about the growing threat of violence and radicalization in our politics."[20][21]

On March 12, 2020, one day after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the state, Carney declared a State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat. He has issued a series of declarations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Delaware.

On May 24, 2022, Delaware Gov. John Carney on Tuesday vetoed a bill to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults for recreational use, drawing the wrath of fellow Democrats who have fought for years to make weed legal.[22]

Electoral history

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. The Lieutenant Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January with a four-year term. U.S. Representatives take office January 3 and have a two-year term.

Public offices
Office Type Location Years
Lieutenant Governor Executive Dover January 16, 2001 –
January 18, 2005
Lieutenant Governor Executive Dover January 18, 2005 –
January 20, 2009
Election results
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
2000 Lt. Governor General John Carney Democratic 193,348 62% Dennis J. Rochford Republican 119,943 38%
2004 Lt. Governor General John Carney Democratic 218,272 62% James P. Ursomarso Republican 127,425 36%
2008 Governor Primary John Carney Democratic 36,112 49% Jack Markell Democratic 37,849 51%
2010 U.S. House of Representatives General John Carney Democratic 173,443 57% Glen Urquhart Republican 125,408 41%
2012 U.S. House of Representatives General John Carney Democratic 249,905 64% Tom Kovach Republican 129,749 33%
2014 U.S. House of Representatives General John Carney Democratic 137,251 59% Rose Izzo Republican 85,146 37%
2016 Governor General John Carney Democratic 248,404 58% Colin Bonini Republican 166,852 39%
2020 Governor General John Carney Democratic 292,903 59% Julianne Murray Republican 190,312 39%

Personal life

Carney and his wife, Tracey Quillen Carney, have two children, Sam and Jimmy. They attended Wilmington Friends School. Sam Carney graduated from Clemson University, while Jimmy is a computer science major at Tufts University.[23] In 2015 Sam Carney was named as one of a number of defendants in two separate lawsuits filed by the parents of Tucker Hipps, whose 2014 death allegedly occurred during a fraternity hazing incident.[24][25] The lawsuit was settled in July 2017.[26][27] Criminal charges have never been filed in the case despite there being no statute of limitations in South Carolina.

Carney's nephew is Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O'Neill.


  1. ^ "Obituary for Jack Carney Sr".
  2. ^ "About Governor John Carney". Governor John Carney - State of Delaware. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  3. ^ "John Carney ancestry". Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  4. ^ "John Carney Jr.)". AP Election Guide. National Public radio. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  5. ^ "MPA alumnus John Carney, is Delaware's Congressman-elect to U.S. House of Representatives". University of Delaware School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy. Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  6. ^ Sussex Countian, 1/8/09: "Carney to join energy firm after leaving office"
  7. ^ "TommyWonk". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Poll: Dem leads Republican in open Del. House seat," Huffington Post, Oct. 5, 2010.
  9. ^ "Rare Pickup in House for Democrats," Fairleigh Dickinson's PublicMind Poll, Oct. 29, 2010.
  10. ^ Mace, Ben (October 16, 2012). "Citizens protest; Pires calls Carper corrupt, unfit at Delaware debates". The Dover Post. Dover, DE. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "Lawmakers push for six-year highway bill". The Hill. December 7, 2011. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  12. ^ "Schock gathering support for highway bill". Journal Star. January 17, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  13. ^ "H.R. 4414 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d Kasperowicz, Pete (8 April 2014). "House to pass new, bipartisan ObamaCare tweak". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  15. ^ " - Breaking News - Latest News - Current News". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  16. ^ "The New York Times - Breaking News - Latest News - Current News". Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  17. ^ Governor Carney Signs Executive Order Reestablishing the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) (July 12, 2017)
  18. ^ "Governor Carney Vetoes 5-Mile Radius Legislation that Limits Options for Wilmington Students". July 20, 2017.
  19. ^ "Governor Carney's Statement on President Trump's Decision to End Health Care Cost-Sharing Reductions". October 13, 2017.
  20. ^ "Delaware man accused in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pardoned by Gov. Carney in 2019". KSAZ-TV. October 9, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  21. ^ Parra, Esteban; Wilson, Xerxes (October 9, 2020). "Delaware man charged in Michigan governor kidnap plot was pardoned by Carney last year". Delaware Online. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  22. ^ "Delaware Gov. John Carney vetoes marijuana legalization bill". May 24, 2022.
  23. ^ "Congressman John Carney- Full Biography". WBOC 16. Retrieved 15 Mar 2017.
  24. ^ "Congressman's son named in hazing-death lawsuit". USA Today. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  25. ^ "Rep. Carney's son named in hazing death lawsuit". delawareonline. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  26. ^ "Tucker Hipps' parents settle lawsuit against Clemson, fraternity, 3 members". WYFF. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  27. ^ "Carney settles lawsuit with Hipps family". Delaware State News. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
Political offices Preceded byRuth Ann Minner Lieutenant Governor of Delaware 2001–2009 Succeeded byMatthew Denn Preceded byJack Markell Governor of Delaware 2017–present Incumbent U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byMike Castle Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Delaware's at-large congressional district 2011–2017 Succeeded byLisa Blunt Rochester Party political offices Preceded byJack Markell Democratic nominee for Governor of Delaware 2016, 2020 Most recent U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial) Preceded byKamala Harrisas Vice President Order of precedence of the United States Within Delaware Succeeded byMayor of cityin which event is held Succeeded byOtherwise Nancy Pelosias Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byAlex Padillaas United States Senator of California Order of precedence of the United States Outside Delaware Succeeded byTom Wolfas Governor of Pennsylvania