- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The two Republican candidates for Delaware state treasurer called Thursday for incumbent Democrat Chip Flowers to resign after his former deputy accused him of harassment.

GOP candidates Ken Simpler and Sher Valenzuela issued statements saying Flowers’ treatment of women is unacceptable and that his personal conduct has undermined respect for the treasurer’s office.

Flowers refused to comment on the calls for his resignation.

“It’s time for a grown-up conversation about the future of the Treasury, and Chip Flowers needs to remove himself from that conversation,” said Simpler. “He’s wasted his chance, and I have to wonder who is watching our portfolio while Mr. Flowers is consumed by yet another scandal.”

Valenzuela said Flowers has shown a pattern of abuse toward women, calling his conduct “sickening.”

Flowers was the subject of domestic violence allegations by former girlfriends in 2004 and 2006. In one case, a judge declined to enter a restraining order against him. In the other, he was acquitted by a jury.

On Wednesday, Dover police said they were investigating a harassment complaint filed against Flowers by his former deputy treasurer, Erika Benner. The complaint stems from an encounter between Flowers and Benner’s 16-year-old son as the treasurer was waiting to participate in a Fourth of July parade in Dover.

According to the complaint, Flowers told Benner that if her son approached him again, he would have to defend himself with a gun. Flowers, who is black, claims Benner’s son threatened him, using a racial slur. Benner and her son are white. Benner said she didn’t hear any threat or slur from her son and says Flowers has continued to call her and text her, despite being told to stop.

In an incident report, police say Benner reported that she and Flowers had a romantic relationship that ended in 2012 and was physical at times. Benner on Wednesday denied having a romantic relationship with Flowers.

Benner resigned last year after repeatedly misusing her state credit card. She and Flowers also came under scrutiny for expenses they incurred during a 2012 trip to Alaska, which resulted in reimbursements by both to the state.

Flowers’ opponent in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, Sean Barney, did not immediately return repeated telephone calls seeking comment Thursday.

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