The time has come for voters to decide who they want to send to Dover as their representatives for the upcoming legislative session.
With all eyes on this year’s presidential election, state politics might have fallen off of some voters’ radars in the past few months.
With election day looming ever closer, the time has come upon voters to divert their minds from national politics to decide who they want to send to Dover as their representatives for the upcoming legislative session.
Newcomers from both sides of the aisle are challenging five incumbent senators and 17 incumbent representatives. In total, there are seven races in the state senate and 21 races in the state house, not including those where no one is challenging the current office holder.
Here are some races to keep an eye on:
Sarah McBride (D) vs. Steve Washington (R) in Senate District 1 will make for one of the more historic elections in this cycle. State Senator Harris McDowell, the longest-serving elected official in state history, did not run for re-election, leaving the spot on the Democratic ticket open to newcomers in state politics. Sarah McBride overwhelmingly won the nomination with 91.3% of the vote. If she wins the general election, in this historically Democratic district, she will be the first openly-transgender state official.
While many may consider Delaware a reliably blue state, with polls projecting Joe Biden, John Carney, Lisa Blunt Rochester and Chris Coons to all win in 2020, several majority-Democratic Senate and House districts in Delaware, in the past, have traditionally elected Republicans.
Keep an eye on Senate District 5 and 7, where Democrats Kyle Evans Gay and Spiros Mantzavinos are challenging Republican incumbents Cathy Cloutier and Anthony Delcollo. In both districts, Democrats make up the majority of registered voters.
In several districts, in the primary, Democratic voters decided to give incumbents the boot in favor of newcomers:
In Senate District 5, Marie Pinkney (D) defeated incumbent David McBride by a margin of 282 votes. Larry Lambert (D) in House District 7 defeated incumbent Raymond Seigfried by a margin of 652 votes. Madinah Wilson-Anton (D) in House District 26 defeated incumbent John Viola by only 43 votes. Lastly, Eric Morrison (D) in House District 27 defeated incumbent Earl Jacques Jr. by a margin of 778 votes. Progressive Democrats for Delaware endorsed all four of these candidates, who outseated more traditional, centrist Democrats.
Additionally, if Wilson-Anton wins the general election, she will be the first Muslim state representative elected in Delaware.
One more election to keep in mind is happening in House District 21, with Stephanie Barry (D) facing off against Mike Ramone (R). In 2018, Barry ran against Ramone, the incumbent since 2009, and lost by 409 of the nearly 10,000 votes. Barry started campaigning early in the summer of 2019 for this race with the support of Pike Creek Democrats, advocating for more progressive policies and critiquing Ramone’s voting record.
Not sure where to start in deciding who you want to vote for in the general election? Scroll down for a breakdown by voting district of the contests for the state House and Senate (find out your district here. The districts covered in this article are limited to those in New Castle County):
State Senate Elections
Sarah McBride (D): McBride is running on expanding access to health care, universal paid family and medical leave, increasing the minimum wage, affordable early education, common sense gun safety laws and criminal justice reform, among other progressive causes. McBride currently serves as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. Endorsements include: UD College Democrats, the Human Rights Campaign and Mary Ann’s List.
Steve Washington (R): Washington has worked as an educator for the past 28 years. He wants to improve public education, increase affordable housing and focus on criminal justice reform to employ ex-felons. Washington was appointed to the Delaware State Board of Parole by Gov. John Carney. He is also a part of the Board of Directors for Norfolk State, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education.
Kyle Evans Gay (D): Some of the key issues Gay is running on are increasing access and affordability of health care, prioritizing mental health and addiction services, gun control, justice reform, improving infrastructure, prioritizing the environment, etc. Gay worked in the Delaware Department of Justice and has served in a number of nonprofit roles. Endorsements include: Moms Demand Action, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware and Delaware Stonewall PAC (Political Action Committee).
Cathy Cloutier (R): Cloutier has served the State Senate since 1998. Issues Coutlier highlights on her website include affordable healthcare that protects pre-existing conditions, quality education, zero tolerance for domestic abuse and discrimination, practical gun control laws and good jobs and fair wages. Endorsements include: Delaware AFL-CIO and the National Federation of Independent Business – Delaware. She was rated 42% by the NRA (National Rifle Association) and 100% by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware.
Spiros Mantzavinos (D): Mantzavinos is an adjunct instructor at Wilmington University, owner of a public relations firm and former employee of the State Auditor’s Office. He wants to fight to protect health care, stand up for economic fairness, preserve the environment, focus on schools and be a full-time legislator. Endorsements include: Moms Demand Action, Delaware AFL-CIO, Pete Buttigieg and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.
Anthony Delcollo (R): Delcollo is a practicing lawyer and has been a state senator since 2016. Delcollo highlights three issues on his website: jobs, schools and safety. Endorsements include the NRA and the National Federation of Independent Business – Delaware.
Incumbent David Sokola (D) is running unopposed.
Jack Walsh (D): Since joining the Senate in 2016, Walsh has focused on economic development, workforce issues and animal abuse legislation. His key issues include animal cruelty, consumer protection, education, health and social services and workers’ rights. Endorsements include: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Delaware AFL-CIO and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware.
Todd Ruckle (R): Real estate professional and former Newark city councilman, Ruckle introduces ideas on his website including creating a “new community center concept” and developing “a cruise ship terminal along the Delaware River that could potentially bring millions in revenue and well-paying jobs to Delaware.” Ruckle “believes in personal accountability and would introduce legislation that would prevent any government agency from fining or arresting a person for merely being the owner of that property.”
Incumbent Nicole Poore (D) is running unopposed.
Marie Pinkney (D): Pinkey is a social worker and community advocate. As a state senator, she wants to advocate for a COVID-19 plan that includes a Medicaid buy-in option, and for expanding healthcare and youth services. Endorsements: Moms Demand Action, Progressive Democrats for Delaware and the Working Families Party.
Alexander Homich (R): This candidate has no website to gather information about his platform but has recently added a platform to his Facebook page, which includes sustainability in the workplace, the environment, watersheds, social economic equality at the workplace, education and health insurance.
Bruce Ennis (D): Former police officer and current incumbent of this district, Ennis underscores certain issues on his website including fiscal responsibility, accountability, transparency in government, increasing the livable wage and boosting Delaware’s economy by eliminating regulations/laws that stifle job creation.
Craig Pugh (R): Pugh has participated in Delaware’s commercial fishing, crabbing and oyster industries, and represented Delaware as a legislative proxy at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. His platform includes gun rights, improving education with vocational training and small business growth. Endorsements include: Delaware AFL-CIO, Delaware State Education Association and the NRA.
House of Representatives Elections
Incumbent Nnamdi Chukwuocha (D) is running unopposed.
Incumbent Stephanie Bolden (D) is running unopposed.
Incumbent Sherry Walker (D) is running unopposed.
Gerald Brady (D): Brady is the executive director of the Delaware AFL-CIO and has represented this district since 2006. His agenda includes keeping streets safe, maintaining community health during the pandemic, especially for seniors, and recovering from COVID-19’s economic impact. Endorsements include: Delaware AFL-CIO, Delaware State Education Association and Delaware Stonewall PAC.
Jordan Nally (R): Nally works for JP Morgan Chase and is involved with the nonprofit “Year Up.” Nally is campaigning on promoting business growth in the state, supporting first responders, and making healthcare affordable by bringing a more competitive insurance marketplace to Delaware. Endorsements include: Boots of Recovery. He was rated 92% by the NRA.
Incumbent Kendra Johnson (D) is running unopposed.
Incumbent Debra Heffernan (D) is running unopposed.
Larry Lambert (D): Lambert worked as an art teacher for eight years, then nine as a corporate banker and has held several positions as a community leader. Some of Lambert’s key issues are a COVID-19 plan that has a Medicaid buy-in option, economic opportunity and living minimum wage and providing equal access to education by strengthening the SEED (Student Excellence Equals Degree) scholarship program. Endorsements include: Progressive Democrats for Delaware, Delaware United, Democracy for America, Delaware Sierra Club and the Working Families Party.
James Haubrich (R): Haubrich worked as a self-employed insurance broker. Endorsements include: the Greater Wilmington Insurance Lobby and the New Castle County Police. There is no platform listed on his campaign website.
Scott Gesty (Libertarian Party): Gesty is the vice president of Global Financial Services. Gesty highlights certain issues on his website, including national debt, taxation, education, personal privacy, foreign policy and health care.
Sherae’a Moore (D): Moore has experience as a teacher, policy reformer and legislative staffer. Her priorities include a pandemic readiness and prevention plan, equitable opportunities for students, teachers and schools, expanding access to affordable healthcare and protecting the environment by holding polluters accountable and investing in green spaces. Endorsements include: Senator Chris Coons, the Working Families Party and DelawareCAN Action Fund.
Dan Zitofsky (R): Zitofsky has served in the New York Police Department, the U.S. Navy and in community service positions. His priorities include improving education by giving teachers more autonomy in the classroom, not raising taxes and “re-introduc[ing police] officers to those they serve,” according to his website. Endorsements include: Associated Builders and Contractors, Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, Delaware State Troopers Association and Candlelight Walk for Light.
Debbie Harrington (D): Harrington is a retired U.S. Army colonel, former Deputy Director for the Division for the Visually Impaired and member of several community organizations. Her plans for the ninth district include raising the minimum wage, expanding veteran services, reforming education funding, ensuring universal pre-K and enhancing disability support services. Endorsements include: Gov. John Carney, Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long, the Sierra Club Delaware Chapter, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware and VoteVets.org.
Kevin Hensley (R): Hensely is the incumbent of this office. He is a realtor, active member in several community groups and founding member of the MOT Charter School. His platform includes supporting small business, open government and solving local problems and not supporting “‘tax and spend’ policies and budgets,” according to his website. Endorsements include the NRA, the National Federation of Independent Businesses – Delaware and Delaware State Education Association.
Incumbent Sean Matthews (D) is running unopposed.
Incumbent Jeffrey Spiegelman (R) is running unopposed.
Krista Griffith (D): Griffith is the incumbent of this office, and has had a career as a prosecutor and volunteer with local nonprofits. Her key issues include fostering economic development by supporting business innovation and small business, expanding access to healthcare, especially to those struggling with addiction, and protecting seniors, children and the vulnerable. Endorsements include the Delaware AFL-CIO. She was ranked 0% by the NRA and 96% by Delaware United.
Jeff Cragg (R): Cragg has had 24 years of experience managing insurance companies and he owns a small business. His platform involves providing equal opportunity and better quality of life in the twelfth district and throughout the state. Endorsements include: Delawareright.com.
Incumbent Peter Schwartzkopf (D) is running unopposed.
District 14 is not located in New Castle County.
Valerie Longhurst (D): Longhurst assumed this office in 2005 and is the majority leader of the House. She has pushed for “common sense” gun safety measures in Delaware and legislation to promote women’s equality in the workplace, justice system and healthcare system. Endorsements include: Lilly Ledbetter, national pay equality advocate, Richard Heffron, president of the state Chamber of Commerce and Dave Curran, president of TRI-Supply & Equipment.
Michael Higgin (R): Higgin is the cofounder of a nonprofit organization. Some of his key issues are constitutional preservation, redirecting funds to make higher education affordable, instituting merit pay for educators, environmental protections and safeguarding the Second Amendment.
Amy Merlino (Libertarian Party): This candidate has no website to gather information about her platform.
Incumbent Franklin Cooke Jr. (D) is running unopposed.
Melissa Minor-Brown (D): Minor-Brown assumed this office in 2019. She launched her nursing career at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Elsmere. Important issues to her campaign are raising the minimum wage to $15, affordable healthcare, mental and addiction health services, universal public pre-K and educational equity. Endorsements include: Delaware AFL-CIO and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware. She was rated 17% by the NRA and 100% by Delaware United.
Timothy Collins (Independent, write-in): Among other issues, Collins stands for support for first responders, apprentice programs and stopping crime in the district and “law and order,” according to his website.
Incumbent David Bentz (D) is running unopposed.
Incumbent Kimberly Williams (D) is running unopposed.
District 20 is not located in New Castle County.
Stephanie Barry (D): Barry has volunteered in many different PTAs, served on community association boards and worked with neighbors to curb unwanted local development. She supports protecting the environment, open space and clean water, treating healthcare as a right, expanding access to mental health and addiction services and fighting for equity in neighborhood schools. Endorsements include: Mary Ann’s List and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund. She was rated 0% by both the NRA and Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association.
Michael Ramone (R): Ramone has held this office since 2009 and has owned and operated multiple businesses. As a legislator, he is on the Joint Capital Infrastructure Committee, Education Committee and the Economic Development, Banking, Insurance and Commerce Committee, etc. Endorsements include the Delaware State Education Association and the NRA.
Luann D’Agostino (D): D’Agostino is the founder and former owner of the “Take The Lead” dance studio and has served as both a board and committee member for local civic and dance associations. She supports expanding access to healthcare regardless of pre-existing conditions, reproductive freedom, “common sense” gun legislation and a living wage. Endorsements include: Moms Demand Action, Boots of Recovery, Mary Ann’s List and Delaware Stonewall PAC.
Michael Smith (R): Incumbent Smith was elected to this office in 2018 and for the past six years, has been the director of strategic initiatives and partnerships for the university’s College of Health Sciences. Smith’s legislative record includes sponsoring a senior tax credit bill and sponsoring a bill that provides funding for mental health counselors in elementary schools. Smith was rated 58% by the NRA and 91% by Delaware United.
Incumbent Paul Baumbach (D) is running unopposed.
Edward S. Osienski (D): Osienski assumed this office in 2011 and is currently a business agent for Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 669. Among other committees, he served on the Joint Committee on Capital Improvement, the House Capital Infrastructure Committee and the House Education Committee. Endorsements include the Delaware AFL-CIO. He was rated 0% by the NRA and 100% by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware.
Gregory Wilps (R): Wilps is currently seeking a bachelor’s degree in theology. On his website, he wrote, “As Representative I will serve the people of our state with the same vigor as my faith for God. I believe in strong marriages and healthy families and building a better community.”
Incumbent John Kowalko Jr. (D) is running unopposed.
Madinah Wilson-Anton (D): Wilson-Anton is working as a policy analyst at the Biden Institute while pursuing a master’s degree in urban affairs and public policy. Her platform includes reforming the education funding system to adequately meet student and community needs, making sure that schools are safe by ending “zero-tolerance” policies that begin the school-to-prison pipeline and eliminating disparities in healthcare outcomes. Endorsements include: State Senator Bryan Townsend and Progressive Democrats for Delaware.
Timothy Conrad (R): Conrad has been employed by the university for 25 years in the transportation services department. His platform includes supporting police and first responders and increasing commerce by utilizing the airport located on DuPont Highway. Endorsements include the National Federation of Independent Business.
Eric Morrison (D): Morrison is a former teacher, business consultant and senior business analyst, and now works in human resources project management. His platform includes establishing public pre-K for all students, moving towards tuition-free public colleges and universities and instituting restorative justice practices that acknowledge and support crime victims and rely less on punishment-based practices. Endorsements include: Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of Delaware, the Working Families Party and the Newark Sunrise Movement.
Donald Keister III (R): Keister played baseball at the university and was later drafted by the New York Mets. He currently manages the Fredericksburg Nationals, a class-A minor league team in Virginia. According to an article written by the “Newark Post,” Keister’s platform includes topics such as education, unions, minimum wage and criminal justice reforms.
William Hinds (Libertarian Party): Hinds’ professional experience includes working in the field of information security. Issues pertinent to Hinds’ platform include civil rights, opioid epidemic, economic opportunity, gun rights, health care and education.
Elias Weir (Independent, write-in): This candidate has no website to gather information about his platform.