At the federal level, in Delaware, Senator Tom Carper (D) won a decisive victory over his Republican opponent, Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett. Carper received roughly 60 percent of the vote to Arlett’s 38 percent. Two third party candidates each received a percentage. In the race for Delaware’s lone Congressional seat, incumbent Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester beat Republican Scott Walker with 64 percent of the vote.
Nationally, the Democrats won a decisive victory by retaking the United States House of Representatives. The Republican Party retained the majority in the United States Senate, having reached 51 confirmed seats. However there are two races yet to be decided, Mississippi and Florida, so whether their majority ends up being 53-47 or 51-49 remains to be seen.
As of this writing, there are 10 undecided House races spread among California, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Texas and Maine. Where confirmed results are concerned, the Democrats have picked up 32 seats so far, for a current majority of 227 to 199.
In the Senate, following the announcement on November 12 that Kyrsten Sinema (D) defeated Martha McSally (R) to succeed Senator Jeff Flake (R), the Republican Senate majority is now 52 Republicans to 47 Democrats. With the Florida race between outgoing Governor Rick Scott (R) and incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D) still undecided, and a Mississippi special election between appointed/incumbent Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy (D) to replace Thad Cochran (R) coming on November 27, the Democrats could get back to their pre-election number of 49 seats.
On the ballot this year were three statewide races: attorney general, state treasurer and state auditor. Going into election day, two out of three of those offices were held by Republicans, starting in January, all three will be occupied by Democrats.
In the race for attorney general, former New Castle County chief administrative officer and past chief deputy attorney general Kathleen Jennings emerged from a four-candidate field in the primary with a convincing 57 percent of the vote to face Republican candidate Bernard Pepukayi. In the general election, Ms. Jennings took 61 percent of the vote.
In the state treasurer’s race, incumbent Republican Ken Simpler lost to first-time Democratic candidate Colleen Davis. Many observers had viewed Mr. Simpler as a future gubernatorial candidate. Ms. Davis received 52 percent of the vote to Simpler’s 46 percent. A third party candidate, David Chandler received the remaining roughly 2 percent.
Rehoboth Beach Commissioner and previous lieutenant governor candidate Kathy McGuiness (D) defeated James Spadola (R) to succeed Tom Wagner (R) as state auditor. Tom Wagner is retiring after nearly three decades in office. McGuiness emerged from a hotly contested primary versus former deputy auditor Kathleen Davies and former legislator Dennis E. WIlliams with 42 percent of the vote to Ms. Davies’ 35 percent and Mr. Williams 23 percent.
Delaware General Assembly
Two members of the Republican leadership in the General Assembly were defeated in hard fought races. Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) lost to first time candidate and Brandywine School District educator, Laura Viviana Sturgeon (D-Sharpley). Lavelle began his career in public office in 2000 when he was elected to the Delaware House of Representatives. House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson (R-Fairthorne) lost to former Deputy Attorney General Krista Griffith (D-Fairfax). Hudson had served in the House since 1992. These two defeats change the composition of the Senate and House to 12-9 (Democrat to Republican) and 26 - 15 (Democrat to Republican) respectively.
On the day following the election, the caucuses and chambers selected leadership:
In the House, Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) and Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Delaware City) will continue in their roles. Representative Larry Mitchell (D-Elsmere) will be the new House Majority Whip. Danny Short (R-Seaford) will continue as House Minority Leader while Representative Tim Dukes (R-Laurel) will take over the House Minority Whip position.
In the Senate, David McBride (D-Hawks Nest) will continue as President Pro Tem, Nicole Poore (D-St. Georges) will take on the mantle of Senate Majority Leader and Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) will serve as the Senate Majority Whip. The new Senate Minority Leader will be Senator Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View) and the Senate Minority Whip will be Catherine Cloutier (R-Heather Woods).
Committee appointments for the 150th General Assembly are pending.
There are a considerable number of new members, with the exceptions of Sturgeon and Griffith, this is due to retirements. The new members of the Senate and House, who will be sworn in at the outset of the 150th General Assembly in January, are as follows:
District 2 Darius Brown Democrat
Darius Brown emerged from a four-way primary to run unopposed in the General Election. In the primary, he garnered 38 percent of the vote defeating former Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings (25%) City Councilman Sam Guy (23%), and former Representative Herman Holloway, Jr. (13%). Mr. Brown previously served on Wilmington City Council from 2012 - 2016.
District 3 Elizabeth Lockman Democrat
Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman entered the race prior to Senator Bob Marshall’s announcement that he would retire. In the primary, she faced Jordan Hines, whom she defeated 56 percent to 44 percent. Ms. Lockman served as vice chair of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and is currently the director of the Parent Advisory Council on Education with the Christina Cultural Arts Center. Her master’s thesis in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware focused on school choice. Education policy will likely be a focus for Senator-Elect Lockman.
District 4 Laura V. Sturgeon Democrat
Senator-Elect Sturgeon is a Brandywine School DIstrict educator, teaching Spanish at Concord High School. Ms. Sturgeon is a board member of the Delaware State Education Association. She resides in North Wilmington in the Sharpley area. After a hard fought race, she defeated the incumbent Senate Minority Whip, Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) 53 percent to 47 percent.
District 17 Trey Paradee Democrat
A small business owner who served in the House of Representatives from 2012 to 2018, Senator-Elect Paradee ran for an open seat vacated by Senator Brian Bushweller (D-Camden-Wyoming). He faced Republican opponent and Camden Mayor Justin King, whom he defeated with 65 percent of the vote to Mayor King’s 35 percent.
District 18 David Wilson Republican
Senator-Elect Wilson served in the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2018. An auctioneer and farmer by profession, Mr. Wilson is well known in Sussex County. He faced Democrat opponent James Purcell in the election, whom he defeated 65 percent to 35 percent.
District 1 Nnamdi Chukwuocha Democrat
Fitzgerald Consulting, Inc. Election Wrap-Up, November 13, 2018 4
Representative-Elect Chukwuocha served on WIlmington City Council from 2012 to 2018. He is a community activist and a poet. He is the son of renowned activist the late William Hicks Anderson. He defeated incumbent Representative Charles Potter (D-Wilmington) in the Democratic Primary 60 percent to 40 percent.
District 3 Sherry D. Walker Democrat
Representative-Elect Dorsey Walker, a former Wilmington City Council member, ran close primary races in 2014 against Senator Bob Marshall in third district and again in 2016 in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, where she came in second among a crowded field. When Representative Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington) announced her intention to retire, Dorsey Walker entered the race. In a three-candidate field, she prevailed with 69 percent over James Miller (24 percent) and Paul Falkowski (7 percent).
District 5 Kendra Johnson Democrat
Representative-Elect Johnson emerged from a three-candidate Democratic primary with nearly 60 percent of the vote. She did not face a general election opponent. She is an executive with Elwyn, where she leads a staff of 200. She will succeed Representative Melanie George Smith (D-Bear), who announced her retirement this past June.
District 7 Ray Siegfried Democrat
In the September 6 primary election, Representative-Elect Siegfried emerged from a five-person field with a narrow victory, earning 28.71 percent versus Larry Lambert (25.45 percent), Joseph Daigle 24.88 percent, Catherine Imburgia (11.29 percent), and Rose Izzo (9.67 percent). In the general election, on November 6, Mr. Siegfried won decisively with 63 percent to Republican Eric Braunstein’s 35 percent and Libertarian Scott Gesty’s roughly 2 percent. Mr. Siegfrfied is a former executive with the Christiana Care Health System. He succeeds Representative Bryon Short (D-Highland Woods), who retired this year.
District 12 Krista Griffith Democrat
Representative-Elect Griffith defeated incumbent House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson (R-Fairthorne) in one of two key upsets this year. Ms. Griffith is a former Deputy Attorney General with the Delaware Department of Justice. After a vigorous effort on Ms. Griffith’s part, she won 53 percent of the vote to Ms. Hudson’s 47 percent. Hudson had served in the General Assembly since 1994 in a district that was once a reliable Republican stronghold.
District 16 Franklin Cooke Democrat
Representative-Elect Cooke, a retired New Castle County Police officer, will succeed Representative J.J. Johnson (D-Swanwyck Estates). Cooke bested two other opponents in the September primary, earning 47 percent of the vote to C. Linwood Jackson’s 27 percent and Jakim Mohammed’s 26 percent. In the general election, Mr. Cooke defeated Republican Albert John Ament with a convincing 85 percent of the vote.
District 17 Melissa Minor-Brown Democrat
Representative-Elect Minor-Brown will succeed Representative Mike Mulrooney (D-New Castle) who retired this year. Ms. Minor Brown is the director of nursing with Five Star Senior Living and a member of the Delaware Medical Reserve Corps. Ms. Minor-Brown emerged from a three-way primary race in September, earning 57 percent of the vote against her opponents Michael Burns (24 percent) and David Roberts (19 percent). She was unopposed in the general election.
District 22 Michael Smith Republican
Representative-Elect Smith will succeed Representative Joe Miro (R-Pike Creek) who retired this year. Smith defeated Republican primary opponent Katherine Beard, garnering 65 percent of the vote. In the general election, he faced Guillermina Gonzalez (D), who ran a vigorous Democratic primary against Renee Taschner. He holds a B.A. and an M.P.A., both from the University of Delaware. Smith previously managed economic development initiatives for the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. In recent years, he has worked as the director of development for the College of Health Sciences at the University of Delaware.
District 29 William Bush Democrat
Representative-Elect William Bush will succeed Senator-Elect Trey Paradee (D-Camden-Wyoming/Dover) in this House seat. Mr. Bush defeated his Republican opponent Robin Hayes, with 58 percent of the vote. He is an attorney who has served as both a legislative attorney for the House Majority Caucus and as counsel to Governor Ruth Ann Minner.
District 30 W. Shannon Morris Republican
Representative-Elect Morris will succeed Representative Bobby Outten (R-Harrington) who retired this year. Mr. Morris defeated Democratic opponent Charles Groce, receiving nearly 65 percent of the vote. Morris is the head of Kent County Code Enforcement.
District 35 Jesse Vanderwende Republican
Representative-Elect Vanderwende will succeed Senator-Elect David Wilson (R-Milford) in the House. A farmer and small businessman, Mr. Vanderwende ran unopposed. He is a board member for the State Fair and a member of the Sussex County Farm Bureau.
District 36 Bryan Shupe Republican
Representative-Elect Shupe will succeed Representative Harvey Kenton (R-Milford) who retired this year. Shupe, who until his election to the House, was the mayor of Milford. He is also a small business owner. When elected in 2014, he was Delaware’s youngest mayor. He is currently 33 years of age. In the general election, Mr. Shupe defeated his Democratic opponent Donald Allen, 65 percent to 35 percent.
New Castle County Government
Two new members were elected to New Castle County Council last Tuesday:
Dave Carter (D), after a hard fought primary against incumbent Bill Powers wherein Carter received a decisive 59 percent of the vote, he faced a Green Party challenger in the general election, Dawn Lentz. Mr. Carter received 83 percent of the vote in the general. He is a retired employee of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, an adjunct professor with the University of Delaware and a noted environmental activist.
Dee Durham (D), in a considerable upset, civic and environmental activist Dee Durham defeated incumbent Fifth District Councilman Bob Weiner (R). Durham received 55 percent of the vote.
City of Wilmington
No city offices were on the ballot this year. However, as Nnamdi Chukwuocha was elected to the State House of Representatives this past Tuesday, Council is currently seeking a replacement for his seat. Under the City Charter, Council is charged with confirming a replacement that to complete his term. Council President Hanifa Shabbazz has appointed a special committee which will review candidates and submit a recommendation to the rest of Council. Applications are due no later than November 21.
Voter Turnout and Registration
Midterm Elections had the highest turnout, as a percentage of registered voters, since 1966. November 6 brought about considerable change, and some uncertainty, as to what lies ahead. Delaware saw turnout of 52 percent, which is high for a midterm election.