One is a lawyer and Dover City Council member. The other is a retired Dover Police officer and businessman. Both are hoping to be the Democrat who gets to challenge Republican Sam Chick for the 31st District state representative seat in the Nov. 4 general election.
But first, attorney Sean Lynn and exterminator Ralph Taylor must face each other in the Sept. 9 primary, in which Democrats will choose one to advance in the contest for retiring state Rep. Darryl Scott’s open seat.
“When asked why I’m seeking the office, my answer remains the same,” Lynn said. “I believe in Delaware, the value of teachers in public education, public safety and the knowledge and security inherent in providing a safe home for your family.”
If elected, the 39-year-old said his goals would be protecting and fostering children; ensuring equal opportunity regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation; promoting economic prosperity and job creation; and to act as “a tireless, loud and unapologetic advocate for those I represent.”
Taylor, who retired from the Dover Police Department four years ago, said he is running because he understands the needs of the Dover area, which makes up a large portion of the 31st District.
“As a member of the Dover community for quite a while, I’ve had an opportunity to interact with people,” the 49-year-old said. “I’ve got a good idea of the needs and desires of our community. I’ve got a pulse on our community. It was my desire to be one who would be their voice in the General Assembly, just as one of the common folks.”
Having grown up in the 31st, Lynn said he wants to help make it an attractive environment where businesses would want to move or expand.
“I chose to raise my family here because I believe the people who live here have been the best example and illustration of community that I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “I’m the only candidate for the 31st to be born and bred in Dover, the only one to attend the Capital School District, the only one to reside in old Dover and to be a businessman in downtown Dover.”
Taylor said the economy is the main issue for residents of the district.
“When people work, everything seems to come together. But I’m still running into people who are among the ranks of the unemployed,” he said. “Men and women of all colors are struggling to make ends meet. They’re a proud people who don’t want government handouts. They want to work in this community. With the lack of jobs, they feel they’re at a great disadvantage. ‘Hopeless,’ and ‘helpless’ are the words I’m hearing.”
For Taylor, other issues in the primary include crime, such as the recent uptick in violence in Dover, and the growing homeless population.
“It all kind of goes hand in hand: the joblessness, the homelessness, the crime,” he said. “One is synonymous with the other.”
But Lynn said there’s a fundamental difference between his philosophy and Taylor’s, whose views he said are more akin to those held by Republicans.
“What primary voters are faced with is only one Democratic candidate and that’s me,” he said.
The better candidate
Lynn pointed to his legal training and experience in Dover city government in explaining why he would be the better state representative.
“I’m prepared from the very first day on the job to be a lawmaker,” he said. “I have experience in drafting legislation, together with my familiarity with the Delaware Code, the Delaware Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. I’m the only candidate not only with the practical knowledge of being a lawmaker, but the actual experience of being a lawmaker.”
Taylor, meanwhile, said he would a state representative who has his finger on the pulse of the community.
“I’m just one of the common folk who live here,” he said. “I’m not a polished politician, but I am a leader, one who can build a strong coalition and have people come together for a common goal. I’ve been one who firmly believes that when you live here, you’re a proud member of the community and you and the community are one. I live that every day.”