Coming soon: new faces in state offices

Delaware is guaranteed to have new faces in several state and legislative offices after November’s General Election as many have decided to not seek another term.

Among those are the state Auditor of Accounts and state Attorney General’s offices. Additionally, three senators and eight House members will not seek another term, while two additional House members have thrown their hats into the ring for the open senate seats.

In the federal races, only incumbent Sen. Tom Carper currently faces a primary challenger. Kerri Evelyn Harris has filed to challenge Carper for his seat.

U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester did not have a primary challenger as of Friday. In other races, 10 state Senate seats and all state House seats will be on November’s ballot. The deadline for candidates to register is July 10.

In the state Auditor of Accounts office, Republican R. Thomas Wagner Jr. will not seek another term. Democrat Matthew Denn won’t seek another term in the Attorney General’s office.

In a Facebook post on Aug. 28, 2017, Denn wrote that he would not be seeking re-election because, in part, he wanted to devote more time to his family.

“My boys, now 12, arrived five days before I was sworn in as Insurance Commissioner,” he wrote. “I have been immersed in electoral politics since the day they were born. If you do the math, that means my wife soldiered through her first statewide campaign with me while she was pregnant with twins. Given the time required and the tone involved in politics these days, my boys deserve a change, my wife deserves a change, and I would like a change as well.”

Three Democrats – Kathleen Ann Davies, Kathleen K. McGuiness and Dennis E. Williams have filed for Auditor. As of June 29, the state Board of Elections website did not include any Republican challenger for the office.

In the race for Attorney General, four Democrats – Kathleen Jennings, Christopher Johnson, Timothy Mullaney Sr. and Lakresha Roberts are vying for the position. As of June 29, the state Board of Elections website did not include any Republican challenger for the office.

In the legislative races, three state senators, including Majority Leader Rose Henry, D-District 2, Brian Bushweller, D-District 17 and Gary Simpson, R-District 18, have said they will not be seeking another term.

In 1994 Henry was the first African American woman elected to the state Senate. She announced last September that she would not be seeking another term.

As of June 29, three Democrats, Bobbie Cummings, Darius Brown and Samuel Guy had filed to fill the soon to be vacant seat. No Republicans have yet filed for the seat.

Primaries are also in the works for Democrats in Senate District 3. Elizabeth Lockman and Jordan Hines have filed to replace incumbent Democrat Robert Marshall. As of June 29, Marshall had not filed for reelection.

Two Republicans have filed to fill the seat being vacated by Bushweller in District 17. Republicans Donyale Hall and Justin King have filed, as has Democrat Charles Paradee III.

As of June 29, only Republican David Wilson has filed to fill the District 18 seat being vacated by Simpson.

All the other Senate incumbents up for election have filed to keep their seats, according to the state Board of Elections website.

In the House, among the 10 members not seeking reelection is 3rd District Democrat and Speaker Pro Tem Helene Keeley, who was first elected in 1996.

In a statement after Keeley’s announcement, Delaware Democratic Party Chairman Erik Raser-Schramm said the longtime representative will be sorely missed.

“For more than two decades, Helene has fought on the frontlines to reform our criminal justice system while improving public health,” Schramm said. “She was the author of the Medical Marijuana Act and has led the fight to deregulate and potentially legalize it, in large part due to the racial disparities in how marijuana crimes are prosecuted. She also helped strengthen Delaware’s DUI laws and helped create a safe needle exchange program in the City of Wilmington.”

As of June 29, the state Board of Elections still had Keeley as a candidate and in a primary against Sherry Dorsey Walker. No Republican has yet filed for the seat.

Other House members not seeking another term are Melanie George Smith, D-District 5; Bryon Short, D-District 7; James Johnson, D-District 16; Michael Mulrooney, D-District 19, Joseph Miro, R-District 22; Trey Paradee, D-District 29; William Outten, R-District 30; David Wilson, R-District 35; and Harvey Kenton, R-District 36.

Paradee has filed for the 17th District seat being vacated by Bushweller. Wilson has filed for the 18th District Senate seat being vacated by Simpson.

Among the remaining House incumbents, only District 8 Democrat Quinton Johnson and District 32 Democrat Andrea Matthews had not yet filed as of June 29, according to the Board of elections website.

Several incumbents, however, will face primary challengers.

In the race for Mulrooney’s House District 17 seat, three challengers – Melissa Minor-Brown, David Roberts and Michael Burns will face off in a Democratic primary. In District 19, incumbent Democrat Kimberly Williams faces a challenge from Megen O’Donnell.

House District 31 is among the most competitive, with incumbent Democrat Sean Lynn facing a challenge from Ralph Taylor, and Republicans David Levi Anderson and Jean Dowding facing off in a GOP primary.

As of June 29, Democrats will decide primaries in the state Auditor of Accounts office, Attorney General’s office, Senate districts 2 and 3 and House districts, 3, 5, 7, 9, 16, 17, 19 and 22. Republicans, meanwhile, will see primary battles in Senate District 2 and House districts 22, 31 and 35.

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