Posted: March 22, 2012


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The Republicans are figuring they can pick up seats in the state Senate. If they do, they will have to give credit where credit is due, namely, to the Democrats.

The Republicans' biggest allies are Democratic redistricting and retirement.

The Democrats, who are in charge of the Senate, drew the lines in the once-a-decade mapmaking to smooth out the district populations and put some of their own in jeopardy. Funny, it was the same Democratic senators who tried but failed to oust Tony de Luca as the president pro tem.

The retirement of George Howard Bunting, a Sussex County Democrat, virtually ensures the Republicans will pick up his district, where Gerald Hocker, a Republican state representative, has been waiting respectfully for Bunting to exit.

Hocker is regarded as such a sure thing, he gives death and taxes pause.

It has been 40 years since the Senate Republicans were in the majority. This election could have them paring away at the Democrats' 14-7 majority and get them oh-so-close to the tipping point.

With so much riding on the Senate races, the other chamber in the Delaware General Assembly has been largely an afterthought. The Democrats in the House of Representatives go into the election with the majority, currently 26-15, and they are expected to come out of it with the majority.

The House Democrats knew what they were doing when they redistricted. The only legislators they tossed together were Republicans.

District Leading Democrats Leading Republicans Rundown
Senate 4th

Northern New Castle County

Mike Katz Greg Lavelle Redistricting knocked Lavelle, the House minority leader, out of his own seat, so he is trying to knock out Katz. With voter registration favoring the Republicans, this is one of the districts they targeted for a pickup
Senate 8th


Dave Sokola Liane Sorenson Redistricting threw Sokola in with Sorenson, the minority whip. Registration leans his way, but it is essentially her old district, making it a battleground
Senate 12th

New Castle-below the canal

  Dori Connor This district is so Democratic, the Democrats regard it as a firewall. That is, if they can find someone to take on Connor, who has survived as a pro-labor Republican
Senate 6th


Bob Frederick

Andy Staton

Ernie Lopez

Glen Urquhart

The lure of a new Senate seat has led to primaries on both sides. Anything goes
Senate 20th

Bethany-Fenwick Island-Millsboro

  Gerald Hocker With the retirement of George Howard Bunting, a Democrat, this looks like one of the easiest Republican pickups ever
House 22nd

Hockessin-Pike Creek Valley

  Nick Manolakos

Joe Miro

Redistricting combined Manolakos and Miro in one of the last surviving Republican districts. May the best Republican win
House 11th

Southern New Castle County-northern Kent County

Lynne Newlin   A new district where both parties are trying to come to terms with its split county personality
House 20th


Marie Mayor Steve Smyk Another new district

Incumbents in bold.