Posted: May 14, 2012


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

With Election Day about six months away, the Delaware Democrats look likely to keep a stranglehold on state offices.

In the small-state politics practiced here, the voters tend to stick with the statewide officeholders they know. It provides a decided advantage for the Democrats, who have an incumbent running in every race, although they do have a primary for insurance commissioner, as well as the overarching presence of Joe Biden on the presidential ticket.

The Democrats also appear more and more comfortable about staying in control of the General Assembly. For a while it seemed like the Republicans could make a run at the Senate when the Democrats dummymandered the redistricting, but not after Liane Sorenson, the Republican minority whip, decided to retire.

The filing deadline is still two months away, but here are the candidates to watch for now.  


Office Leading Democrats Leading Republicans Rundown
Senate Tom Carper  Kevin Wade Carper has turned into "Mr. Postman" for his prominence on postal issues. How fitting, because the state's senior officeholder can put a stamp on this race and mail it in
House John Carney

Tom Kovach

Rose Izzo 

Carney is a popular Democrat in a blue state with more than half a million in the bank. Kovach has a bare-bones campaign and a nuisance primary. 'Nuff said
Governor Jack Markell Jeff Cragg Four governors in a row have been re-elected to a second term. If even Ruth Ann Minner can do it, Markell must be a lock
Lt Governor Matt Denn Sher Valenzuela When the voters keep the governor, they keep the lieutenant governor. No worries for Denn
Insurance Commissioner  Karen Weldin Stewart

Mitch Crane

Paul Gallagher

Dennis Spivack

Ben Mobley

Jim Van Houten

Stewart is a shaky incumbent, but too many candidates can spoil the opposition. The more who get in, the better her survival looks

Incumbents in bold; endorsed candidates in italics


Senate now: 14 Democrats, 7 Republicans

House of Representatives now: 26 Democrats, 15 Republicans

District Leading Democrats Leading Republicans Rundown
Senate 4th

Greenville-Brandywine Hundred

Mike Katz Greg Lavelle This seat used to be automatic for the Republicans, who are pushing to get it back with Greg Lavelle, the House minority leader, and make Katz's first term in Dover also his last
Senate 8th


Dave Sokola   A race that was supposed to be a top Republican priority fizzled when Liane Sorenson, the Republican whip tossed together with Sokola by redistricting, decided to retire. No sign yet the Republicans have a Plan B
Senate 6th


Bob Frederick

Mike Miller

Andy Staton

Ernie Lopez

Glen Urquhart

The lure of a new Senate seat in Sussex 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

Dave Ellis Nick Manolakos

Joe Miro

Redistricting combined Manolakos and Miro in a seat that should stay Republican, whoever wins
House 11th

Southern New Castle County-northern Kent County

Lynne Newlin

Dave Brown Jr.

Jeff Spiegelman This is a new district with a Democratic-leaning registration but no political identity yet
House 32nd


Brad Bennett Ellis Parrott It would be a surprise if Bennett stays in this race after getting charged with his second DUI and sideswiping a parked police car
House 20th


Marie Mayor

Lynn Rogers

Steve Smyk Rogers, who used to be a Sussex County councilman, is looking to get back into politics, but whatever, Sussex likes to vote Republican
House 38th

Ocean View-Fenwick Island-Selbyville

Shirley Price Ron Gray Price has waited 10 years to try to get back to the House after losing to Gerald Hocker, the Republican representative going for the Senate, but this Sussex seat is made for the Republicans
House 40th


Ray Adkins

Ben Lowe

Tim Dukes The retirement of Biff Lee, a Republican representative, has opened this Sussex seat up, most likely for another Republican

Incumbents in bold