Posted: May 5, 2016
UPDATE: LEGISLATIVE EARLY LINE 2016
By Celia Cohen
The Republicans are not kidding about trying to take over the state Senate.
They now have four Republican Millennials running against longtime Democratic state senators, and it is no exaggeration to say not all of the Millennial candidates were even born when the sitting legislators started to show up in the Delaware General Assembly.
The latest Republican recruit is Meredith Chapman, who declared last week against Dave Sokola, a Democratic state senator since 1990, in a Newark-Hockessin district.
The other Democratic state senators getting the generational push are Patti Blevins, the president pro tem first elected in 1990, Harris McDowell, the longest-tenured state senator ever with 40 years there, and Bruce Ennis, a legislator since 1982.
The Republicans have not been searching only for Millennials to run -- it is not like no other generation need apply -- but they do not mind it is working out that way with their candidates coming from the population born between 1981 and 2000.
"It certainly is where the world is going. It was part of our calculus," said Charlie Copeland, the Republican state chair who used to be a state senator himself.
Recruiting is one thing. Winning is another.
The Democrats have been in charge of the state Senate since 1973, after a couple of turncoat Republican state senators switched sides, and nothing the Republicans have done in 21 elections since then has gotten them out of the minority.
The Republicans only need to flip two seats in the 21-member chamber to overturn the Democratic majority, which currently stands at 12-9, but the Democratic state senators they are targeting are not only seasoned campaigners, they are all in districts that favor the Democrats.
The newest race has Sokola, who stood out in state politics as the only Democrat working for DuPont until he recently retired from the company, defending the seat against Chapman, who has, it could be said, even more of an eclectic political background than he does.
Chapman, the digital communications director at the University of Delaware, was previously a Democrat and an unaffiliated voter and did not become a Republican until late February.
Not only that, she used to be the communications
manager for Mike Castle, when he was the Republican
congressman, but more recently she was the campaign
"I very much am a moderate, no matter who my boss has been," Chapman said. "I'm hoping to be able to pull not from just one side of the aisle or the other, but to look for commonalities."
The Republicans dabbled in a Millennial challenge in the 2014 election in a handful of races for the state House of Representatives but won none of them, even in a year when the Democratic turnout was an embarrassment.
It could be even harder in this election, a presidential year when the Democrats can usually count on their more casual voters to turn out.
The only one who can reliably take out some of these Democratic state senators might be Father Time, but then what? No matter what Father Time has done to the membership of the state Senate, he keeps voting Democratic.
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TOP LEGISLATIVE RACES
State Senate: 12 Democrats, 9 Republicans (11 seats up)
State House of Representatives: 25 Democrats, 16 Republicans (All 41 seats up)
Incumbents in bold