Posted: Sept. 2, 2016


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

At least half of Delaware is probably going to be disappointed because of the election.

The reason is the General Assembly. It had an approval rating of 49 percent in the PublicMind Poll conducted recently by Fairleigh Dickinson University -- which is not bad for a legislative branch, considering the Congress comes in at a meager 13 percent in national polling -- but still.

The legislature is not going to change very much, whether people like it the way it is or not. This is guaranteed, now that an obscure but significant deadline has passed.

The last day for the Democrats and the Republicans to plug candidates into the holes on their ballot was Thursday, and it left a lot of legislators without a major-party opponent on Election Day.

What a great day for democracy. People can approve or disapprove of the legislature, but it does not take a poll to figure out there is pretty much of an agreement that elections are a good thing.

Fully two-thirds of the state Senate can count on returning to Legislative Hall. Ditto for better than half of the state House of Representatives.

No major-party opponents



Senate McBride, Poore Lawson, Pettyjohn
House Baumbach, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Carson, Heffernan, Jaques, J. Johnson, Q. Johnson, Keeley, Mitchell, Mulrooney, Potter, Smith, Viola Dukes, Gray, Hudson, Kenton, Ramone, D. Short

In the state Senate, the status quo has a built-in advantage. The turnover is structurally limited, because 10 of the 21 state senators are not up for re-election until 2018. Four of the ones who are on the ballot in 2016 are unopposed by the other party.

In the state House, where all 41 members are up, there is no major-party opposition for 21 of them -- 15 Democrats and six Republicans.

It should be noted the stability in the state Senate comes with an asterisk, because there are four state senators who would rather not be back. They are running mid-term for higher office.

Colin Bonini is trying to get to be the Republican governor, Bryan Townsend the Democratic congressman, Bethany Hall-Long the Democratic lieutenant governor and Bob Marshall the Democratic mayor of Wilmington.

They would have to be replaced in special elections, and there is a chance the control of the state Senate, which has been Democratic for 43 years, would hang in the balance.

Democracy would certainly have its day then. Major-party opposition would be at its very best, or maybe at its very worst?

# # #

Not just the Democratic and Republican parties had a deadline to meet on Thursday. So did the congressional candidates. They had campaign finance reports to file with Federal Election Commission, the last ones before Primary Day on Sept. 13.

Here is a summary of the campaign accounts, up through Aug. 24, for the leading candidates:

Candidate Party Contributions Self-loans Expenditures Balance
Sean Barney D $659,229


$305,651 $353,580
Lisa Blunt Rochester D $565,797 $178,900 $637,472 $107,225
Bryan Townsend D $651,375   $20,000 $472,123 $199,252
Hans Reigle R $143,244     $8,452 $123,050   $28,646