Democrats seek to solidify control of Delaware politics


DOVER, Del. (AP) — Election Day in Delaware will decide whether Democrats maintain their control of First State politics or whether Republicans can attract enough disaffected voters to achieve more of a balance on the state and federal level.

Democrats entered Tuesday’s contest holding all three seats in Delaware’s congressional delegation, all statewide elective offices and control of both the state House and state Senate. The Democratic field in the deep blue state is led by Delaware’s own presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, Democratic incumbent Chris Coons is seeking a second full term in the U.S. Senate after winning a special election in 2010 for the seat once held by Joe Biden and being reelected in 2014. He is being challenged by conservative activist and political newcomer Lauren Witzke.

Witzke defeated the Delaware GOP’s endorsed candidate in the Republican primary, but found herself fighting both Coons and fellow Republicans because of her statements and background. Witzke has defended the neo-fascist Proud Boys and previously promoted the baseless, far-right conspiracy theory QAnon. She also drew fire for an anti-abortion post on Facebook celebrating the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Incumbent Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester is seeking a third term as Delaware’s lone delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is being challenged by Republican Lee Murphy, a retired Amtrak conductor who lost a GOP primary for the House seat two years ago. Blunt Rochester is the only woman and person of color to represent Delaware in Congress.

The last time Delaware voters sent a Republican to Washington was 2008.

On the state level, Democratic Gov. John Carney is facing Republican challenger Julianne Murray. The race is seen at least in part as a referendum on Carney’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. His business closures and restrictions led to thousands of Delawareans losing their jobs and filing unemployment claims in record-shattering numbers. Murray, an attorney, has sued Carney over a ban on short-term rentals he imposed early in the virus outbreak.

Democrats also went into the election with a 12-9 advantage in the state Senate and a 26-15 margin in the state House. They have made a concerted push to flip Senate seats held by potentially vulnerable Republican incumbents and strengthen their Senate majority to the point where they would no longer require GOP support to reach the required supermajorities to pass tax bills and certain other measures.

No matter what happens Tuesday, the legislature is sure to have at least a few new faces given that progressive newcomers unseated three long-serving incumbents, including the state Senate president, in the September Democratic primary.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Find AP’s full election coverage at

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