One of the most powerful figures in the State Legislature will not be returning to Dover next year following a primary loss. The State Senate Presidet Pro Tem Anthony DeLuca lost to his Democratic primary challenger Bryan Townsend in the 11th Senate District. Townsend tallied a little less than 58 percent of the vote to DeLuca’s 42 percent.
Townsend suggested that DeLuca has lost touch with his constituents, crediting his victory to reaching out to residents and letting them know he would be more involved in the day-to-day issues in the district.
“We were willing and able to meet the voters right there on their doorstep and in their living rooms and talk about the issues. They really haven’t had that kind of service in this senate district for years,” said Townsend. “I think that’s the kind of representation that resonates with voters.”
Townsend also believes his win also sends a message on where the Democratic Party in Delaware is headed.
“It didn’t see it that way initially,” said Townsend. “As I gained traction, it became in some ways that storyline – a grassroots campaign against the establishment.”
Townsend now faces Republican Evan Queitsch in the November general election.
The newly drawn 6th State Senate district in the Lewes/Rehoboth area saw Andy Staton win his Democratic primary with Mike Miller and Robert Frederick. Staton’s 57 percent of the vote easily carried the primary. Staton was endorsed by both Gov. Jack Markell and House Majority Leader Peter Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach). He says that provided a significant boost to his campaign.
“I was humbled and excited and I think we gained their support because I’m a small business man in the community who’s very engaged and active,” said Staton. “They understood that I’m somebody who knows how to create jobs and to create solutions to make sure that we’re getting there and to represent the 6th District. So having their support was really amazing and terrific for us.”
Staton will face Ernie Lopez in the General election this November. Lopez won his Republican primary in the district, defeating Glen Urquhart 55-45 percent. Urquhart won his U.S. House primary against Michelle Rollins two years ago before falling to current Congressman John Carney in the 2012 General election.
In other State Senate primaries, another incumbent was defeated when Republican Joe Booth was edged by Eric Bodenweiser in the 19th Senate district. Bodenweiser won by 181 votes after losing to Booth by just 120 votes in a primary two years ago. Bodenweiser believes that Booth’s support of casino expansion into Sussex County two years ago and a bill this past session that required electricians’ assistants to get apprentice licenses went counter to constituents wishes. Bodenweiser also believes the job Booth took at Sussex Tech following his 2010 win played a role.
“The issue with the second job at Sussex Tech I’m sure was a tremendous issue [with voters] also,” said Bodenweiser. “I’ll be full-time at this job, [focusing on] constituent services, returning phone calls, returning emails, going door to door, looking people in the eyes and telling them the truth.”
In the 18th Senate district, Senate Minority leader Gary Simpson had no such trouble in his primary, defeating Matthew Opaliski by over 30 percentage points.
In Democratic primaries, incumbents Harris McDowell and Robert Marshall won on their races in the 1st and 3rd districts. Neither has a Republican opponent in November.
The House district drawing the most attention on primary day was the 32nd district in Dover. The incumbent, Brad Bennett decided not to run again following a second DUI arrest. Retired Dover city councilman William McGlumphy threw his hat in the ring on the Democratic side, only to be challenged by Bennett’s wife Andria. Andria won the primary in a landslide with 60 percent of the vote. She says her husband’s DUIs and accusations she was running to hold the seat for her husband to reclaim later were never an issue on the campaign trail.
“When I knocked on doors and people put two and two together, their first question was ‘How is your husband, is he getting the help he needs?’ Then, if they said they read the aricle about me being a placeholder, I said I can assure you I’m not a placeholder and they would look at my background [as a legislative aide] and say ‘I believe you’,” said Bennett.
Bennett will face Ellis Parrott in November. Parrott, who was endorsed by Kent County Republicans, won his Republican primary Tuesday against Will McVay 74-26 percent.
The other House primary of note put a pair of Republican incumbents thrown into the same district by redistricting against each other in the 22nd House district. Joe Miro won that contest, defeating Nick Manolakos.
Democrats Charles Potter, Stephanie Bolden, Dennis E. Williams, Lynne Newlin, Valerie Longhurst, Kimberly Williams, marie Mayor, Paul Baumbach and Benjamin Lowe also won primaries Tuesday. Incumbent Dan Short was the only other Republican primary winner.