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Delaware Election Preview

Delaware is one of the top 10 states that are most likely to see a change in party control in one or both state legislative chambers following the November 6 general elections. Currently, Democrats hold both legislative chambers and the governor’s office in Delaware, and they have enjoyed this trifecta position since 2009.

Delaware will see 10 senate seats up for election this year, with six Democrats and four Republicans campaigning as incumbents. Last February, Republicans were unable to end four decades of Democratic senate rule when State Senator Stephanie Hansen (D) won a special election. Democrats now hold a slim majority of 11 out of the 21 upper chamber seats.

Republicans will try again come November. To gain control of the upper chamber, Republicans need to turn just one seat in a chamber sitting in a territory that leans Democratic. In contrast to the usual “Delaware Way” niceties, District 4 has already seen drama involving the residency of Laura Sturgeon (D), a high school teacher challenging incumbent State Senator Greg Lavelle (R). Lavalle entered 2018 with over five times the war chest ($216,000 to Sturgeon’s nearly $42,000), but Sturgeon could ride a national blue wave with her progressive stances.

In the House of Representatives, Democrats currently hold 25 seats to 16 seats held by Republicans. All 41 state representative seats are up for election this year. Republicans lost control of the House in 2009, and have their work cut out for them if they hope to return party control. Six Democratic (Districts 4, 13, 15, 18, 23, and 27) and five Republican (Districts 11, 33, 37, 39, and 40) incumbents are considered safe due to a lack of primary or opposing party challengers. Democrats hold five additional seats safely (Districts 1, 2, 3, 7, and 17), and Republicans hold one additional seat safely (District 35) due to no opposing party challenger. Thus, Republicans will need to concentrate on the remaining 24 seats, nine of which must flip, if they hope to return the House to Republican control.

Delaware voters will not see another gubernatorial election until 2020. In the meantime, Governor John Carney (D) is popular among state voters.