Open races downstate set stage for a new generation

For the first time since 2010, Republican Rep. Harvey Kenton garnered a Democratic opponent in carpenter Don Allan, Jr., who was encouraged to run for office through one of the groups leading the Democratic Blue Wave in 2018, Run For Something.   And just like that, Mr. Kenton announced his retirement.  Given that his last contested election against Russ McCabe in 2010 was a close contest, and given that Democratic enthusiasm would out pace Republican enthusiasm this year, Kenton was not up for the race.   I don’t blame him.

“I will be 77 years old by the time election day rolls around,” he said in a statement. “After discussing it with my wife and colleagues, I’ve decided that it is time for me to pursue other interests.”  The chosen Republican successor is 33-year old Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe.  He has been Mayor since 2014.  Shupe started the online media outlet Milford Live and together with his wife own a doggy daycare business.

Allan noted the generational change with Shupe getting in the race to the News Journal. “I guess we’re going to have our first face-off among millennials for this seat,” Allan said. “I think what I offer voters is a chance to be represented by a blue-collar worker. I’m not a political science major, an attorney or an accountant. I go to work and get my hands dirty every day.”   That’s a great pitch.


As shown above, the 36th RD consists of northeastern Sussex, from Milford down to Georgetown over to Milton and the coast.  Demographically, Democrats hold the registration edge, but this a Republican district, or at least, has been since 1984.  Here are the details from First Map:

Representative District Population 20,870
WHITE 15,780
BLACK 3,109
LATINO 2,483
OVER 18 WHITE 12,488
OVER 18 BLACK 2,150
OVER 18 LATINO 1,462
OTHER 3,079

Meanwhile, now that State Representative Dave Wilson is seeking a promotion to the Senate, his 35th RD seat is now open, and Sussex County Farm Bureau President Jesse Vanderwende, a Republican, is seeking it.   Vanderwende is a farmer on his family farm, as seen below:

“Agriculture is Delaware’s top industry, and I want to be a part of boosting Delaware’s economy by not only focusing on ag, but all areas important to the 35th,” Mr. Vanderwende said in a statement. “Jobs, the education system, infrastructure and public safety just to name a few. One of the reasons I decided to run is to be a voice in Dover that reflects the conservative values of the constituents in the 35th District.”


The 35th RD covers northwest Sussex, from the county line down to Georgetown and Seaford, including the towns of Greenwood and Bridgeville.  It is one of the few districts where Republican voters actually outnumber Democrats, as shown in the demographics provided by First Map below:

Representative District Population 20,887
WHITE 14,690
BLACK 4,466
LATINO 2,045
OVER 18 WHITE 11,634
OVER 18 BLACK 3,160
OVER 18 LATINO 1,196
OTHER 2,692

There is no word yet on who the Democratic candidate(s) will be in the 35th.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

4 comments on “Open races downstate set stage for a new generation

  1. I don’t see Republicans (4,733) outnumbering Democrats (5,154) in the 35th RD. Am I reading this wrong?

    • The numbers are there, but many “independents” are conservative Republican voters, and many Democrats don’t turn out to vote and/or are Dixiecrat / DINO types. Hopefully this year Democrat turnout will be up and Republicans will stay home!

  2. Joe Connor

    Kudo’s to Mr. Allan for stepping. it is a 100% fact that you can’t beat somebody with nobody. I hope that Mr. Allan is the leader of a movement to fill the ticket. When I moved to Sussex we had a D in my district in the Bethany Fenwick area.. It went R in ’02. A race in every district would be fantastic!

    • Thank you, Mr. Connor. I’ll be down your way at the 38th District’s monthly meeting on March 7. Come in and say hi if you can!

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