The deadline for filing to run for the State Senate or the State House is July 10, 2018. If an incumbent knows that they are going to retire, they usually get it out of the way well in advance, like most of the TEN legislators did this past winter and spring. This gives those candidates playing to run to succeed the retiring legislator leg up on timing.
As you can see from the chart below, most legislators have filed to run for reelection. Those with their names italicized have not filed yet. Their names are included on the chart because, until they officially announce their retirement, they are expected to run for our purposes.
Here is a list of them, ranked from most likely to retire to least likely to retire. Don’t get too excited by these rankings, because I only consider three of them to be legitimate possibilities, and a fourth that is within the realm of possibility but not at all likely, and I will explain my thinking on each of them. The rest are just biding their time, letting that filing fee collect a little more interest in the bank account.
- Robert Marshall (D-3rd SD) – He has two primary challengers, one of whom is running a stellar campaign. I know what you are thinking: with two challengers, Marshall might think that he will pull a Karen Weldin Steward and survive with 32% of the vote. But he barely survived a one on one race with Sherry Dorsey Walker by 37 votes back in 2014, and Walker was not running as good a campaign as Lockman. Both Lockman and Hines announced their campaigns early. Challengers only do that when they either think the incumbent is sure to retire or can easily be beaten. Marshall has announced late before, but I am betting he will retire rather than face a very tough campaign. There is a debate in this race coming up on Monday, June 11, at 6:30 pm at the Christina Cultural Arts Center (705 N Market St, Wilmington, DE 19801). Marshall has told organizers of the debate that he will not be attending. Is that because he is retiring, or because he has utter contempt for his constituents?
- Andria Bennett (D-32nd RD) – She has had recurrent health issues, and faced some angry backlash from her vote on the budget last year. I can see her retiring. But then again, talk of a primary challenger from both the left and the leadership fizzled.
- Greg Lavelle (R-4th SD) – Lavelle is Delaware’s Paul Ryan. He has this “wonkish idea guy” brand, that he is a “reasonable” Republican. But he has to contort himself into knots to explain no votes that keep him in line with the rest of his insane caucus and constituents. See his latest ERA vote. I can see him tiring of it and parachuting out like Ryan did.
- Bryan Townsend (D-11th SD) – When the Attorney General race opened up upon Matt Denn’s surprise retirement, some of our lonely eyes turned to Townsend. He demurred due to family and work reasons (he and his wife had just welcomed their first child, and he had spent the last year running for Congress, so another long statewide race did seem appealing). I don’t expect him to retire. I would bet lots of money I don’t have against it. But there is just a slight possibility (we are talking single digit percentages here) that he will not run again for the same reasons as he did not run for Attorney General. It would be a devastating blow to both progressives and humor.
- Quinn Johnson (D-8th RD)
- Valerie Longhurst (D-15th)
- Ron Gray (R-38th RD)
- Daniel Short (R-39th RD)
- Sean Matthews (D-10th RD)
- Tim Dukes (R-40th RD)
- Dave Bentz (D-18th RD)
- Ruth Briggs King (R-37th RD)
There are also some notable candidates who have announced their campaigns but have not officially filed yet. Those are Sam Guy in the 2nd SD race, Darius Brown in the 2nd SD Race, and Rachel Blumenfeld in 12th RD race. Of those, I would say Sam Guy will still file and definitely run. I feel less confident about Darius Brown, and perhaps he will not run after all.
With respect to Rachel Blumenfeld, I think it is entirely possible she will drop out. I feel, as a resident of the 12th District, that her opponent, Krista Griffith, who has filed, has run a stronger campaign so far. No major policy difference has emerged that would provide some distinction between the two. This is not to say that Blumenfeld doesn’t have a good campaign team or any support, she does on both counts. But the fact that she has not yet filed gives me pause.