Delaware Senate Race Rankings

Delaware State Senators serve four year terms.  Well, sometimes they serve two years terms either before or after the decennial census.  Let me explain.  There are 21 Delaware State Senators.   In 2016, 11 Senators from the districts 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19 and 20 were up for election.  They will be up for reelection in 2020, but only to a two year term.  Why?  Because the Senate Districts will be redrawn according to the 2020 Census in time for the 2022 election, during which all 21 Senators will be up for election in their new districts.

In 2018, 10 Senators from the districts 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 and 21 are up for election to a four year term, or until the 2022 election.  The Senators from this class will face a two year term election in 2030, the next time there is a census.  So it all evens out over the decades.  But I digress.

Currently, there are 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans in the State Senate.  This year, there is only one incumbent Senator who is retiring, Senator Brian Bushweller (D) in the 17th Senate District in Dover.  Therefore, the Republicans will be targeting all their efforts there to turn that seat red.  Unfortunately for them, the District seems pretty Democratic after the primary.   1,726 Republicans came out to vote for the Republican candidates, Justin King and Donyale Hall.    While Democratic candidate for the 17th District did not have a primary and thus was not only the ballot, 3,681 Democrats came out in the 17th District to vote in the US Senate primary.

On that basis, you would think that the 17th is a safe Democratic seat then, but I am classifying it as a Lean Democratic seat for two reasons: 1) it is an open election, so there is some uncertainty with two new candidates running for the Senate seat, even if Paradee and King are known in parts of the district; and 2) we don’t know for certain how independent or unaffiliated voters will break.  But given the way independents across the country are breaking for the Democrats this year, I am betting they will vote for Paradee.  Hence, the Lean Democratic designation.


Meanwhile, Democrats are playing offense in the 4th Senate District currently held by Republican Senator Greg Lavelle.  We also have a strong candidate in Dave Baker in the 6th Senate District against Republican Ernie Lopez.

First, the 4th SD.  Defeating Greg Lavelle, Delaware’s version of Paul Ryan, a pretend wonk who possesses no spine to stand up to the Trumpian/Tea Party wing of his own party, would be the crowning achievement of a Democratic Blue Wave in Delaware.   So why do I list this district as a toss up?  Doesn’t this district have more registered Republicans?   Yes, it does.   There are 14,139 registered Republicans, 12,397 registered Democrats and 9,197 unaffiliateds and others.    But this is Chateau Country, not Sussex County. Many Republicans up here are of a different breed.  Mike Castle and Pete duPont Republicans, not Christine O’Donnell and Donald Trump Republicans.   These kind of Republicans voted for Jack Markell and some of them voted for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  Obama in fact won the district in 2012 50-49 and Hillary won it in 2016 54 to 41%.

In other words, this district swings back and forth every election.  A true competitive district, illustrated in these swing maps of the district from 2012 to 2018.

So you have competitive district, and then you add in the very visible and organized campaign of Democrat Laura Sturgeon.   Women candidates have been doing very well against their Democratic and Republican male rivals this year, both in Delaware and across the country.   This district is home to the type of demographic that can power a Democratic insurgent in 2018: college educated professional women.   So add that all up and the Democrats have a great shot at flipping this district from red to blue.   The reason I do not classify this district as Lean Democratic is the power of incumbency and the Illusion of Greg Lavelle as this wonky moderate Republican who is not like the Sussex Trumpsters.   If the Dems so win this race, we pick up a seat and expand our majority back to 12-9.

We could expand the majority to 13-8 if we topple Republican Ernie Lopez in the downstate 6th SD that covers Lewes and Rehoboth.  We have a good candidate in Dave Baker, but I classify this seat as Lean Republican because of the aforementioned incumbency advantage for Lopez, that is supplemented by the shall we say “cordial” relationship between Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, Kathy McGuinness and Ernie Lopez.  Indeed, McGuiness, unfortunately now our nominee for Auditor, was pictured on Lopez’s website in recent years as a prominent supporter.  This kind of open support from prominent elected Democrats in the same district knee caps any Democratic candidate attempting to defeat Lopez, and it is outrageous conduct on the part of Schwartzkopf and McGuiness.  Demographically, there are more Democrats than Republicans in the 6th SD: 13,257 Dems to 12,051 Rethugs to 7,483 Unaffiliateds.   So for that reason, and for the reason that Lopez sometimes votes against conservative wishes, thus perhaps tampering down GOP enthusiasm to vote for him, and for the reason that this is Democratic wave year, I am classifying this seat as Lean Republican rather than Safe Republican.

Finally, with regard to the 10th Senate District, where incumbent Senator Stephanie Hansen will be running for election to a full four year term after her special election to replace Lt. Governor Bethany Hall Long back in February 2017, I classified that race as Lean Democratic rather than Safe Democratic for the sole reason that its Mrs. Hansen’s first reelection race.  Those contests are usually the most dangerous for Delaware incumbents.  But the Democratic wave should carry her through, as well has her excellent performance as Senator over the last 18 months, coupled finally with the demographics of the district: 14,677 Dems to 10,114 Rethugs to 8,044 Unaffiliateds.

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

37 comments on “Delaware Senate Race Rankings

  1. LavelleDefeater

    According to the Department of Elections site, there are 12,739 Democrats, 12,029 Republicans, and 9,431 Independents. Which means that since the 2016 election, where Clinton won the district by 13 points, the number of registered Democrats has actually gone up by about 30 people while the number of Republicans has gone down by over 400 people.

  2. The top of the GOP ticket isn’t much of a draw for them this year. I could see plenty of Republicans, especially in NCCo staying home. Turnout from Thursday:

    D: 93,640
    R: 69,892

    D: 83,039
    R: 37,869

  3. I could see plenty of Democrats staying home, especially in NCC.

    • Wow, what an impressive comeback. How long did it take you to think that one up?

    • I know I and many other Democrats aren’t voting necessary “for” Carper or LBR or many others; we are voting against Trump. No matter the Republican in Delaware, unless they have spoken out against Trump, stands with him and represents his values. That is something worth voting against for many Democrats. It is our chance to “resist” via the ballot box and express our disapproval, much as the Tea Partiers did on the other side in 2010.

  4. NCCo Democrats have some really great candidates, quite often female, running against male Republicans who refuse to stand up against the Trump Administration and its disastrous policies. This is both at the state legislature level, and the state-wide level. I think that there are a lot of reasons for NCCo Democrats to show up and proudly vote FOR candidates this November.

    • Really Mr. Baumbach?

      Disastrous policies that have resulted in the highest business and consumer confidence levels in more than two decades? Disastrous policies that have caused North Korea and South Korean leaders to meet and talk seriously about ending the Korean War for the first time? That have resulted in the lowest black and hispanic unemployment levels ever? That have led to real wage growth for the first time in 10+ years? Tax cuts that have resulted in putting real money (OK, maybe “crumbs” according to Senator Pelosi) in middle class pockets? Energy policies that have resulted in the US becoming a net energy exporter for the first time since the 1950’s?

      Tell me again about these “disastrous policies” and what disasters exactly have resulted from them? And tell me what exactly Democrats are proposing that is better for the middle class than Trump’s policies?

      Pink pussy hats, screeching outbursts in judicial committee hearings, and New York Times op-eds are not going to get it done for the middle class.

      • Umm, I think he means disastrous policies like rolling back environmental regulations, travel bans, round ups of immigrants, running up our debt through tax cuts to the rich…the list goes on. It isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows. Yes, Trump inherited an economy on the upswing that has continued to grow, I would argue in spite of the instability of his erratic and dangerous “leadership.”

        Rep. Baumbach is quite correct that there are great candidates to vote FOR throughout the state; I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. Many are working hard to turn out voters in their districts. I just know for me, the satisfaction of voting AGAINST Republicans is enough to drive me out to vote, and I think it will help Democrats nationwide.

        • Tell me exactly how the travel bans are a disaster for the middle class?

          It’s not roundups of immigrants, it is roundups of illegal aliens. You really think the middle class disagrees with enforcing immigration policies?

          It is frightening how much liberals are so out of touch with the middle class.

          • Explain, please, how immigration actually hurts the middle class. You still haven’t done so.

            • I never claimed it was. Just quoting poll data. Unlike liberals, I think for myself.

              Personally I think immigration is pretty low on the list of issues confronting us at the moment.

              But if Trump and congressional Republicans can use it as an issue to get votes, that’s fine by me.

          • “You really think the middle class disagrees with enforcing immigration policies?”

            As soon as it affects someone they know, yes. That’s why the staunchest opponents of immigration are those who live in the boondocks where they can imagine the worst.

            Remember, we’re talking about people so stupid that they prattle on about government tyranny without ever noticing that their local police fit that description better than the National Guard ever will.

            • Double shot Wednesday for Alby. Manages to both demean the middle class (stupid) and local law enforcement (tyrants) in the same post. And you wonder why liberals keep getting trashed in Middle America.

              • Again, who do you think you’re fooling here? Your contempt for everyone is obvious every time you post.

      • As disastrous policies go, we can point at Charlottesville, Puerto Rico, trade policies, indictments, perjury, policy-by-tweet, the tax scam, rising inflation, climate change, corruption, obstruction, division. These are disastrous for America.

        No one is running on the tax scam because no one is feeling any benefit from it (except for the top 10%). No one is cheering for the Koreas because it was all hype, no results. No one is cheering for unemployment because Trump is laying claim to 8 years of job growth after 19 months in office.

        Maybe not everyone sees through the sham, but most do.

        • Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of Mueller’s “indictments” so far.

          What Trump policy was indicted by Charlottesville? Just a misinterpreted tweet, nothing to see there.

          Roundups? Of illegal aliens? You really think normal middle class people have a problem with that?

          Your statement about the tax cuts is ridiculous. 1%ers like Pelosi and Warren and rich white guilt liberals in general may disparage a few hundred bucks, but that’s real money to middle class taxpayers.

          So what are the Democratic alternatives that are going to demonstrably improve the life of a middle class taxpayer?

          • wait .. “indictments”? you dont think they really happened? your maga hat is showing, bro.

            • Yeah, that two week prison sentence was really brutal.

              Perhaps I should have said “meaningful indictments”. Haven’t seen any of those yet.

              But keep hoping, kids.

              • As I said, your real reasons for being here are all too obvious. Worst polling day for the GOP in months, and here you are.

          • Universal health care, which happens to be the No. 1 concern of the middle class.

            I get that the only reason you’re here is to own the libs, but the only one you’re playing is yourself.

            • No.


              C’mon Alby, stop with the batting practice. Let’s see your real stuff.

              • Also, how is discouraging immigration helping the middle class? People who lack brains get themselves worked up over it, but the net effect is positive, unless you’re on board with not having enough workers to keep Social Security alive.

              • that article is from July, dumbass. Did you check it and hoped we wouldn’t notice, or did you not check it because you’re a moron?

                • It was listed as the No. 1 issue by 22% of voters, and without checking the details I’d bet that not a single one of them was a Democrat. In fact, it means that not even all Republicans think it’s the No. 1 issue.

                  Dig deeper and you’ll find that the strongest anti-immigrant sentiment comes from places with few of them — in other words, people for whom the issue is entirely abstract. But then, that’s how conservatives think. It’s why there are idiots growing soybeans who think their “sacrifice” will lead to something other than their impoverishment.

                  • “Idiots growing soybeans”.

                    Nice Alby.

                    Between that remark and the one below about drywall hangers we can get a true picture of how you and most liberals view those that keep this country running.

                    Vivid illustration of the attitude that has cost Democrats the House, the Senate, the Presidency, over 900 seats in state legislatures, and a bunch of governorships over the last decade or so.

                    • I am one of the people that keep this country running. And I get no subsidies or bailouts from the government.

                    • There are non-idiots growing soybeans. And drywall hangers are heavily affected by immigrant labor. And you know both those things.

                      Stop clutching your imaginary pearls. You’re fooling nobody.

              • Gallup asks this question every month. In August, the biggest * non-economic* problem Americans reported to Gallup is Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership at 21%. Immigration is at 16%. Pretty much in line with the GRIFTUS’ approval rating, I’m thinking.

                • I’m just trying to imagine a life so devoid of real problems that I’d think the No. 1 problem in the country was immigration. Then again, I don’t hang drywall for a living.

      • “Energy policies that have resulted in the US becoming a net energy exporter for the first time since the 1950’s?”

        You say that like it’s a good thing.

        By the way, screeching people in funny hats — tri-cornered in their case — is what brought us here. Funny how you seem to forget that.

        • You’d rather have us dependent on foreign energy. OK, that makes sense. Feel free to urge Democrats to run on a platform with foreign energy dependence as a plank. Idiot.

          • Wow, you’re really scared today. Going to lose your job if Democrats win?

            • Not likely, but you never know. If so I’ll just find another one.

              Actually I have been debating internally the effect on 401K and markets in general if Dems win the House back in the midterms.

              Initial thoughts are it will have a negative effect but business might like a essentially paralyzed government for the next two years. Then the Don can borrow a page from the failed Obama playbook and put his pen and phone to work, only with a positive effect on the markets.

              As usual will probably default to the do nothing strategy and continue with low fee index funds with slow adjustment as I get older. Kind of vanilla but pretty effective.

              • “Actually I have been debating internally the effect on 401K and markets in general if Dems win the House back in the midterms.”

                If your assets are in a 401k, the effect of year-to-year changes in the market is minimal at best, unless you’re on the cusp of retirement. Then again, if all your assets are in indexed funds I guess you can ride the roller coaster at the daily fluctuations.

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