Ballot set for local, statewide races this fall

Newark Post | by Josh Shannon

This fall is shaping up to be a busy election season, with a number of local races as well as statewide races for senate, representative in congress, attorney general, state treasurer and auditor.

Delaware’s primary election is set for Sept. 6, and the general election will be held Nov. 6.

Though the filing deadline passed last week, political parties have until Sept. 4 to nominate candidates for races in which no member of that party has filed.

Here’s a look at where local and statewide races stand now.

State senate

In District 10, Democrat Stephanie Hansen, who was elected in a February 2017 special election, is seeking her first full term. She is being challenged by Republican Christine Metzing, a doctor from Middletown.

In District 11, Democrat Bryan Townsend is running for his third term against newcomer Daniel Kapitanic, an electrician and army veteran from Brookside.

State house

District 22, which encompasses an area to the northeast of Newark, including North Star and parts of Pike Creek, features the only local primary, as four candidates are vying to replace retiring Republican Joe Miro.

The Democratic primary features Guillermina Gonzalez, a nonprofit director and former ExxonMobile marketing executive from Limestone Hills, and Renee Taschner, a former county police officer from Cotswold Hills who unsuccessfully ran for New Castle County Council in 2012. Meanwhile, the Republican ballot features Katherine Beard, an IT manager from Hockessin Valley Falls, and Michael Smith, a resident of the Village of Meeting House Hill who works as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships and the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences.

Several more house races are on deck for the general election.

In District 21, five-term incumbent Mike Ramone, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat newcomer Stephanie Barry, operations director for the nonprofit Paws for People and a resident of Linden Hill Village.

Democrat Ed Osienski, in his fourth term representing District 24, is being challenged by Republican newcomer Bill Dilks, a musician from Chestnut Hill Estates who recently retired from BlueCross BlueShield of Delaware.

District 25 incumbent John Kowalko, a Democrat, is facing a challenge by Bryan Rash, a Republican newcomer who lives on Old Cooch’s Bridge Road and runs an auto repair shop.

In District 26, incumbent Democrat John Viola, who was first elected in 1998, is being challenged by Republican newcomer Justin Cruice, a resident of Cedar Farms.

Meanwhile District 18’s David Bentz, District 23’s Paul Baumbach and District 27’s Earl Jaques, all Democratic incumbents, are running for re-election unopposed.

County council

There will be only one county council race in the Newark area.

Democrat Lisa Diller, who has represented District 5 since 2009, is being challenged by Republican John Thomas, a resident of Academy Hills.

District 3 incumbent Janet Kilpatrick is unopposed.

U.S. Senate

Sen. Tom Carper, who is in his third term after serving stints as governor and congressman, is being primaried by Kerri Evelyn Harris, an Air Force veteran and community organizer from Dover. Harris is running to the left of Carper and has drawn support from progressive groups.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face one of three candidates jockeying for the Republican nomination. Delaware-based candidates include Robert Arlett, a Sussex County councilman from Selbyville and Eugene Truono, a former PayPal executive from Wilmington. Also running in the Republican primary is Rocky De La Fuente, a resident of California who is running for senate in several other states as well.

The Green Party’s Demitri Theodoropoulos, a resident of Newark’s Cherry Hill neighborhood, and Libertarian Nadine Frost, of Wilmington, are also running for senate.

U.S. House

Two Republicans are running in the September primary for U.S. House of Representatives: Lee Murphy, a retired railroad worker and actor from Wilmington who previously has run unsuccessful campaigns for county council and state senate; and Scott Walker, a business owner and landlord from Milford who ran unsuccessfully for the same seat two years ago.

The winner will face incumbent Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester, who is seeking her second term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Attorney general

Attorney General Matt Denn’s decision not to seek re-election set up a four-way primary among Democrats.

Candidates include: Kathleen Jennings, a former state prosecutor who worked her way up to chief deputy attorney general and most recently served as chief administrative officer for New Castle County; Christopher Johnson, who previously served as deputy legal counsel for Gov. John Carney; Tim Mullaney, a former federal marshal, state department of justice official and chief administrative officer for New Castle County; and LaKresha Roberts, who recently stepped down as chief deputy attorney general under Denn in order to campaign.

The winner will go on to face Peggy Marshall Thomas, the sole Republican in the race. Thomas has 30 years experience as a prosecutor in Delaware and spent three of those years as the chief prosecutor in Sussex County.

State treasurer

Incumbent Republican Ken Simpler is running for a second term as state treasurer.

He is being challenged by Democrat Colleen Davis, a health care consultant from Dagsboro, and the Green Party’s David Chandler, a resident of Christine Manor in Newark who also ran for state treasurer in 2014 and state senate in 2016.

State auditor

With State Auditor Tom Wagner, the longest serving statewide Republican, retiring after three decades, the position is up for grabs this year.

The Democrats have a three-way primary between Kathleen Davies, Kathy McGuiness and Dennis E. Williams.

Davies worked in the auditor’s office before Wagner fired her late last year, though a state labor board recently ruled he did not have sufficient cause to do so. McGuiness is a Rehoboth Beach commissioner and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2016. Williams served six years as a state representative and now works as chief financial officer for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

The winner of the primary will go on to face Republican James Spadola, a former Newark Police Department officer who unsuccessfully ran for state senate in 2016.

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