Governor Jack Markell and every other Democrat running on the statewide ticket won easy victories.
President Obama and Delaware’s own Vice President Joe Biden also won the First State, making it a clean sweep for Democrats and cementing Delaware’s status as a blue state. Governor Markell earned his second term in office with roughly 70% of the vote over Republican Jeff Cragg.
Markell spoke to supporters at Democratic headquarters at the Queen in downtown Wilmington. “Tonight, we celebrate, but tomorrow the work begins anew. Tomorrow we turn the page, we put the partisan battles behind us, and we work together.”
Cragg focused on the ability of his campaign to frame the issues for voters even in defeat. “Elections are about choices and we laid out a choice and the voters of Delaware have spoken, and I respect that. I feel comfortable with the issues we brought forward. I think our issues got out there in the minds of the voters, in the Governor’s mind and I’m happy about that, but not happy with the overall result.”
Markell’s de facto running mate, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn also easily defeated his Republican opponent Sher Valenzuela, 61% to 37%.
Delaware’s senior Senator Tom Carper will serve a third term in the U.S. Senate after easily defeating his Republican challenger Kevin Wade 66% to 29%. Independent candidate Alex Pires had little to show for his caustic campaign against Carper, earning just 3.8% of the vote. In his victory speech, Carper repeated a line he used often to brush off the attacks of Pires, saying Washington doesn’t need any more bomb throwers.
Delaware’s lone seat in the U.S. House remains in Democratic hands as well with incumbent Congressman John Carney handily beating Republican Tom Kovach.
Tough night for DE GOP
For Delaware Republicans, there’s little to celebrate, nothing in statewide contests. State GOP chairman John Sigler focused on the future and the party’s ability to get quality candidates. “We have a lot of work to do but we’ve accomplished an awful lot. We recruited some very fine candidates. Sher Valenzuela, she’s someone from the future. Jeff Cragg has done a wonderful job on a shoe string budget. [Insurance Commissioner candidate] Ben Mobely has done a wonderful job. He’s somebody for the future. They all reflect the young vigor in the Republican Party in the state of Delaware. This is not your grandfather’s Republican Party.”
General Assembly contests
Further down the ticket, there were some incredibly tight races especially in the 4th state Senate District. Republican Greg Lavelle narrowly defeated Democrat Mike Katz by just 783 votes. In a newly formed 6th state Senate District in Rehoboth, Republican Ernie Lopez topped Democrat Andrew Staton 56% to 44%. Also in the Senate, Democrat Nicole Poore beat longtime legislator Republican Dori Connor 61% to 37%.
In the 19th Senate district, Republican Brian Pettyjohn beat Democrat Jane Hovington after the original Republican candidate, Eric Bodenweiser, withdrew from the race after being indicted on numerous charges involving child sexual abuse. Bodenweiser dropped out of the race on October 17. Pettyjohn’s name was ordered to be placed on ballots by a court ruling on October 30.
In the state House, incumbent Democrat John Atkins, who has been connected to more than his fair share of scandal, narrowly held on to his seat, beating out Republican Richard Collins, 50.4% to 49.6%.