Booth wins special election

    It’s official. Joe Booth will make the move from the Delaware House of Representatives to the Senate after winning a special election Monday to fill the seat of the late State Senator Thurman Adams.

    It’s official. Joe Booth will make the move from the Delaware House of Representatives to the Senate after winning a special election Monday to fill the seat of the late State Senator Thurman Adams.

    Joe Booth, left, chats with voters Monday in Georgetown. Booth won the special election for Thurman Adams' former Senate seat.
    Joe Booth, left, chats with voters Monday in Georgetown. Booth won the special election for Thurman Adams' former Senate seat.

    Adams held the seat for 37 years before his death on June 23rd.

    The Republican Booth, a member of the House since 2002, won with 63 percent of the vote.

    “Wow,” Booth said. “It was a lot of hard work that paid off in a big way. And the results really humbled me. It’s going to make me work that much harder.”

    The late Senator’s daughter, Polly Adams Mervine, finished second with 30 percent. Mervine, a Democrat, is a former schoolteacher who has never held elective office.

    Independent Matt Opaliski finished with six percent of the vote. Wendy Jones, a Libertarian, had one percent.

    While the move physically from one side of Legislative Hall to the other is no big deal, Booth says, politically, the switch is significant.

    “It gives me a bigger district so I’ll have more constituents, almost twice as many,” he said. “And I love working with my constituents. I try to take care of them.”

    Booth’s win means another special election to fill his House seat.

    But Sussex County’s Democratic Chairperson Pat Ewing says Monday’s loss could turn into a huge gain for the party. Democrats now have a chance to hold a three-fifths majority in the House.

    “It means everything,” Ewing said. “It means that we hold the power. Hopefully when you have that much power you know how to control it. But you have to be careful with that power.”

    Ewing says Democrats will select a candidate for the vacant House seat by the weekend. The Republicans, meantime, will announce a candidate Wednesday or Thursday. Possible candidates, according to party officials, include Eric Bodenwiser, Dick Cecil, Ruth King and Brian Pettyjohn.

    “I’m sure the Democrats are going to put up their very best candidate,” said Sussex County Republican Chairman Ron Sams. “But we’re optimistic we’re going to hold that seat. We rallied to have a lot of people for Joe’s campaign and we hope to keep those same people engaged. It was a big win for Joe, so we’ve got a lot of momentum.”

    By law the special election must be held within the next 41 days.

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