Delaware midterm turnout highest since 1994

Poll workers carry umbrellas as they greet voters headed in to a polling place at Glasgow High School on Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Poll workers carry umbrellas as they greet voters headed in to a polling place at Glasgow High School on Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

More than 360,000 Delawareans voted in Tuesday’s midterm elections. That translates to a turnout rate of 52 percent. The last time Delaware voter participation was that high for a midterm Bill Roth won re-election for U.S Senate and Mike Castle secured his second of nine terms in the U.S. House. That 1994 midterm saw Republicans gain 54 seats in the U.S. House and eight seats in the Senate.

And while Democrats, not Republicans, made smaller gains in the U.S. House in this midterm, Delaware voters had their minds on national politics as they went to the polls.

“I wanted to make sure I got all my rights and needs, especially for tax cuts,” said Helen Espanol-Blyer of Newark, who was voting for Republican candidates. “I want to have extra income and make sure retirement will go right, and I’m thinking of the next generation.”

Others, like George Millar of Wilmington saw their vote as a protest of President Trump. “I vote 100 percent Democrat. I don’t like the Republican Party, and trying to change things in the House and Senate,” Millar said. “Trump is just totally out of his mind and destroying the country.”

Southern Delaware voters showed up the best, with 56 percent turnout in Sussex County. The political divide between north and south was evident in Sussex where the GOP holds a 4,500 voter lead in registration. Sussex was the only county carried by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rob Arlett. He won 54 percent of the vote to incumbent Sen. Tom Carper’s 44 percent. Even outcast GOP House candidate Scott Walker narrowly won the Sussex County vote with 50 percent of the vote to incumbent Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s 49 percent.

In northern Delaware, Democrats dominate the voter registration and helped their party’s candidates crush their opponents. Blunt Rochester took 90 percent of the vote in Wilmington, while Walker got just 9 percent in Wilmington. In broader New Castle County, Blunt Rochester was still dominant, taking 73 percent of the vote to Walker’s 27 percent.

Support for Carper and Blunt Rochester at the top of the ticket likely had a trickle-down effect for other statewide races which were all won by Democrats.

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