Delaware state auditor Kathy McGuiness can’t appeal this verdict.
McGuiness is finalizing the appeal of her recent criminal conviction for official misconduct and conflict of interest related to hiring her daughter.
But she has no such recourse with voters after being walloped in the first leg of her bid for a second term, losing in the Democratic primary to first-time candidate Lydia York.
York, a lawyer and CPA from Pike Creek, defeated the incumbent from Rehoboth Beach. With 93% of precincts reporting results, York had 70% of the vote and the incumbent only 30%.
McGuiness’s removal from office by Gov. John Carney is imminent after her sentencing, at a date that the judge has not yet scheduled. But had she won the primary against York and defeated Republican first-time candidate Janice Noorah in the November general election, she would have returned to office on Jan. 4.
But on Tuesday, voters resoundingly rejected McGuiness’s attempt to keep the post. One was Myrna Nurse who cast her vote earlier in the day near Glasgow.
“We have to appreciate accountability. We have to appreciate that when someone is elected to an office, that is a trust that we the people give them,” Nurse said. When “anyone at whatever level of governance becomes abusive of that trust, that person has surrendered their right to a public office.”
York could not immediately be reached but McGuiness was gracious in defeat.
“I’m actually leaving this on a positive note,’’ she said in a phone interview about 9:30 p.m., just as she was about to call York to offer her congratulations. “I have a spectacular team and the most outstanding, dedicated volunteers.”
Asked about her future plans, the former Rehoboth Beach commissioner said she will “continue to serve the public in some sort of fashion, as I have long before I was state auditor.”
Coby Owens, the state Democratic party vice chairman, said York “was able to make the case for transparency and accountability for the office. I think the Delaware voters have seen what’s going on and they have spoken.”
Owens called York “immensely qualified’’ and said she’s “willing to put in the work and restore trust in the office” that oversees spending by state agencies and school districts. “With everything that’s going on with the [criminal case against McGuiness] voters wanted to change direction.”
One of those early voters, Michael Dorsey, said he liked both McGuiness and York, but that the incumbent’s criminal troubles “made me change my mind as far as supporting her.”