Simpler, Wade win in Delaware GOP primary races

A light turnout of just 7 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Republican voters decided who would be on the November ballot.

Kevin Wade easily defeated Carl Smink for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Wade received about 75 percent of the vote.

“The people of Delaware want a square deal from a fair deck, and that’s common sense, and that’s what I’m going to be talking to them about,” said Wade following his victory. “I’m going to be an independent, common sense, get-the-job-done, solution-finder for the people of Delaware.”

Wade, who was defeated by Senator Tom Carper two years ago, will now face Democratic Senator Chris Coons in a November race for the seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden from 1972 to 2008. Wade spent some of his primary campaign time on “fact-finding” trips to Israel and the U.S./Mexico border in Texas.

With so much international turmoil, Coons admits the foreign policy debate will likely play a large role in the campaign with Wade. “Foreign policy, and making sure that we elect a next Senator for Delaware who is strongly grounded in foreign policy should be an appropriate concern for the electorate as we move to the general election,” said Coons.

Four years ago, Coons won the special election to finish the final four years of Biden’s term in a campaign that drew national attention because of a major upset in the Republican primary. Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell stunned longtime Delaware Congressman Mike Castle in that primary, but was defeated fairly easily by Coons.

That race featured unusually large financial contributions from outside Delaware’s borders, something Coons opposes. “I do think it’s important that we get back to a focus on local campaigning, on local voters, on the folks of Delaware deciding Delaware’s future.”

GOP Treasurer’s race

Ken Simpler won the GOP nomination in what was the most watched contest of the night. Simpler beat Sher Valenzuela roughly 54 percent to 46 percent.

Simpler will take on Democratic candidate Sean Barney in the November general election. Barney had an easier night than he ever could have imagined when he first announced his challenge to Democratic incumbent Treasurer Chip Flowers. Flowers dropped out of the race in late August following accusations that he threatened a former coworker’s son. Police cleared Flowers of any wrongdoing.

With no incumbent in the race, Republicans are salivating at the chance to place another party member in a statewide office. “We have become a very deeply, one-sided state and maybe the amount of dialogue that we need in our public offices are not taking place because we are so one-sided,” Simpler said.

In her defeat, Valenzuela found a way to look on the positives. “In fact if I look at what the win is for me of this, it’s raising up that community of voices and raising up that unity, moving away from the division that we’ve known and seeing some collective similarities, some common denominators that we can really wrap our arms around together.”

As for her political future, Valenzuela said she will stay “very actively engaged in changing the terrain of Delaware.”

Democratic Auditor’s race

Auditor candidate Brenda Mayrack won the only statewide primary on the Democratic ticket. She defeated Ken Matlusky with about 55 percent of the vote. Mayrack will take on the only Republican elected to a statewide office in Delaware, incumbent Auditor Tom Wagner.

“The state auditor’s office is important in these tough economic times to make sure that our tax dollars are not wasted, and that they’re well spent,” Mayrack said. She’s trying to unseat the only statewide elected Republican in Wagner, who narrowly won reelection four years ago by about 600 votes.

“The party of the person in the job doesn’t matter, it’s the job that that person is doing,” Mayrack said. “It needs to be done better. These are our tax dollars in tough economic times, and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Delaware voters head back to the polls on November 4 to decide these contests as well as vote for the state’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbent Democrat John Carney will take on Republican Rose Izzo. Voters will also select a new Attorney General as incumbent AG Beau Biden has decided not to run for another term. Lt. Governor Matt Denn is running on the Democratic side against Republican Ted Kittila.

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