Welcome to the new year! Caution: politics ahead

DOVER — After last week’s lengthy year in review package and in between headlines and deadlines, we mused about what 2016 might offer.

Certainly, politics will be front and center right away nationally — and locally into April when Delaware holds its primaries.

From the Editor logo copy copyA big question is whether we’ll see any of the candidates here.

As you may recall, Mitt Romney — winner of the Republican primary in 2012 — made one brief stop in Wilmington and never found his way downstate.

Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, spent quite a bit of time in Kent County, including a breakfast with the locals at the Hollywood Diner on U.S. 13 in Dover. Delaware was his last hope to make a play for the GOP nomination. He dropped out of the race about 10 days after the Delaware primary.

Delaware presidential primary date is April 26, maybe too late to have much impact in the big picture.

By then, 30-some other states will already have weighed in.

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Thinking about the Republican field, Donald Trump and Ben Carson are the only candidates this editor recalls being in Dover in the past.

Mr. Trump flew into Dover International Speedway in his private helicopter for NASCAR events a few times, including 1999 when he and his staff were exploring the idea of a race track in New York.

Mr. Carson is no stranger to Delaware. He has delivered motivational speeches in Dover and Seaford.

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Perusing through the archives this week, this editor spotted a funny 2011 letter to the editor from Dover’s Irv Levitt.

“The Republicans have a winner if their candidate is Donald Trump,” Mr. Levitt wrote at the time. “Donald would be a no-nonsense campaigner. In the Oval Office, he would exercise his trademark response: ‘You’re fired, you’re fired!’ He would kick, or might kick, all the hangers-on out of the White House, and convert most of the office space into bed-and-bath rentals, with a big neon sign on the West Lawn: Trump’s White House Inn, $170 per nite (he could never spell ‘nite.’).”

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Delaware’s state primary is Sept. 13.

The longest line forming is the Democrats’ pick for the lieutenant governor’s office — vacant for the past year since Matt Denn left it for the state attorney general’s office.

Dems in the running are Brad Eaby, Greg Fuller, Bethany Hall-Long, Kathy McGuiness, Ciro Poppiti III and Sherry Dorsey Walker.

A Republican candidate hasn’t emerged yet.

In the race for governor, longtime state senator Colin Bonini and retired state trooper Lacey Lafferty have stated their intentions for the GOP.

U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del., following the death of former state Attorney General Beau Biden, announced he would run for governor.

Sean Barney, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Mike Miller, Bryon Short, Bryan Townsend and Dennis Williams are Democrats eyeing Rep. Carney’s seat. For the GOP bid, it’s currently between Rose Izzo and Hans Riegle.

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Delaware’s lone congressional seat has been held by a governor-to-be or former governor all but six years from 1971 through 2010.

Rep. Carney would like to join Pete du Pont, Michael Castle and Tom Carper on that list. Thomas B. Evans, from 1977-83, was the only one who never pursued the office.

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We’re anticipating some hot issues in the legislature again this year.

Delaware’s lawmakers likely will debate the death penalty again. There has been talk about forcing a vote to the House floor since a committee voted not to send it forward for a vote.

The legislature may open the session with a fight to overturn Gov. Jack Markell’s veto of the school testing opt-out bill.

Another hot topic of Kent County interest will be gaming-tax restructuring for the state’s casinos. Competition from neighboring states continues to hurt Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway casinos and another casino will open in Prince Georges County (Maryland) this year.

Lawmakers never touched the issue last year.

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Want to take another look at 2015?

All of the front pages of the Delaware State News are available in a video at delawarestatenews.net in the “From the Editor” section.

Also there, you’ll find last Sunday’s “Year in Review” package.

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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