31st Rep. District: Democrats Lynn and Taylor square off in rematch of 2014

DOVER — In 2014, with Rep. Darryl Scott retiring from the 31st Representative District, two Democrats competed for the party’s nod for the office. Sean Lynn, then a Dover city councilman, beat former Dover police officer Ralph Taylor, garnering about 61 percent of the vote in the primary.

He went on to win election and was reelected in 2016, while Mr. Taylor was elected to the Capital School Board in 2015.

Rep. Lynn is now seeking a third term, but he will first have to defeat Mr. Taylor once again if he is to return to Legislative Hall in January.

Mr. Taylor, 53, is running because he feels Rep. Lynn does not accurately represent the beliefs of the 31st, which covers most of Dover.

“I didn’t feel as though we’ve had balance,” he said, accusing Rep. Lynn of not considering the viewpoints of Republicans and independents in the district.

Sean Lynn

Asked about Mr. Taylor’s claims he is not visible in the community and doesn’t represent the entirety of the district, Rep. Lynn fired back.

“To suggest otherwise is just not supported by any factual basis,” the 43-year-old said.

Mr. Taylor, he said, is a “Democrat in name only,” noting former state Republican Party Chairman and National Rifle Association President John Sigler and the Delaware Foundation For Legislative Action, the legislative arm of the NRA’s Delaware affiliate, are among those who have donated to the Taylor campaign.

While Mr. Taylor admitted without prompting that Republicans are among his supporters, he sees it as a positive.

“I am the only candidate who has both Democrats and Republicans working on my candidacy,” he said.

He differs from Rep. Lynn on a variety of hot-button issues that spark strong feelings among people of all political affiliations.

While Rep. Lynn was a leader in the fight to overturn the death penalty — which was later struck down by the courts — Mr. Taylor said he would be willing to vote for a new statute if his constituents supported it, and unlike Rep. Lynn, who cosponsored legislation to allow recreational cannabis use, Mr. Taylor does not currently support legalizing marijuana.

He did note he might be willing to change his mind if a bill to legalize pot directed most of the revenue toward drug treatment, support for seniors and infrastructure projects rather than the state’s General Fund.

Ralph Taylor

The General Assembly passed a few gun control bills this year, while other, more controversial, ones failed. Rep. Lynn was a consistent supporter of the measures, but Mr. Taylor believes some of them would have been unfair to law-abiding gun owners.

Democrats “were trying to appease the masses and I don’t think that they were well thought-out,” he said of the bills.

He said he would be willing to work across the aisle, accusing Rep. Lynn of failing to compromise or focus on the needs of those outside his core constituencies.

“Mr. Lynn, he lives for the fracturing of our community,” he alleged.

Rep. Lynn called claims of him being too far to one side of the political spectrum or of favoring certain groups “ridiculous,” pointing to his 2016 reelection as evidence residents of Dover approve of his approach. He picked up about two-thirds of the vote two years ago.

Jobs, crime and equal treatment are the top issues on the minds of most city residents, he said, citing funding he has helped allocate to Dover for infrastructure projects and a parking garage as examples of what he has done to boost the city.

“When you’re talking about bringing jobs and economic development to Dover I think you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who’s worked harder,” Rep. Lynn said.

The primary is Sept. 6.

 

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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