Candidates getting early start on filing to run for offices

DOVER — Candidates for elected office still have several months to file, but plenty have already taken the plunge.

As of Friday, candidates were signed up to run for 43 of the 56 state offices that will be on the ballot this fall.

Up for election will be six statewide positions, 10 spots in the Delaware Senate and all 41 House seats.

Delaware’s primary election is Sept. 6, and its general Nov. 6. Democrats will likely have a chance to choose their party’s nominees for both auditor and attorney general in the primary; several legislative seats also will feature primaries, mostly between candidates seeking to replace retiring incumbents.

If the primary election was today, there would be eight primary races, mostly between Democrats, although September’s election will likely feature more races.

The Republican party has yet to put up any candidates for attorney general, auditor and U.S. representative, while Democrats are lacking a candidate for treasurer.

Currently, Republicans control just two of nine statewide seats — auditor and treasurer. With Auditor Tom Wagner retiring, Democrats will have a good chance to claim at least one more office.

Two of the five statewide offices that will be on the ballot Nov. 6 will not have incumbents: In addition to Mr. Wagner, Attorney General Matt Denn is not running.

Currently, incumbents have filed for only two of the 10 Senate seats and 15 of the House seats up for election. That doesn’t mean other lawmakers won’t run — after all, they still have until July 10.

Eleven legislators are not seeking re-election, with six representatives and three senators retiring and two senators seeking to move to the Senate.

Because so many people are retiring or running for other offices, there is guaranteed to be substantial turnover, perhaps even exceeding 2012, when 15 new members were elected to the General Assembly. That was partly a result of redistricting.

The years 2014, 2015 and 2016 combined saw nine legislators leave the General Assembly, with five of those being defeated in re-election bids.

Confirmed to be retiring are Reps. Melanie George Smith, D-Bear; Harvey Kenton, R-Milford; Bryon Short, D-Highland Woods; J.J. Johnson, D-New Castle; Joe Miro, R-Pike Creek Valley; and Bobby Outten, R-Harrington; and Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington; Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, R-Milford; and Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover. Reps. Trey Paradee, D-Cheswold, and Dave Wilson, R-Bridgeville, are aiming for Senate seats.

Delawareans have until May 25 to change their political party affiliation for the primary and until Aug. 11 to register.

Delaware has a closed primary, meaning Democrats can only vote for Democrats and Republicans can only vote for Republicans.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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