Delaware House speaker facing opponents in elections

DOVER — The leading lawmaker in the House of Representatives will have to beat challengers from both parties if he wants to keep his seat.

James DeMartino announced Wednesday he plans to file this week to challenge Speaker of the House Peter Schwartzkopf, a Democrat who represents the 14th District, which includes Rehoboth Beach.

James DeMartino

James DeMartino

Mr. DeMartino, a lawyer, lives in Lewes.

“Republicans in Sussex County will unite to defeat Pete this year,” Mr. DeMartino said in a statement. “As a result of the increase in crime, heroin epidemic, increased road congestion, lack of opportunity for our graduates and stagnant job growth, it is time for new ideas and for a vision of manageable growth along with a safer environment.

“Old ideas don’t work any longer. Times are changing and we need to change with it. We need to capitalize on our community strengths of tourism, small business and agriculture to help develop a working strategy for our future.”

Rep. Schwartzkopf, the sole Democrat in the General Assembly from Sussex County, was first elected in 2002 and has served as speaker of the House since 2012.

Don Peterson has filed to run as a Democrat, marking the first primary opponent Rep. Schwartzkopf will face.

Mr. DeMartino said he will file Friday.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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