Masten earns big victory, will face Chervenak for Levy Court’s 1st District

SMYRNA — Former Smyrna Mayor Joanne Masten topped Morgan Russum by a vote of 2,431 to 676 today to capture the Democratic bid for Kent County Levy Court’s 1st District commissioner seat.

Joanne Masten

Ms. Masten will now run against Republican Doug Chervenak in November’s general election. They are vying to replace Brooks Banta, who held the seat for 24 years and earlier endorsed Ms. Masten as his replacement.

Ms. Masten won with 78.24% of the vote, including 1,111 cast by machine and 1,320 absentee. Ms. Russum garnered 21.76%, with 287 votes via machine and 389 by absentee.

Rising at 4 a.m. and casting her ballot about three hours later at the Smyrna Opera House, Ms. Masten scheduled visits to the Clayton, Leispic and Cheswold fire stations, Sunnyside Elementary School, Smyrna Middle School, Kenton Ruritan and Kenton School throughout the day. She planned to end the day back at the opera house.

Ms. Masten said her first priority in Kent County is “the economic development, bringing good-paying jobs to the area, businesses whereby people will make a good living, salary, benefits, as well as a career.”

Saying “I back the blue,” Ms. Masten has particular interest in supporting Kent County’s paramedic program, along with police and fire service departments overall.

A lack of Internet connectivity for children attending school remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions is also of great concern, she said.

The victory came after Ms. Masten said she made at least 8,000 calls to potential voters in the district. “There were some areas that I knew less than a handful of people, and they’ve been called twice, especially in Dover, where there are a lot of new developments and people moving to the area.”

Of all the calls made, Ms. Masten said, “I had only one lady, who actually was a registered Democrat, but she told me I was a communist, a socialist, that she wouldn’t vote for a Democrat.

“And I said, ‘Ma’am, I’m sorry you feel that way, and you’re entitled to your opinion but the only thing I can tell you is have a nice day.’ ”