Progressive Democrats knock off several incumbents

Andrea Williams and granddaughter Ari leave the polling site at Seaford Middle School Tuesday. Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe

DOVER — For the second time in eight years, the highest-ranking member of the Delaware Senate has been toppled in a primary. Marie Pinkney topped President Pro Tempore David McBride on Tuesday with 51.4% of the vote as of press time, one of four instances in which Democratic incumbents lost their seats Tuesday.

In addition to Sen. McBride, Reps. John Viola, Earl Jaques and Ray Seigfried all lost to more left-leaning candidates, a sign of the shift the Democratic Party is undergoing.

Sen. McBride, who was first elected in 1978 and had not faced an opponent since 1986, has led the chamber for the past four years. Ms. Pinkney’s win is partially a validation for gun-control activists, who were incensed in 2019 when Sen. McBride kept several firearms measures in a legislative committee he chaired.

Ms. Pinkney will be favored in the general election for the 13th Senatorial District, a Democratic-leaning area around New Castle.

Elsewhere, Madinah Wilson-Anton pulled in 42.5% of the vote to narrowly top Rep. Viola in the Newark-area 26th District he has represented for 22 years. Rep. Viola got 41.4% in a three-way race.

Eric Morrison earned 61.3%, as of press time, to beat Rep. Jaques, who was first elected in 2008, in the Glasgow-area 27th District. In the 7th, which covers the Arden area, Larry Lambert denied Rep. Seigfried a shot at a second term, collecting 59.4% of ballots cast.

In one of two legislative primaries for a Downstate seat, Sen. Bruce Ennis held off Democratic challengers Kyra Hoffner and Terrell Williams in the Smyrna-area 14th Senatorial District. Sen. Ennis, a more moderate Democrat who has been in the Legislature since 1982, pulled in 53.6% of the vote, as of press time.

On the GOP side, Craig Pugh topped Terry Baker to claim the party’s nomination and the right to take on Sen. Ennis.

The 34th Representative District, which covers the Camden-Wyoming area, saw Ade Kuforiji beat Bob Haynes for the Democratic nomination.

Just two seats are being vacated this year, but in one of those two primaries, the winner made history. After pulling in 91.3%, Sarah McBride is poised to become, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the first openly transgender American to be elected to and serve in a state Senate. Ms. McBride is all but assured victory in November in the heavily Democratic 1st Senatorial District, which covers northern Wilmington.

The other open seat, the 8th Representative District in Middletown, had a three-way primary. There, Rae Moore topped fellow Democrats Yvette Santiago and Matthew Powell, finishing with 41.9%.

Voters also picked Kyle Evans Gay to take on Republican incumbent Cathy Cloutier in the 5th Senatorial District, which covers northern New Castle County areas like Talley’s Corner and is one of several seats that could flip this fall. Ms. Gay won a primary against two other Democrats with 56.6%.

Several Democratic lawmakers defeated opponents Tuesday, as well.