Sen. Hall-Long announces run for lieutenant governor

DOVER — State Sen. Bethany Hall-Long officially entered the lieutenant governor’s race Friday.

A Middletown Democrat, she becomes the sixth candidate in the race, although only two others have officially filed at this point.

She announced her campaign in a morning news release, which included endorsements from two leading General Assembly Democrats.

Sen. Hall-Long, 51, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002 and to the Senate in 2008. Her Senate seat is not at risk in 2016.

Sen. Bethany Hall-Long

Sen. Bethany Hall-Long

She said in an interview she is running because of the “challenges” facing the state and the positive response she claims she has received from constituents and other supporters.

“I really felt it was time to take my skills and use that to help the next governor,” she said. She cited her background in public health and 13 years in the legislature.

Among the top issues that she hopes to address are violence, declining middle-class jobs and the spread of cancer.

The senator, who is also a nursing professor at the University of Delaware, has focused much of her work in the General Assembly on health issues. Nearly all of the 20 bills and resolutions for which she was the primary sponsor in this year’s legislative session were related to health care and medicine.

She is also the chairwoman of the Senate Community/County Affairs Committee and the Senate Health & Social Services Committee.

In September she had formed a candidate committee indicating she would run.

Both the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s seats are open in next year’s election.

Also running for the No. 2 office are Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Brad Eaby, former Sussex Register of Wills Greg Fuller, Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Kathy McGuiness, New Castle Register of Wills Ciro Poppiti and Wilmington Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey Walker. All are Democrats.

With six candidates in the race, the winner in September’s primary could end up with only a plurality, rather than a majority, of votes.

U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del., is running for governor as are state Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover, and former state trooper Lacey Lafferty, who is a Republican.

The lieutenant governor is paid $79,053 annually. One of the duties of the office is to preside over the Senate, a job Sen. Hall-Long did on occasion this year due to the vacancy in the office.

President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins, D-Elsmere, and Rep. Melanie George Smith, D-Bear, both announced their support for Sen. Hall-Long.

“Bethany is a hard-working state senator whose responsiveness has put her on the forefront of issues that impact every corner of our state,” Sen. Blevins said in a statement. “But she doesn’t stop at her district; she has always worked hard to address a multitude of health and wellness issues up and down our state.

“Bethany is known for bringing people together and achieving results on difficult issues, with a focus on providing access to health care, education and economic security for all Delawareans.”

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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