Candidates declare for Kent County Levy Court offices

DOVER — It may be nearly 10 months until the general election and eight until the primary, but it’s not too early to talk local politics.

Five Kent County offices are up this year: Levy Court’s 1st, 3rd and 5th districts (Levy Court District pdf map), as well as clerk of the peace and register of wills. At least one of those posts is guaranteed to be represented by a new face in 2021.

Levy Court President P. Brooks Banta announced this week he won’t seek another term in the 1st District seat he was first elected to in 1996.

In his announcement, Mr. Banta formally endorsed Joanne Masten. A fellow Democrat, Ms. Masten is the former mayor of Smyrna.

“I’ve reached the age where I can happily look back at a lot of very positive and creative things accomplished for the benefit of Kent County,” Mr. Banta said.

“As we get older, however, we more clearly understand what we can and can’t do and I feel that the county would be better served by Mrs. Masten at this point. It’s important to elect good people and knowing her attributes the time is right for me to step away and have her do the job that she’s amply qualified for.”

Jody Sweeney, a Democrat who has represented the 5th District over the past 10 years, also made a statement about his political future this week. Unlike Mr. Banta, however, he will be running again.

“If I am re-elected to Kent County Levy Court, I promise to continue great constituent service,” he wrote in his announcement letter. “I promise to question why we have some cumbersome ordinances. I promise to continue to improve the permit process and to make the process friendlier to homeowners who want to make their lives better. I will continue to question where and how your money is spent.”

The current commissioner for the 3rd District is Allan Angel, also a Democrat.

Republican John P. Kelly III filed for register of wills last month.

While no one else has yet to officially declare a run for county office, two others have filed paperwork exploring candidacies. Democrat Austin Auen in August created an exploratory committee for register of wills, around the same time Republican Clint Brothers formed a candidate committee for the 5th District.