Vincent wins Sussex council District 1; District 3 still undecided

One contested Sussex County Council race was determined late Tuesday night, as Republican incumbent Michael Vincent secured a fourth term.

Michael Vincent

Another was in unofficial limbo, pending the write-in tally process.

Councilman Vincent, elected to his first council term in 2008, rode a huge in-person voting advantage to top Democrat Hunter Hastings in the District 1 race.

The outcome in District 3, where Republican primary winner Mark Schaeffer faced a vigorous write-in challenge by unaffiliated candidate Patricia “Patti” Drago was not officially known as of late Tuesday.

As a write-in, Ms. Drago’s name did not appear on Department of Elections online results.

“I know I’ve got at least two because my husband and I voted for me,” said Ms. Drago. “I was told that the write-in makes the counting process a little more complicated.”

Delaware Department of Elections spokeswoman Millianie Bueno said that while unofficial write-in results for absentee and vote-by-mail “were to be made available as soon as possible after election night reporting is completed … the write-in votes that were cast in person will not be adjudicated until (today).”

Mark Schaeffer

Mr. Schaeffer, who edged current council Vice President Irwin “I.G.” Burton by 44 votes in the Republican primary in September, had amassed 16,515 votes via machine and mail-in/absentee ballots as of 11 p.m. He said, by his count, there were about 5,400 machine write-in votes, and, therefore, he is claiming victory.

“So, they have that number. What they don’t have is out of the 5,400 write-in votes … they don’t have the exact number of Drago, Mickey Mouse, Burton, whatever. But even if you gave her all of them, (I’ve) still won,” said Mr. Schaeffer.

“We offered real solutions to the problems that we have in the 3rd District,” he said. “And I look forward to getting to work on resolving our traffic congestion, our sprawl into our farmlands, further providing enhanced financial assistance to our volunteer fire companies and making sure that developers follow the rules.”

Unopposed in 2016, Councilman Vincent, 75, currently is serving his 10th year as president of the five-member County Council. He had an insurmountable cushion Tuesday, 10,890 to 6,060.

“It was good to see the turnout we had. A lot of people went to the polls today and stood in line for a half-hour, an hour or longer to vote, which says they wanted to be heard. And I think they were,” said Councilman Vincent. “I would say getting reelected for the fourth time, I feel good about that I think the people spoke, and they are satisfied with the job I have done so far representing them. And I think they showed that.”

Republican Cindy Green, who topped Robert Wilson and Lisa Hudson Briggs in the September GOP primary, faced no challenge in securing Sussex County Council’s District 2 term. She will succeed three-term Councilman Samuel Wilson Jr., who did not seek a fourth term in hopes his son would secure that seat.

County Council seats currently held by Republicans John Rieley (District 5) and Douglas Hudson (District 4) are up for election in 2022.

Among the state House seats in Sussex County decided Tuesday were the 35th District, as Republican incumbent Jesse Vanderwende defeated Democratic challenger Darryann Harris.

Two Downstate state senators — Republicans Brian Pettyjohn (19th District) and Gerald Hocker (20th District) — were unopposed.

Also facing no political challenge were Republican members of the state House of Representatives: Ruth Briggs King (37th District), Ronald Gray (38th), Danny Short (39th), Tim Dukes (40th) and Rich Collins (41st).

Clerk of the Peace Norman “Jay” Jones, a Republican, was unopposed in a reelection bid.