Who will be running for office in 2018?

 

DOVER — It seems like the 2016 campaign just ended — and now, next year’s election campaign season is fast approaching.

Up first, Attorney General Matt Denn and state Sen. Brian Bushweller of Dover, both Democrats, recently made waves by announcing they do not plan to run again, potentially creating a domino effect.

Rep. Trey Paradee, D-Cheswold, said he is “strongly considering” seeking the 17th District seat currently held by Sen. Bushweller. If he opts to run, that would open up his 29th District post.

He expects to make a decision within a few weeks.

Levy Court Commissioner Allan Angel, another Democrat, is also thinking about running. He would not have to give up his Levy Court seat to seek higher office.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen recently posted on Facebook he will not campaign for the Senate.

“Over the last few days since his announcement many of my constituents have come to me requesting that I run for the 17th Senatorial seat,” he wrote. “While I am grateful and humbled for the endorsements from my constituents, my intent is to continue to serve the citizens of the city of Dover as mayor, and then to run for re-election for mayor in 2019.”

The Delaware Senate is currently the tightest it has been in decades, with Democrats holding an 11-10 edge over Republicans.

Sen. Bushweller’s retirement gives the GOP a better chance at flipping the chamber, which has been controlled by Democrats since 1973.

A victory in the 17th Senatorial District won’t be easy for Republicans, however: A little more than half of the 31,000 registered voters in the district are Democrats, making it the most heavily Democratic district located entirely below the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal.

Winning the AG’s office would also be a huge victory for Republicans, who control just two of the nine statewide posts (counting congressional seats).

No definite candidate on either side has emerged at this point.

Former Delaware Attorney General and former U.S. Attorney Charles Oberly, a Democrat, said he would consider running if asked but would first have to seriously discuss it with his family.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, a 70-year-old Democrat who has held elected office continuously since 1977 — 40 years — is now seeking a fourth six-year term in the Senate.

Republican Chuck Boyce, a first-time candidate, has announced his intention to run for the office, and he could be joined by other hopefuls.

At least two state senators already have opponents: Democrat Laura Sturgeon is seeking to flip the 4th District seat held by Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley, and Jordan Hines is primarying Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington, in the 3rd District.

More officials could follow Mr. Denn and Sen. Bushweller in choosing not to run. Four members of the Senate who are up for election next year — not counting Sen. Bushweller — will be least 70 years old by November, as will six representatives.

Rumors are swirling about who will and who won’t seek election, but for now, they remain rumors.

The annual Democratic Jamboree in Lewes will take place Sept. 17, and it could see some Democrats announce their candidacies.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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