Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Delaware elections in 2014

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July 14, 2014

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2014 Delaware Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

Other 2014 Election coverage
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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

This round of elections features two intersting races. Sen. Robert Marshall (D), first elected to the chamber in 1978, faces primary competition from Sherry Dorsey Walker. Marshall successfully defeated two challengers in the 2012 primary. Marshall was the lead sponsor of Delaware's most recent minimum wage increase.[1] House Majority Whip Valerie Longhurst (D) faces a 2012 primary rematch with James Burton. Longhurst was one of the first legislators to oppose a new gas tax proposal by Gov. Jack Markell (D), with one news outlet calling her "a thorn in the side of fellow Democrats for much of this year."[1]

July 8 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for Delaware State Senate and Delaware House of Representatives. Elections in 20 Senate districts and 120 House districts will consist of a primary election on September 9, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections, Delaware State Senate elections and Delaware House of Representatives elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Democratic Party holds a majority in both state legislative chambers. Delaware's office of Governor is held by Jack Markell (D), making the state one of 13 with a Democratic state government trifecta.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is five seats, or 50.0 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are five districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[2]

Delaware State Senate
Party As of October 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 13 Pending
     Republican Party 8 Pending
Total 21 21

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 13 seats, or 31.7 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 20 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[3]

Delaware House of Representatives
Party As of October 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 27 Pending
     Republican Party 14 Pending
Total 41 41
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Competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In Delaware's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[4]

  • There is one open seat (2.0%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of ten incumbents (20.0%) face a primary challenger.
  • 25 districts (49.0%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing Delaware Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 9.6% 35 10.6% 35 42.3% 32 20.8 44
2012 16.1% 31 18.9% 28 38.7% 37 24.6 40
2014 2.0% Pending 20.0% Pending 49.0% Pending 23.7 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the Delaware State Senate.

Delaware Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
0.0% 20.0% 50.0% 23.3

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In five of the ten districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. Five Democrats are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in five of the ten districts up for election. None of those districts held competitive elections in 2012. One district up for election in 2014 that has only one major party candidate this year held a competitive election in 2012.

Previously Competitive, Now Unopposed

  • District 4: Gregory F. Lavelle (R) is unopposed in both the Republican primary and general election. Lavelle won by a margin of victory of 3 percent in 2012.

Primary challenges

Two incumbents will face primary competition on September 9. Another eight incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state senators facing primary competition are:

Retiring incumbents

All incumbent senators are running for re-election this year.

House

The following table details competitiveness in the Delaware House of Representatives.

Delaware House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
2.4% 19.5% 48.8% 23.6

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 21 of the 41 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 15 Democrats and six Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 20 of the 41 districts up for election. Three of those seats held competitive elections in 2012 with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Four other elections were mildly competitive, with a margin of victory of 5 to 10 percent. Those competitive districts are:

Competitive

  • District 10: The winner of a contested Democratic primary will face Judith Travis (R) in the general election. Incumbent Dennis E. Williams (D) won by a margin of victory of 4 percent in 2012.
  • District 11: Incumbent Jeffrey N. Spiegelman (R) will face Lynne W. Newlin (D) in the general election. Spiegelman won by a margin of victory of 2 percent in 2012.
  • District 41: Incumbent John C. Atkins (D) will face Richard G. Collins (R) in the general election. Atkins won by a margin of victory of 0.8 percent in 2012.

Mildly Competitive

Primary challenges

Eight incumbents will face primary competition on September 9. One incumbent is not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 32 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state representatives facing primary competition are:

Retiring incumbents

One incumbent representative, one Democrat, is not running for re-election, while 40 (97.6%) are running for re-election. That retiring incumbent is:

Name Party Current Office
Darryl Scott Electiondot.png Democratic House District 31

See also

External links

References