Attorney General of Delaware

From Ballotpedia
(Redirected from Delaware Attorney General)
Jump to: navigation, search
Delaware Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $32,227,100
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Delaware Code, 29-25-2502
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Matthew Denn.JPG
Name:  Matthew Denn
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 6, 2015
Compensation:  $145,207
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Delaware Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSecretary of EducationAgriculture SecretaryInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources SecretaryLabor SecretaryPublic Service Commission
The Attorney General of Delaware is a constitutional officer of the state of Delaware, and is the chief law officer and the head of the state department of justice.

The attorney general is elected to a four-year term in the "off-year" state election, two years before or after the election of the governor. The office existed in various forms prior to the ratification of the Delaware Constitution of 1776, which continued the colonial tradition by which the governor appointed the attorney general for a five-year tenure. With the ratification of the state constitution of 1897, the attorney general became an elected office held for four-year terms. It also established the attorney general as third in line of succession to the office of governor, after the lieutenant governor and secretary of state.[1]

Current officeholder

The current attorney general is Matthew Denn, a Democrat first elected in November 2014 and sworn in January 6, 2015. He succeeded Beau Biden (D) in the office.

When he won the attorney general's office in 2014, Denn was serving his second term as Lieutenant Governor of Delaware. He resigned as lieutenant governor in January 2015 in order to begin his first term as attorney general, leaving his former position vacant pending the 2016 election of a successor.[2]


The office of attorney general is mentioned in the state constitution, but its powers are formally enumerated in statute.[3]

Delaware Code, 29-25-2502

There is created a State Department of Justice under the supervision, direction and control of the Attorney General.


There are no required qualifications for the office of attorney general.


Delaware state government organizational chart

Per Article III, Section 21 of the Delaware Constitution, attorneys general are elected every four years in federal midterm election years (e.g. 2014, 2018, 2022, etc.). Traditionally, they are sworn in on the first Tuesday in January in the year after they are elected.


See also: Delaware attorney general election, 2014
Attorney General of Delaware, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMatthew Denn 52.8% 121,410
     Republican Ted Kittila 39.2% 90,257
     Green Catherine Damavandi 4.6% 10,599
     Independent David Graham 2.1% 4,879
     Libertarian John Machurek 1.3% 2,984
Total Votes 230,129
Election Results via Delaware Office of the State Election Commissioner.

Term limits

Attorneys general do not face any term limits.


If a vacancy occurs in the office of attorney general, the governor appoints a replacement who serves until a new officeholder can be elected. (Delaware Constitution, Article III, Section 9)


The attorney general heads the Delaware Department of Justice, which is empowered to, "investigate matters involving the public peace, safety and justice." The department is charged with managing the activities of state detectives as well as all criminal proceedings in the state.[4] The attorney general also serves as chief legal counsel for the Delaware state government and offers advisory opinions to state agencies on request.


  • Civil Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • Fraud
  • Administrative[5]

State budget

See also: Delaware state budget and finances

The budget for the Attorney General's Office in the Fiscal Year 2013 was $32,227,100.[6]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The salaries of Delaware's elected state executives are determined by state law as mandated by the Delaware Constitution. Article III of the state constitution requires that salary changes not take effect until after the current terms of affected offices.

The Delaware State Legislature created the Delaware Compensation Commission in 1984 to determine state executive salaries. This commission consists of six members including two appointees by the governor, one appointee each by the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Delaware State Senate, the current chair of the Delaware Business Roundtable and the director of the state Office of Management and Budget. Commissioners meet every four years to make salary recommendations, which are implemented unless the Delaware State Legislature rejects the entirety of the report. From 1985 to 2013, the commission's report has only been rejected once by legislators, who submitted their own salary increases for executives officials in 1993.[7]


In 2014, the attorney general received a salary of $145,207, according to the Council of State Governments.[8]


In 2013, the attorney general was paid an estimated $145,207. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2012, the attorney general was paid an estimated $143,769. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the attorney general earned compensation in the amount of $137,425.[9] His salary is determined by law.

Campaign finance

Main Article: Campaign finance requirements for Delaware ballot measures

The Delaware Attorney General is responsible for investigating all campaign finance complaints regardless if it involves civil or criminal laws. All complaints are referred to the attorney general from the Delaware Commissioner of Elections after the complaint is received by the commissioner.

The attorney general holds all prosecution and investigative powers towards campaign finance complaints.[10]

Historical officeholders

List of Former Officeholders from 1978-Present
# Name Tenure
1 Gunning Bedford, Jr. 1778–1790
2 Nicholas Ridgely 1790–1801
3 Nicholas Van Dyke 1801–1806
4 Outerbridge Horsey 1806–1810
5 Thomas Clayton 1810–1815
6 James Rogers 1815–1830
7 Robert Frame 1830–1835
8 James Rogers 1835–1840
9 Edward W. Gilpin 1840–1850
10 Willard Saulsbury, Sr. 1850–1855
11 George P. Fisher 1855–1860
12 Alfred Wooten 1860–1864
13 Jacob Moore 1864–1869
14 Charles B. Lore 1869–1874
15 John B. Penington 1874–1879
16 George Gray 1879–1885
17 John H. Paynter 1885–1887
18 John Biggs 1887–1892
19 John R. Nicholson 1892–1895
20 Robert C. White 1895–1901
21 Herbert H. Ward 1901–1905
22 Robert H. Richards 1905–1909
23 Andrew C. Gray 1909–1913
24 Josiah O. Wolcott 1913–1917
25 David J. Reinhardt 1917–1921
26 Sylvester D. Townsend, Jr. 1921–1925
27 Clarence A. Southerland 1925–1929
28 Reuben Satterthwaite, Jr. 1929–1933
29 Daniel J. Layton 1933
30 P. Warren Green 1933–1939
31 James R. Morford 1939–1943
32 Clair J. Killoran 1943–1947
33 Albert W. James 1947–1951
34 H. Albert Young 1951–1955
35 Joseph D. Craven 1955–1959
36 Januar D. Bove, Jr. 1959–1963
37 David P. Buckson 1963–1971
38 W. Laird Stabler, Jr. 1971–1975
39 Richard R. Wier, Jr. 1975–1979
40 Richard S. Gebelein 1979–1983
41 Charles M. Oberly, III 1983–1995
42 M. Jane Brady 1995–2005
43 Carl Danberg 2005–2007
44 Beau Biden 2007–2015
45 Matthew Denn 2015–present

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Attorney General Delaware."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Attorney General of Delaware - Google News Feed

  • Loading...

Contact information


102 W. Water Street
Dover, DE 19904

Criminal Division: 302-739-4211
Civil Division: 302-739-7641
Toll Free Phone: 302-739-1545
Fax: 302-739-7652
E-mail: Attorney.General@State.DE.US

See also

External links