Lieutenant Governor of Delaware

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Delaware Lieutenant Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $5,915,000
Term limits:  2 terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Delaware Constitution, Article III, Section 19
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Matthew Denn.JPG
Name:  Matthew Denn
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 20, 2009
Compensation:  $74,345
Next election:  Term limited
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other Delaware Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSecretary of EducationAgriculture SecretaryInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources SecretaryLabor SecretaryPublic Service Commission
The Lieutenant Governor of the State of Delaware is an elected constitutional officer, the second ranking officer of the executive branch, and the first officer in line to succeed the Governor of Delaware. The lieutenant governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality.

Current officeholder

See also: Current Lieutenant Governors

The 25th and current lieutenant governor is Matthew Denn, a Democrat elected in 2008. He won re-election in 2012 and his current term will end in January of 2017.[1]

Before becoming lieutenant governor, Denn served one term as Delaware's Insurance Commissioner. Before becoming commissioner, he was a practicing attorney and, from 2001 to 2003, chief legal counsel to the Governor of Delaware.[2]


The state constitution addresses the office of the lieutenant governor in Article III, the Executive Department.

Delaware Constitution, Article III, Section 19

A Lieutenant-Governor shall be chosen at the same time, in the same manner, for the same term, and subject to the same provisions as the Governor...


Current Governors
Gubernatorial Elections
Current Lt. Governors
Lt. Governor Elections
Breaking news

Under Article III, Section 6 of the state constitution, the governor must be at 30 years old, a citizen of the United States for at least 12 years on the day of the election, and a resident of Delaware for at least six years on the same date.


See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of lieutenant governors

Delaware elects lieutenant governors during presidential elections, that is, in leap years. For Delaware, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 are all lieutenant gubernatorial election years. Legally, the lieutenant gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the third Tuesday in the January following an election. Thus, January 15, 2013 and January 17, 2017 are inaugural days.

In the unlikely event that two candidates receive the exact same vote tally at the general election, a joint session of the legislature shall cast ballots to choose one-third of the members of each chamber to make up a special joint committee, which will in turn cast ballots for the lieutenant governor. In the even more unlikely event that the legislature is similarly tied, the President of the Senate shall have the deciding vote (§ 4).

Although in practice the candidate for lieutenant governor is nominated as a ticket with the candidate for governor, the offices of governor and lieutenant governor are voted on separately in Delaware. In 1972 and 1984, the governor and lieutenant governor were elected from different parties.


See also: Delaware lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2012

Incumbent Matthew Denn defeated challengers Sher Valenzuela (R) and Margie Waite-McKeown (L) in the November 6, 2012 general election.

Lieutenant Governor of Delaware General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMatthew Denn Incumbent 61.6% 238,959
     Republican Sher Valenzuela 37.1% 143,978
     Libertarian Margie Waite-McKeown 1.3% 5,206
Total Votes 388,143
Election Results via Delaware State Board of Elections.

Term limits

Delaware's lieutenant governor is subject to a lifetime limit of two terms in office.


Details of vacancies are addressed under Article III, Section 20.

The lieutenant governor is the lone officer of the executive who may not be removed, for cause, by the governor. If the office beocmes vacant through death, disability, or resignation, the line of succession is as follows:

  • the President Pro Tem of the Senate
  • the Speaker of the House

However, none of those officers may succeed unless they meet the eligibility requirements for the lieutenant governor.



As in many other U.S. state legislatures, the lieutenant governor also serves as the President of the Delaware State Senate, though he or she can only issue a vote if there is a tie on any vote. The lieutenant governor also has a constitutionally provided seat on the Delaware Board of Pardons.

He has other responsibilities and duties as the Governor shall assign.

State budget

The budget for the Lieutenant Governor's Office in the Fiscal Year 2013 was $591,500.[3]


See also: Comparison of lieutenant gubernatorial salaries and Compensation of state executive officers

The lieutenant governor's pay is set by law and may not be increased or diminished effective during the current term.


In 2012, the lieutenant governor was paid an estimated $77,775. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the lieutenant governor was paid $74,345 a year, the 32nd highest lieutenant gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

From 1901-2011, Delaware has had 25 lieutenant governors. 13 have been Democrats and 12 have been Republicans.[4]

Recent news

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Contact information


Tatnall Building
3rd Floor
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 744-4333

See also

External links

Lieutenant Governor Office website