Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First State voters head to the polls for primary elections

Voters have been heading to polls across the state since 7 a.m. this morning to have their say in local and state-level primary elections.

One of the few voters coming out of the Woodlawn Library polling place in Wilmington around lunchtime was Kathleen, who lives within walking distance of the library.

She says she votes in every election — partially because some of Delaware’s races tend to be decided in the primary.

“Just because of the way the state usually votes or currently votes, that’s why it’s so important to be able to vote in the primaries,” she said.

Around midday, the lawn outside of Bayard Elementary School in Wilmington was crammed with campaign signs and volunteers.

Kia O’Neill, a volunteer for Tizzy Lockman’s campaign, was also at Bayard greeting voters.  She thinks national politics are affecting people’s desire to vote.

“I think it’s been a good turnout today because people are desperate for a change,” she said.

The polling place at Bayard Elementary School is located in the 3rd State Senate and Representative districts.

Tizzy Lockman is facing Jordan Hines in the Democratic primary for State Senate, and Sherry Dorsey Walker, Jim Miller and Paul Falkowski are competing for the Democratic nomination for State Representative.

Voters there also had their eyes on state-level Democratic primary races.

Kevin, who lives within walking distance of Bayard Elementary School, focused on the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Tom Carper and Progressive challenger Kerri Harris.

“I’m interested to see how Carper does,” he said.

“You know I had to vote for Carper,” said Ann, of west Wilmington. “I’ve been voting for him all the years he’s been in there, so why wouldn’t I vote for him?”

Mark, also of west Wilmington, says he was motivated to vote in the Democratic primary for State Auditor.

“Because it’s the first time the Democrats have had a real shot at that race in 30 years, and so I’m hopeful that the Democrats, whoever wins this primary, will be able to unify with the other two candidates and win that seat come November,” he said.

In Dover, voters were filing into South Dover Elementary School Thursday afternoon to cast their ballots for the state’s 31st and 32nd  representative districts.


There isn’t a primary election for the 32nd district House seat.


But in the 31st district, Democrats Sean Lynn and Ralph Taylor are facing off, and on the Republican side, David Anderson is going up against Jean Dowding.


Sales Consultant Paul Quirk came out to vote in the 90 plus degree heat. He says he isn’t loyal to a political party, but votes based on the integrity of the candidate.


“Consistency and truthfulness in a candidate. I’m not much for people flipping parties. I’m not much for people doing what’s convenient. I like people that stick by their beliefs,” said Quirk.


Librarian Patty Hartmannsgruber also made the walk in the sweltering heat to cast her ballot.


“It’s very important to vote in a primary. I didn’t know that as an independent registered voter you could not vote in a Delaware primary when I moved here 13 years ago, so I switched my party so I could vote in the primary,” said Sgerber.


Waitress and Del Tech senior Madison Christensen came out to vote as well.

She says education and mental health are the most important issues to her.


“Kids go through a lot every single day. Mental health needs to be in schools, because everyone needs someone to talk to and it can prevent a lot of stuff down the road,” said Christensen.


Dover’s State Senator Brian Bushweller is retiring and Republican candidates Donyale Hall and Justin King are competing in a primary for the 17th district Senate seat.


The winner will to go up against Democratic Candidate Trey Paradee in November.


But other Dover voters say they paid particular attention to the Democratic and Republican primaries for U.S. Senate, in part because of the current dysfunction in Washington D.C.

Alphonso has been a Dover resident for 62 years.  He says he voted for Sen. Carper because of his concerns over education and job creation.

“You know the challenges, everything. Life is hard right now and the people that’s in there right now, they’re doing the things I want to see happen,” he said.


The winner of the Carper-Harris race will face the winner of the GOP primary election between Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett and former financial services exec. Gene Truno.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
Related Content