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Republicans hold on to tenuous state House seats in New Castle County

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Delaware Democrats failed to flip several state House districts where they hold a voter registration advantage Tuesday. 

Republican State Representatives Kevin Hensley, Mike Smith and Mike Ramone are all in districts with more registered Democratic voters than Republicans. 

But they managed to hold on to their seats Tuesday. 

Smith won by the widest margin—with 63 percent of the vote against Democrat Luann D’Agostino. He says he’ll continue to focus on local issues in his second term. 

“I’ve spent a lot of time interacting with my constituency and the people that I represent,” he said. “I represent them, I don’t represent a party. And I think when you represent people, that comes across in elections.”

Hensley fought off Democratic challenger Debbie Harrington by a 10-point margin. Ramone, who’s in the most Democratic-leaning district, won his re-match with Democrat Stephanie Barry by 653 votes—slightly more than his 409 vote margin in 2018. 

Hensley says his top priority for his next term is dealing with the pandemic.

“We need to come up with a game plan— I say we, collectively, across party lines— how to effectively provide assistance to a lot of the businesses still struggling,” he said. 

Hensley also plans to continue to focus on education.

Democrats did not pick up any seats in the House to add to their existing majority, but three blue House seats went more progressive after primary upsets in September.

Larry Lambert won the 7th House District race. Eric Morrison, the first openly gay candidate elected to the General Assembly, won the 27th House District. Madinah Wilson-Anton, who will be Delaware’s first practicing Muslim lawmaker, won the 26th House District. All three are backed by the progressive Working Families Party.

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.
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