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Neal ousts incumbent in House District 13

Deshanna Neal Headshot
Deshanna Neal For District 13 Campaign Committee
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A new face is the Democratic nominee in House District 13 for November’s general election.

DeShanna Neal defeated 16-year incumbent and House Majority Whip Larry Mitchell in Tuesday's primary.

Neal won by just 24 votes in one of the state’s closest races Tuesday. And they say they’re excited to knock doors again- this time to thank their constituents who took the time to vote on Tuesday

“I know I’m not perfect, I never will be. I will make mistakes. But to District 13 my message is that I will do everything in my power to make sure your voices are heard. So thank you for voting for me, thank you for choosing me, and let’s do this,” said Neal.

While this is Neal’s first official dive into politics, they’ve been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ+ and healthcare rights in the First State. And they say their experience as a community organizer and activist showed them that Delawareans and their elected officials need to work together closely in order to bring about change.

“The people are what keep this country going,” expressed Neal. “The people vote, and they vote because they want to see change and they want to see growth. And you can’t know what that looks like unless the people are centered in every discussion. So my platform has always been and will always be people centered, community centered.”

Neal says their fight for expanding rights in the state first began about a decade ago when Medicaid denied their trans daughter gender-affirming care.

After helping to secure the right for her daughter and all transgender and gender-expansive children on Delaware Medicaid to receive healthcare services, Neal went on to help bring protections to LGBTQ+ students in the Red Clay School District.

Neal helped push for policy 8005 last year, which adds protections for trans and gender-expansive youth in the Red Clay School District. They say if they win November’s general election, they want their first focus to be expanding those protections to all Delaware students across the state.

“Because everyone knows when you don’t feel safe at school, you’re not gonna do well. And when we discriminate against one group of students, ultimately we’re discriminating against all students,” Neal explained.

Neal faces Republican candidate Carlucci Coelho in November.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and a graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021