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Delaware cancels GOP Presidential Primary

Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Department of Elections announces the April 2, 2024 Presidential Primary Election will not be held.

Legislation passed in the Delaware General Assembly on Tuesday temporarily changing the state's election code to allow for the removal of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley from the GOP Presidential Primary ballot.

Although Haley suspended her campaign earlier this month, Delaware law did not allow for her removal from the ballot due to the timeliness of her withdrawal.

State Sen. Dave Lawson's (R-Marydel) legislation removes that caveat, giving an automatic primary win to a candidate, in this case former President Donald Trump, if their sole opponent publicly suspends their campaign after the withdrawal deadline.

“There’s no need to run the election, the primary, because both those cards are settled. There’s really no need to go on, and it costs Delaware $1.5 million to run a useless election," Lawson said.

The law will expire at the end of this year.

Delaware Election Commissioner Anthony Albence clarified the Haley campaign sent a letter to the Delaware Department of Elections asking for her name to removed from the ballot, and they would be proceeding with the primary if she had not done so.

The legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers, with only one "no" vote from State Sen. Kyle Evans Fay (D-Talleyville).

"Absentee ballots have gone out for this election — it has started in a sense, and so this really is an extraordinary action, and that is the only reason for my 'no' vote today... I do support the bipartisan work that's being done, I'm just concerned that... we struggle with voter education, we struggle with disinformation and I just can't put a value on clear information, and I think this last-minute change might present some of those confusing pieces," Gay said.

Gov. John Carney signed the legislation promptly after the bill's passage.

Delaware already announced it would not host a Democratic Presidential Primary after President Joe Biden was the only candidate to file in the state.

The Delaware Primary for state officials will still be held on Sept. 10, 2024.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.
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