Candidates in Delaware’s 7th District state Senate faced off in a virtual debate Thursday night.
With no primaries in the district, it’s a head-to-head race for the seat in November’s general election.
Republican incumbent Anthony Delcollo won it in 2016, upsetting the then-Senate President Pro Temp Patti Blevins by just 282 votes. But in a district where nearly half of registered voters are Democrats, Spiros Mantzavinos, a small business owner turned public servant, seeks to flip the seat back to blue this year.
Delcollo is running on a platform of post-partisanship, emphasizing collaboration over party affiliation to get things accomplished.
“We need to move towards people. Not left or right but forward for people. We need to move away from politics and into solving problems.”
But Mantzavinos says while Delcollo claims he’s above partisanship, his record tells a different story.
“I will speak to you plainly and honestly, my opponent will talk. Sen. Delocollo does not share our same values. Do look at his actions when it comes to common sense gun safety, women's rights, working families and expanding access to the ballot box during a pandemic.”
Raising the minimum wage was among the night’s more contentious issues Mantzavinos says he fully supports bringing it up to $15 per hour.
“You know, this wage situation was occurring before COVID and COVID just exposed it and exacerbated it even more.”
Delcollo says increasing the minimum wage shouldn’t be taken lightly. He says non-profits' vulnerability to such a bump needs to be taken into account.
“If we just increase the wage without considering labor costs for our entities that serve those who are most in need. We’re not keeping up with them in the way that we should.”
According to the Pew Research center, two thirds of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Delaware’s minimum wage sits at $9.25 an hour, it was raised last October from $8.75
The two state Senate candidates are expected to participate in more debates leading up to November’s election.