Delaware Public Media

Delaware special election gets national attention

Feb 12, 2017

With less than two weeks left until a special election deciding control of the state Senate, candidates are intensifying efforts to draw people out to the polls.

Those in the 10th Senate District might’ve gotten a surprise over the weekend. Former Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley helped knock doors to support Stephanie Hansen.

While O’Malley himself might not sway voters with his presence, University of Delaware political science chair David Redlawsk says he can inspire volunteers to potentially drive turnout.

“What it does do is get the troops excited – the folks who are going out and knocking on the door – and it brings in the publicity that, especially in a special election, is really important,” Redlawsk said.

Hansen, Republican John Marino and Libertarian Joseph Lanzendorfer have all filed for the crucial seat.

The campaigns have been a sprint more than a month now, with nearly every elected official contributing their time or money to the effort.

Lawmakers have even muzzled themselves to an extent – holding back controversial bills until voters decide control of the Senate.

Candidates say much of what they’ve heard when speaking with residents have been national issues instead of local and state concerns, which isn’t a shock to Redlawsk.

“It’s coming right after Donald Trump is inaugurated, we have all kinds of controversies going on at the national level and that’s going to be reflected here,” he said.

Democrats and Republicans currently split the Senate 10-10 after the inauguration of Bethany Hall-Long as lieutenant governor.

Voters head to the polls Feb. 25.