Delaware Public Media

State Senate showdown election Saturday

Feb 24, 2017

Saturday’s special election will settle the biggest political question hanging over Delaware: which party will control the state Senate?

Democrat Stephanie Hansen, Republican John Marino and Libertarian Joseph Lanzendorfer, as well as their allies, have raised more than a million dollars combined since December.

All are running for Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long’s (D) open seat that covers the Middletown, Glasgow and Newark areas.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and both Sens. Tom Carper (D) and Chris Coons (D) have stumped for Hansen, most recently in front of the Glasgow Shoprite this week.

Coons says the Democratic Party base is energized – especially after President Donald Trump’s first month in office.

“I think after November’s election there’s a lot of folks in Delaware who are looking at the direction the Trump Administration is taking and who hope that Delaware remains somewhat separate from things that are happening in Washington,” he said.

Hansen counts her volunteers in the hundreds and says says she’s seeing more people get involved in their local district committees that were hardly ever more than half full.

"We’re seeing the benefit of that on this campaign because this campaign is becoming the vehicle to express that new energy."

Marino's backers are also pumped up, saying they're tired to Democrats protesting Trump's policies and cabinet picks, in addition to the local party's control over state government since 2009.

But Marino himself says he hopes voters will solely cast their ballots based on what's best for Delaware.

“Casting a vote out of frustration of what’s going on at the federal level is not the right direction to go,” he said.

Poll are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.