The votes are in!
In a historic election year, Americans have elected the first-ever African-American president and the first-ever vice-president from Delaware, and Delawareans overall contributed to that victory with their own votes, while Sussex County remained a conservative voice. Despite high turnout and some computer glitches that delayed the announcement of results, unofficial tallies of Delaware votes were complete on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 4, and state election officials declared unofficial winners in all of the area’s elections.
• President-Elect Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) topped the presidential candidates in the state with 61.9 percent of the Delaware vote. Sen. John McCain (R) received 37 percent of the vote. Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party) received .2 percent; Cynthia A. McKinney (Green Party) .1 percent, Ralph Nader (I) .6 percent, Bob Barr (Libertarian) .3 percent and Roger Calero (Socialist Workers Party) .1 percent.
Sussex County voters picked McCain over Obama, by a modest margin of 47,939 to 40,299, while voters in Kent County favored Obama by a nearly identical margin. But voters in New Castle County strongly favored Obama.
• Despite running a dual campaign, U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D) easily defeated Christine O’Donnell (R) in his bid for re-election to his Senate seat, with a strong showing of 64.7 to 35.5 percent of the vote. Biden, who is also now the vice-president-elect of the United States, is now expected to be replaced as one of the state’s two U.S. senators in the coming weeks, with an appointment by outgoing Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.
Biden edged O’Donnell with Sussex County voters, netting victory in the southernmost county of the state by just 272 votes, though he won handily in the two other counties.
• Incumbent U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle (R) soundly defeated opponents Karen Hartley-Nagle (D) and Mark Anthony Parks (L) in his re-election bid. Castle recorded 61.1 percent of the vote, to O’Donnell’s 38 percent and Parks’ .9 percent. He was favored by voters in all three Delaware counties.
• Democrat Jack Markell defeated William Swain Lee (R) and Jeffrey Brown (Blue Enigma Party) in his bid to succeed Minner as Delaware’s governor. Markell also won soundly, with 67.5 percent of the vote, compared to 32 for Lee and .5 percent for Brown. Markell won in all three counties in the state.
• Lieutenant governor candidate Matthew Denn (D) defeated Charles L. Copeland (R) and Peter K. Cullen (Blue Enigma Party) by a substantial margin, with 61.3 percent of votes statewide, compared to 38.7 percent for Copeland and just 92 total votes for Cullen. Denn also dominated the voting in all three Delaware counties.
• Karen Weldin Stewart (dual nominee for the Democratic and Working Families parties) defeated John F. Brady (R) and Tom Savage (I) in her run to become the state’s insurance commissioner, taking a combined 57.5 percent of the vote, compared to 41 for Brady and 1.5 percent for Savage. Stewart won handily in Kent and New Castle counties, but Sussex voters strongly favored Brady, casting more than 12,000 votes more for Brady than for Stewart.
• In the race for Clerk of the Peace, incumbent George S. Parish (R) defeated Gregory Fuller (D) by a margin of 55.6 to 44.4 percent.
• Locally, in the state’s 38th Representative District – comprising the south-coastal areas, Ocean View, Millville, Clarksville and parts of Dagsboro and Selbyville – incumbent Gerald W. Hocker (R) defeated Democrat Mary K. Ryan in a landslide, 72.1 to 27.9 percent.
After the election, Hocker credited much of his success to the people surrounding him and the people of Sussex County who have come to know him and trust him as their representative since 2002.
“I have the strongest, most dedicated campaign team in the state, and I credit their hard work, dedication and commitment to keeping me in office,” Hocker said.
“I was very fortunate that I was raised in Sussex County and own a business in this district, because I get to see a lot of my constituents daily. And I kept my promise that I made six years ago that I would go to Dover and work as hard as I can – not only for the 38th District but for Sussex County – and they have seen me do this.”
• In the 41st Representative District – comprising the Millsboro area, Oak Orchard, Gumboro, Dagsboro, Frankford and parts of Selbyville – former Republican representative and, now, Democrat John C. Atkins defeated the man who replaced him in his seat of five years when Atkins resigned in 2006 amid scandal. Republican incumbent Gregory A. Hasting lost his re-election bid to Atkins by 640 votes, 53 to 47 percent in Atkins’ favor.
•While neither of the local area’s seats on the Sussex County Council was up for grabs this election, the decision of all three Democratic incumbents on the council to not seek re-election this year made for big change in the council’s makeup.
In District 1, Republican Michael H. Vincent was unopposed and received 100 percent of the votes cast.
In District 2, Republican Samuel R. Wilson Jr. defeated Michael R. Wyatt (D), 56.4 to 43.6 percent.
In District 3, Democrat Joan R. Deaver defeated Mark W. Baker by a narrow margin, topping the ballot count by just 331 votes – 49.2 percent compared to 40.8 for Baker.
These new faces will replace outgoing Democratic members President Finley B. Jones, Dale R. Dukes and Lynn J. Rogers, who had a combined 44 years of service to the council.
These results reflected unofficial vote tallies from the State of Delaware, with all precincts reporting as of 10:41 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4. More detailed unofficial results are now available on the state election Web site at http://elections.delaware.gov/results/html/unofresl.shtml. Official results are expected to be certified in the coming weeks with the resolution of provisional ballots and any potential challenges and recounts.
Pick up the Nov. 14 issue of the Coastal Point for coverage of Nov. 6’s Return Day in Georgetown, which is routinely attended by both winning and losing candidates. Biden has not missed a Return Day since first running for statewide office, and security for the event has been heightened this year in case he decides to attend. There is also speculation that Obama might join him at Return Day if he does attend.
Streets in downtown Georgetown, around The Circle, were to be closed starting Thursday morning, opening back up to traffic in a phased manner at 6 p.m. Park-and-ride locations for those attending Return Day have been planned at DelTech, North Georgetown Elementary School and Sports at the Beach, and shuttles were to run throughout the day. Those attending the event were asked to not bring large bags, which would be subject to search. (For more information on Return Day, including updated road closing information, visit www.returnday.org.)