Posted: Nov. 16, 2007


With a year to go before the 2008 election, the Delaware General Assembly is already a political battleground.

In the House of Representatives, the Democrats are making a concerted drive to win control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1982. The Republicans currently hold a 22-18 majority with one vacancy, to be decided Dec. 8 in a special election that favors the Democrats to retain the seat.

The Democrats are taking the offense on more than a half-dozen Republican red seats, often with candidates seasoned in 2006. They are on defense for only two Democratic blue seats.

In the Senate, the Democrats are expected to contest three Republican seats as they try to pad their 13-8 majority -- insurance against the eventual retirements of three Democratic senators in Sussex County, the one reliably Republican base in the state.

It is early. The Legislative Watch List will grow and shrink, depending on retirements, recruitment, primary challenges, candidates' performance and all the other unpredictable factors that make politics such a circus.

Here it is for now.



Likely Challenger



10th Senate Steve Amick, R-Newark  

Voters: 30,594

Dem: 43%

Rep: 32%

Other: 25%

Democrats always are talking about targeting Amick, but this could be the year
16th Senate Colin Bonini, R-Dover Harold Stafford

Voters: 27,637

Dem: 38%

Rep: 37%

Other: 25%

Bonini is making noises about running for lt gov, so Democrats are making noises about going for the seat with Stafford, a labor ex-secretary
17th Senate John Still, R-Dover Brian Bushweller

Voters: 26,959

Dem: 44%

Rep: 31%

Other: 25%

Out as Senate minority leader, no longer in the mix for gov, Still has been waning since Bushweller came within 541 votes of toppling him in '04

7th Rep


Bryon Short, D-Brandywine Hundred

Jim Bowers

Voters: 14,630

Dem: 37%

Rep: 40%

Other: 23%


Short beat Bowers in a special election by 227 votes -- worth another shot for Bowers with registration on his side

9th Rep


Dick Cathcart, R-Middletown

Rebecca Walker

Voters: 17,209

Dem: 41%

Rep: 35%

Other: 24%

As the new majority leader, Cathcart brings extra clout to the same match-up he won in ‘06

10th Rep

Bob Valihura, R-Brandywine Hundred


Voters: 15,620

Dem: 40%

Rep: 36%

Other: 24%

The registration recently flipped the Democrats' way, and they want the seat, too

18th Rep

Terry Spence, R-Stratford

Michael Barbieri

Voters: 12,062

Dem: 50%

Rep: 26%

Other: 24%

Spence, the speaker, used labor support to turn back Barbieri in ’06. Unless labor helps again, Spence is threatened

24th Rep

Bill Oberle  R-Beecher’s Lot


Voters: 11,687

Dem: 48%

Rep: 26%

Other: 26%

As a labor favorite and Joint Finance co-chair, Oberle keeps the seat safely Republican unless he retires

27th Rep

Vince Lofink, R-Caravel Farms

Earl Jaques

Voters: 13,477

Dem: 43%

Rep: 32%

Other: 25%


There but for 128 votes, Jaques would have won in ’06 and he is coming back

28th Rep

Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, elected Nov. 3 to the Senate


Voters: 12,700

Dem: 47%

Rep: 28%

Other: 25%

Democrat Bill Carson and Republican Christine Malec square off Dec. 8 in a special election. Rematch in '08?

29th Rep

Pam Thornburg, R-Dover

Trey Paradee

Voters: 14,871

Dem: 40%

Rep: 35%

Other: 25%

Thornburg was unopposed in ’06, but Kent Democrats are feeling frisky. Paradee, an investment broker, is from a Democratic family

30th Rep

Nancy Wagner, R-Dover

Darryl Scott

Voters: 11,897

Dem: 45%

Rep: 31%

Other: 24%

This is Wagner’s first election since slipping onto the Del State payroll. Scott is on the Capital school board

32nd Rep

Donna Stone, R-Dover

Brad Bennett

Voters: 10,903

Dem: 43%

Rep: 31%

Other: 26%

Unopposed in ’06, Stone draws a challenge from Bennett for the seat his dad once had

33rd Rep

Bob Walls, D-Milford


Voters: 12,467

Dem: 38%

Rep: 36%

Other: 26%

The Democrats took this seat in ’06, and the Republicans want it back

41st Rep

Greg Hastings, R-Millsboro


Voters: 14,513

Dem: 42%

Rep: 38%

Other: 20%

Hastings won a special election to keep the seat Republican. John Atkins gets off probation in December and could run, but as a Republican or a Democrat?