LEWES — Election 2022’s ballot will not include State Sen. Ernesto Lopez.
Saying he never intended to be a career politician, the 44-year-old Republican from Lewes announced Saturday he will not seek reelection as Delaware’s 6th District senator in next year’s General Election.
“I always wanted to make sure that public service and politics were part of my career, but I never intended to be a career politician,” said Sen. Lopez. “I have been humbled and honored to represent the people of the 6th District in the Cape Region as their first state senator, in that this was a new district in 2012. It has been a tremendous honor for me to serve them. I look forward to continuing to do that for the next 16 months.”
In 2012, Sen. Lopez became the first Hispanic elected to the Delaware Senate when he outpolled Democratic challenger Andrew Station and Libertarian candidate Gwendolyn Jones to claim the new 6th District seat, which encompasses Milton, Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach.
“Which I am very proud of and very pleased,” said Sen. Lopez. “My parents brought us here from Puerto Rico when I was a little kid, and I don’t think they ever would have dreamed that their son would be elected to the Delaware State Senate.”
He looks forward to spending more time with family and continuing his work with the University of Delaware.
“I look forward to making sure my daughters have their dad back again, as they start getting to move into high school and college,” said Sen. Lopez. “And I always want to make sure my parents, who are both going to be turning 75 in a couple of years, know that they have their son there to be with them every step of the way.”
“I’ve been very blessed to have a 22-year career at the University of Delaware. I’m a proud university employee and alumnus,” said Sen. Lopez. “And to be able to continue to serve the university and to put even more focus in my work in the 4H unit, working with children and families, especially as those children and families are coming out of the COVID crisis, it’s going to be something that I really look forward to focusing my attention on and making sure that my students and their families have my complete attention and the support that they need to continue to go on and to grow.”
In 2014, Sen. Lopez defeated Democrat Claire Snyder-Hall and in 2018 he secured a third Senate term, defeating Democrat David Baker.
“I feel very humbled that the people of the 6th District put their trust in me to represent them in the General Assembly as the new state senator. And going undefeated in my elections over the course of this last decade has really meant a great deal to me, in these very divisive political times to have a reputation as a consensus builder and a problem solver … is something that has made me very proud,” said Sen. Lopez.
Although his future post-2022 is mapped out, he has not permanently shut the door to public service.
“I will definitely keep the door open for any other possibilities of public service in the future,” Sen. Lopez said. “But right now, I feel, especially as a member of the Joint Finance Committee and really coming off my most successful year in the Senate regarding legislation and really delivering for my district, I felt as though it was the right time.”