DOVER — The field is set for Delaware’s April 26 presidential primary, with eight active candidates filing with the state.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the last candidate to file, doing so Friday just a few hours before the deadline. She joins Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and businessman Roque De La Fuenta in the Democratic primary.
On the Republican side, six candidates have filed, although former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has since dropped out. Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson are currently the options for Delaware Republicans.
However, with two months to go, some of the candidates could end their campaigns before voters in the First State cast ballots.
Friday was also the last day to change party registration in advance of the primary. Because Delaware uses a closed system, Democrats can only vote for Democrats and Republicans can only vote for Republicans. Those registered unaffiliated cannot participate.
Delaware residents have until April 2 to register to vote.
Delaware GOP Chairman Charlie Copeland said there’s been a little more energy around the primary than normal. That’s a fact he attributes to Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump has won three of the four primaries so far, and Mr. Copeland believes he’s attracted some voters who might not otherwise have voted Republican.
“Maybe three dozen people” have come to party headquarters and said they are not Republicans but want signs showing their support for Mr. Trump, Mr. Copeland said.
“The fact a few dozen people been motivated to say, ‘I want to switch, and I want to vote for this guy’ — that is highly unusual,” he said.
Although registration numbers for February are not yet in, the state had about 309,000 registered Democrats, 183,000 Republicans and 162,000 “other” voters as of the end of January.
In 2008, the last time an incumbent president wasn’t on the ballot, six Democrats and six Republicans filed in Delaware. The state’s primary was held in February that year.