Primary Election Roundup: New faces in state Senate and Levy Court, Shupe returns to House


DOVER — Kyra Hoffner won the five-way primary in Senate District 14 in a bid to replace longtime legislator Bruce Ennis.

She will be up against Republican Mark Pugh, of Leipsic, in the general election Nov. 8.

Ms. Hoffner, of Smyrna, has worked and volunteered for a variety of statewide organizations for more than a decade.

Most recently, she has been a lobbyist with the League of Women Voters and co-chaired its People Powered Fair Maps Redistricting Team.

Ms. Hoffner’s past work includes organizations such as the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Her platform includes upholding women’s rights, reproductive justice, environmental prioritization, and tackling racial and civil rights.

Sen. Bruce Ennis, a Democrat, is retiring this year at age 83 after 40 years in the General Assembly. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1982 and succeeded the late James T. Vaughn Sr. in the Senate in 2007.

The winner of District 14 will be one of three new Downstate faces in the Delaware Senate.

The list includes Eric Buckson, an outgoing Kent County Levy Court commissioner, who upset incumbent Colin Bonini in District 16 in a Republican primary.

In Senate District 6, Russ Huxtable, of Lewes, won a Democratic Party primary against Jack Bucchioni in a bid to replace Ernie Lopez, a Republican who did not seek re-election.

Mr. Huxtable now opposes Republican Stephen Smyk of Milton.

Harris wins District 32

Since Rep. Andria Bennett did not seek reelection for her 32nd House District seat, a field of four Democrats ran to replace her.

Kerri Evelyn Harris, a U.S. Air Force veteran and community advocate, will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for the 32nd House District seat.

She held off challengers Phil McGinnis, Lamont Pierce and LaVaughn McCutchen in the race to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Bennett.

Mr. McGinnis was runner-up.

The 32nd District is a large and diverse one, stretching from Rodney Village to Kitts Hummock, with Dover Air Force Base right in the middle and areas around Dover Park on the north end and Rising Sun-Lebanon on the south.

Ms. Harris unsuccessfully ran against U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., for his seat in 2018. She joined the Air Force in 2001, just before 9/11, to pay for college.

She will now face Republican Cheryl Precourt in November’s general election.

Hilovsky wins new district

In District 4, the newly-drawn representative district in the state’s redistricting process, Jeff Hilovsky topped Bradley H. Layfield in a Republican primary.

Keegan Worley, of Lewes, is the Democratic Party candidate.

Shupe will return to House

Rep. Bryan Shupe will retain his seat for a third time in the House of Representatives after beating Patrick Smith by more than 37 percentage points in the Republican primary in the 36th District.

There is no Democrat on the ballot for the general election.

The district includes the southern half of Milford, Slaughter Beach and Ellendale.

This was Rep. Shupe’s first time running against an opponent in the primary election. Rep. Shupe is a small business owner and former mayor of Milford. Mr. Smith works in information technology for a health care company.

In interviews prior to the election, both candidates tried to lay claim to being more involved in the community. Rep. Shupe said he is focused on tackling “larger challenges” such as public education and clean water. But he also had to defend his record against the occasional barb from Mr. Smith, who had tried to paint Mr. Shupe as flipping on issues like stricter voter identification requirements.

Outside of Lulu M. Ross Elementary School, which served as one of the polling stations for District 36, issues on a handful of voters’ minds included abortion, crime, the economy and integrity.

“Abortion was the big one for us,” said Kathleen Molitor, standing next to her husband, John Molitor.

“I’m against it, 100%," Mr. Molitor said.

Robert Schaap, a state employee, said that he thinks more needs to be done to crack down on crime. Rising prices have been on his mind, too. Mr. Schaap said his family has had to put off repairing the roof of his home to ensure there’s enough money for groceries.

“Getting expensive to live,” Mr. Schaap said.

New faces on Levy Court

Robert Scott edged Morgan Hudson in the Democratic primary for District 4.

He will fill the seat that Republican Eric Buckson held for the past 12 years.

Mr. Scott will oppose Dennis Norwood, a Republican.

With no Democratic Party opposition, Republican Paul Hertz will fill the District 6 seat previously held by Glenn Howell, a Republican.

With two departures, there will be at least two new faces on the Kent County Levy Court.

District 2 incumbent Jeffrey Hall, a Dover Democrat, will face Republican Anthony Agipiaco Jr. of Dover and Levy Court incumbent Commissioner At-Large Terry L. Pepper of Camden will face Jason Bonner of Camden.

Statewide ballot on Nov. 8

• Democrat Lydia York defeated Kathleen McGuiness in the only statewide primary Tuesday. Her next opponent is Republican Janice Lorrah.

• Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat, is seeking her fourth term. Her opposition includes Republican Lee Murphy, Libertarian Cody McNutt and Nonpartisan David Rogers.

• Attorney General Kathy Jennings, a Democrat seeking her second term, faces Republican Julianne Murray, who ran for governor in 2020.

• State treasurer Colleen Davis, an incumbent Democrat, opposes Republican Greg Coverdale.

Odds and ends

President Joe Biden traveled home Tuesday to cast his votes, opting not to use the vote-by-mail option. ... Almost 12,000 absentee and vote-by-mail ballots had been returned by Tuesday afternoon, and more than 4,800 people took advantage of early in-person voting under a law that came into effect this year, according to a report from the Associated Press’ Randall Chase. ... With 475 of 513 precincts reporting, about 57,400 Delawareans had voted. At that point, the number represented 10% voter turnout.

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