Shupe wins Republican primary race for House District 36

By Matt McDonald
Posted 9/14/22

Rep. Bryan Shupe will retain his seat for a third time in the House of Representatives, beating his opponent Patrick Smith with about 69% of the vote in the Republican primary in the 36th …

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Shupe wins Republican primary race for House District 36

Posted

MILFORD — With 69% of the vote, Rep. Bryan Shupe is all but guaranteed to retain his seat for a third term in the House of Representatives, beating his opponent Patrick Smith in the Republican primary in the 36th District.

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

The 36th District includes the southern half of Milford, Slaughter Beach and Ellendale.

“I'm really thankful for the people that came out yesterday and voted,” Rep. Shupe said in an interview on Wednesday. “Across Sussex County, I feel like people spoke loudly that they want people who are invested in our community and are doing it in positive ways — instead of negative campaigning and political warfare.”

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.

Mr. Smith told the Delaware State News on Wednesday that the outcome was “probably as expected,” given that he was both a first time candidate and a self-described political “outsider.” He added that the low statewide voter turnout — 16.2% — and the more than 600 people who supported him at the ballot box were indicative of voters’ dissatisfaction with Mr. Shupe and incumbents like him.

Mr. Smith said he intends to run again for the same office in 2024.

“We're not discouraged. We’ll be more organized,” he said, after thanking his supporters. “And we're going to get back on the horse.”

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.

Rep. Shupe said his priorities for the next legislative session include expanding primary healthcare services Sussex County and ensuring Delawareans have access to clean drinking water. Voter roll accuracy and gun rights are also on his list.

Rep. Shupe said he is already talking with some of his Republican colleagues about ways to make sure that their party — which is in the minority in the Delaware General Assembly — will be more productive when the next session rolls around in January of next year.

“We need to start to be more than just a party of ‘no,’ and be the party of solutions,” Rep. Shupe said.

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