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Milford Beacon
  • Delaware Elections: A look back

  • Take a glimpse into history with traditions and trends at the poles in Delaware since 1950.
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  • In 2010, New Castle County's population determined the outcome of the race between Sen. Chris Coons (D- Delaware) and Republican Christine O'Donnell in one of the state's most notorious elections.
    Even though O'Donnell won both Kent and Sussex counties, Delaware's northernmost county and most populated county swayed the race in favor of Coons.
    Democratic dominance
    Of New Castle County's nearly 385,000 registered voters, more than 196,000 are Democrats and about 95,900 are Republican, according to the State of Delaware Elections database.
    At the polls this year, party loyalty could have already determined the winner of County Executive and County Council President.
    Former County Executive Tom Gordon will be facing Republican Mark Blake, an active civic association leader from Hockessin, for New Castle County's top seat.
    For County Council President, both candidates will be taking a shot at a seat neither has ever held.
    With current Council President, Republican Tom Kovach, campaigning for a spot in the United States Congress, Democrat Chris Bullock and Republican Mike Protack will be vying for votes to lead the council.
    In 2004, all of the winning votes for New Castle County Council and County Executive went to the Democrats, with now Sen. Coons being voted in as County Executive and current County Executive Paul G. Clark winning the County Council President seat.
    In recent presidential politics, Delawareans gave nearly 62 percent of votes to President Barack Obama in 2008 and about 37 percent of votes to former Republican candidate John McCain.
    In 2004, Delawareans voted Democratic, giving former candidate John F. Kerry 53 percent of votes to about 46 for former President George W. Bush.
    In Bush's first run for President in 2000, he lost the Delaware vote to Democrat Al Gore, who received 55 percent of the votes.
    The 1996 Presidential Election in Delaware also showed that residents favored having a Democratic president with former President Bill Clinton receiving more than 140,000 votes and his opponent Bob Dole, 99,000.
    Delawareans also favored Clinton's first win in 1992 at the poles, as Clinton beat former President George H.W. Bush by more than 23,700 votes.
    Signs of Republican strengths
    As a whole, Delaware has more than 100,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, but that hasn't stopped Republican candidates from winning top seats in government.
    But in a January 2011 special election for New Castle County Council President, Kovach beat Democrat Tim Sheldon, receiving more than 57 percent of votes.
    A 2009 special election in Sussex County's 19th Senate District showed the area's prominent Republican presence when Joseph W. Booth took 63 percent of votes, defeating Democrat Polly Adams Mervine.
    Sussex County has the narrowest party gap of all three counties with about 52,800 registered Democrats and 51,300 registered Republicans.
    Page 2 of 3 - When Democrats won the 2008 races for governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. Senator, Republican Mike Castle easily won that year as Delaware's lone U.S. Representative in Washington, D.C.
    Even though Democrats were favored for one of Delaware's Senate seats, governor and lieutenant governor in 2000, Castle won nearly 68 percent of the state's votes to maintain his seat on Capitol Hill.
    In 1992, when Bill Clinton swept into office, Castle beat on his Democratic opponent by more than 112,000 votes.
    In 2010, Castle's long political career ended — but not to a Democrat. He lost the Republican Senate primary election to Christine O'Donnell.
    And of course, before Tom Carper defeated Republican Bill Roth for one of Delaware's U.S. Senate seats, Roth had held the position for 30 years.
    A look back in history
    Records more than 60 years old from the State of Delaware depict an interesting history of political favorites in Delaware.
    In 1940 Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt won the first state's vote receiving 13,159 more votes than his Republican opponent, but residents voted in favor a Republican for the state's Governor. Walter W. Bacon was elected Governor that year with 70,629 votes, receiving more than 9,000 more votes than his opponents.
    The 1944 elections showed the same pattern for these two offices.
    Again, Roosevelt won the Delaware vote by 11,419 votes, and Bacon remained as Governor, this time by only 1,673 votes though.
    Things changed up in the 1948 elections, with first state voters putting a Democratic in the Governor's seat. Elbert N. Carvel was elected Governor of Delaware in 1948 by 10,343 votes.
    The first state's electoral votes still were awarded to the Republican presidential candidate, Thomas E. Dewey.
    Former Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower took the Delaware vote in 1952, receiving 90,059 votes in the first state. His opponent, Adlai E. Stevenson took 83,315.
    Again, Delawareans showed that they favored a Republican Governor, voting J. Caleb Boggs into office. Boggs won Bacon's seat by 7,205 votes over Democrat Elbert N. Carvel that year.
    Archives from 1953 to 1969 were not available on the State Department of Elections website, but when logs pick up in 1970, they show a different story than what the state sees today.
    In 1970, Republicans won the seats of U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Attorney General, Auditor of Accounts, and Insurance Commissioner for Delaware.
    Democrat Emily Womach narrowly won State Treasurer by just 3,094 votes.
    The 1980s
    Like in the 1970 election, voters in the first state showed that they favored the Republican candidates.
    Former President Ronald Reagan won the popular vote in Delaware for president, and again, Republicans were voted in as U.S. Representative, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Insurance Commissioner, and State Auditor. The only exception was a Democrat taking the role again as State Treasurer.
    Page 3 of 3 - Two years later, results became more split.
    In 1982 Carper won his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and fellow Democrat Charles M. Oberly, III became Attorney General.
    In 1984, Delawareans again voted in favor of a Republican president and a Democratic governor. Four years later, Bush Sr. won the popular vote in Delaware and Republican William V. Roth, Jr. won a spot in the U.S. Senate representing Delaware.
    Carper won again in 1988, keeping his seat in Congress.

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