The Delaware General Assembly appears to have a dozen meaningful races at this stage in the 2010 campaign season, all but one of them in the House.

The more things change in politics, the more the state Senate stays the same. It has had a Democratic majority since Richard Nixon was president.

The state House of Representatives is different. The Democrats only took over in 2008, after 24 years of Republican control, and the Republicans want the majority back.

All in all, the Delaware General Assembly appears to have a dozen meaningful races at this stage in the 2010 campaign season, all but one of them in the House.

As usual, the Senate is out of reach for the Republicans. There are simply not enough competitive races for them to overtake the Democrats, who currently outnumber the Republicans by 15-6.

The House has a possibility of going Republican, but only if a lot of races break their way. The Republican deficit of 24-17 is actually worse than it looks, because four Republican representatives retired, two of them in chancy districts.

Still, if the House Republicans are to regain the majority, this is the time to do it. The voters are in an anti-government, anti-incumbent mood, and the president’s party typically sustains losses mid-term.

Here is a region-by-region rundown of the key races. The Senate has 11 of its 21 seats up for election. The House has all 41 of its seats on the ballot.


6th Rep: Republican Rep. Tom Kovach against Democrat Debra Heffernan

The district flipped to the Democrats in 2004 but went back to the Republicans in a special election in 2008. Anything goes.

7th Rep: Democratic Rep. Bryon Short against Republican July Travis

The Republicans are running a strong campaign, but Short looks solid.

10th Rep: Democratic Rep. Dennis E. Williams against Republican Bob Rhodunda

The Democratic high tide in 2008 brought Williams in. The Democratic ebb tide in 2010 could wash him out.


Forget about it. The city is lopsidedly Democratic with about two-thirds of the voters registered that way. Of the four Democratic legislators up for election, only three of them even have a Republican opponent.


9th Rep: Democrat Becky Walker against Republican John Marino

With the retirement of Rep. Richard Cathcart, the Republican minority leader, this seat is a potential pickup for the Democrats.

18th Rep: Democratic Rep. Mike Barbieri against Republican Terry Spence

Spence, who was the speaker before he lost to Barbieri in 2008, is trying for a comeback. This race is a must-win for the Republicans if they are to return to the majority.

24th Rep: Democrat Ed Osienski against Republican Abraham Jones

Democratic voters make up more than half of the registration. Democrats are counting on taking this seat, now that Republican Rep. Bill Oberle has retired after 34 years.


15th Senate: Democratic Sen. Nancy Cook against Republican Dave Lawson

Cook is the longest-serving senator in an anti-incumbent year. The pressure is on.

29th Rep: Democrat John McCutchan against Republican Lincoln Willis

Republican Rep. Pam Thornburg’s retirement opened up this seat, but there is no reason to think it will not stay Republican.

31st Rep: Democratic Rep. Darryl Scott against Republican Ron Smith

Republicans are making a push against Scott, a first termer, but he appears to be coping with it.

32nd Rep: Democratic Rep. Brad Bennett against Republican Beth Miller

Bennett’s shot at a second term is showing signs of trouble.

33rd Rep: Democratic Rep. Bobby Walls against Republican Jack Peterman

Republicans keep coming after Walls, and he keeps surviving.


36th Rep: Democrat Russ McCabe against Republican Harvey Kenton

This district, where Republican Rep. George Carey is retiring, is deep in the heart of Christine O’Donnell country. Advantage: Republicans.