The Delaware Republican Party victory party held at the Rollins Center at Dover Downs was supposed to be a jubilant affair where GOP members would celebrate Mitt Romney's victory, at least one victory among the big, statewide races and the Kent County Republicans would make some inroads in Democratically controlled areas with some young blood. Well, the young bloods could not make a dent, but at least most of the incumbents held, save for Lincoln Willis. That left the GOP feeling, if not blue, a little purple Tuesday night.
Kent County Republicans had some victories to celebrate Tuesday night but lost a few races that put somewhat of a damper on the "victory party" held at the Rollins Center at Dover Downs.
State Sen. Dave Lawson (R-Marydel), State Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Camden-Wyoming), State Rep. Donald Blakey (R-Camden) and State Rep. Bobby Outten (R-Harrington) all won re-election, as anticipated.
And young Republican Jeff Spiegelman won the District 11 seat in a tight race for the seat that moved down from the Wilmington area to the western portion of Kent County due to redistricting.
However, the Kent County GOP's hope to make inroads in other races, despite the Democratic opposition's superiority in numbers, failed to materialize. Namely, Democrat Charles "Trey" Paradee defeated incumbent Lincoln Willis for House District 29, State Rep. Darryl Scott (D-Dover) defeated Republican Sam Chick on his way to re-election and Democrat Andria Bennett soundly defeated Republican Ellis Parrott for the open seat in the House's District 32.
In addition, Republicans Kevin McCarthy and Pat Boyle lost respectively to Kent County Levy Court Commissioner George "Jody" Sweeney and Kent County Comptroller Georgette Williams, both Democrats.
"On Tuesday night we did not do as well as we had hoped," Kent County Republican Committee Chairman Hans Reigle said. "Without a doubt, Sussex County has become the stronghold of the Delaware GOP. It was the only county in which Mitt Romney won the popular vote.
"The Republican Party is outnumbered here in Kent County and we did not get as much down-ballot support among Democrats and independents as we would have liked from the Romney ticket," he said. "However, there were some success stories. Almost all of our incumbents were able to hold their seats and we won the newly created 11th Representative District race."
In addition, several candidates under the age of 30 ran solid, respectable races that gave Reigle hope.
"We are going to lean on them in the future to help strengthen the party," he said. "Additionally, we are going to try to expand our voter base by reaching out to young voters and community groups who are not happy with the status quo in Delaware."
As Bonini celebrated his victory Tuesday night, he acknowledged to the Dover Post that Kent County Republicans and the Delaware GOP as a whole had to do a better job of resonating with voters.
"We're in trouble. There's no question about it," he said. "But lots of states have been flipped over the years. It just takes a lot of hard work."