Former Smyrna mayor wins Democratic primary for Kent Levy Court District 1

Ben Mace
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Joanne Masten with her husband Jim Masten on primary election night.

Former Smyrna mayor Joanne Masten defeated Morgan Russum of Smyrna 3,083 to 871 in the Democratic primary for Kent County Levy Court District 1 commissioner Sept. 15.

Absentee and mail-in votes totaled 1,437 for Masten to 444 for Russum, while voting at the polls was 1,646 to 427 in Masten’s favor.

“I want my constituents who voted to know I am humbled by the outpouring of support — very, very humbled by it — and I look forward to the November 3 general election,” said Masten.

During her campaign, she said the issues residents mentioned most were bringing jobs to Kent County and increasing internet access and making it more affordable, especially since students need the internet while classes are being taught online because of the coronavirus.

“Another issue I think is really important is the potential reassessment of property,” she said. “There’s no question that has to be done.”

As for attracting jobs, she said she will bring what she’s learned during her service on the Kent County Economic Partnership, including a study that identified the types of businesses that current Delaware companies are looking for to provide services and supplies so they don’t have to look out of state or overseas.

“Medical supplies is one of the key areas identified in the study,” she said.

Because of the coronavirus, she didn’t do any door-to-door campaigning.

“I didn’t want to make anyone sick and I didn’t want to get sick” she said.

Instead, she relied on telephone calls, text messages and interaction on Facebook.

Masten said factors that made a difference in the election include “name recognition, involvement in so many community organizations, my business background and my work as mayor with a proven track record.”

“People know when I get involved, I’m going to give 110 percent,” she said.

What’s next?

There is no incumbent in the general election. District 1 Commissioner Brooks Banta, the Levy Court president and a Democrat, isn’t running for re-election after serving 24 years on Levy Court.

Masten’s Republican challenger in November is Dr. Douglas Chervenak of Smyrna.