Lo­cal in­cum­bents un­scathed

Ne­wark leg­is­la­tors re-elected; Smith wins Dis­trict 22 open seat

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By BROOKE SCHULTZ, BRI HEN­NESSEY AND BRETT KOSINSKI

The greater Ne­wark area’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Dover will look largely the same in Jan­uar y as it has for the past two years.

All eight of the re­gion’s in­cum­bent state leg­is­la­tors won re-elec­tion Tues­day, as did County Coun­cil­woman Lisa Diller.

Mean­while, the Repub­li­cans held on to the Dis­trict 22 house seat as Michael Smith nar­rowly edged out Demo­crat Guiller­mina Gon­za­lez for the seat va­cated by re­tir­ing State Rep. Joe Miro.

Dis­trict 22 en­com­passes an area to the north­east of Ne­wark, in­clud­ing North Star and parts of Pike Creek.

Smith earned 50.6 per­cent of the vote, eclips­ing Gon­za­lez by just 140 votes.

“I think I’m still in a lit­tle bit of shock about it,” Smith said Wed­nes­day.

He noted that it’s a hard time to be a Repub­li­can, es­pe­cially in New Cas­tle County, but added it was his goal to run as a mid­dle-ofthe-road can­di­date.

Through­out the day – spent in the dreary weather out­side the polls for 13 hours – Smith said he went back and forth in con­fi­dence.

Con­sid­er­ing how other statewide races turned blue, Smith cred­its his win to the hours spent con­nect­ing with

peo­ple – be that at the gro­cery store on Sun­days, through mee­tand-greets or by door knock­ing.

“It wasn’t just one thing,” he said. “It was a col­lec­tion of things.”

He re­called how some­one noted that he didn’t have the word Repub­li­can vis­i­ble on his cam­paign signs; he said he hadn’t thought about it.

“I’m run­ning to rep­re­sent every­body, not a sin­gle group of peo­ple,” he said.

A Pike Creek na­tive and a grad­u­ate of Wilm­ing­ton Chris­tian School and the Univer­sity of Delaware, Smith works as Di­rec­tor of Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives and Part­ner­ships at the Univer­sity of Delaware’s Col­lege of Health Sciences.

Pre­vi­ously, he was the di­rec­tor of the now-de­funct Greater Ne­wark Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Part­ner­ship, which was a part­ner­ship be­tween City of Ne­wark, the Univer­sity of Delaware and the New Cas­tle County Cham­ber of Com­merce.

While he was cam­paign­ing, Smith noted he was in­ter­ested in see­ing vo­ca­tional and work­force devel­op­ment pro­grams in schools, as well as grow­ing Delaware’s econ­omy.

“We have a great op­por­tu­nity to rein­vent what we are and talk about what we want to be when we grow up,” he said in a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view. “We’ve dealt with so many so­cial is­sues but we’re for­get­ting about the econ­omy.”

Smith said UD’s Col­lege of Health Sciences, which fo­cuses on pre­ven­ta­tive care, is a model for what health­care should be. With his elec­tion, he hopes to ex­pand that model, start­ing by pi­lot­ing a pro­gram for a seg­ment of state em­ploy­ees.

Gon­za­lez noted that she re­spected Smith.

“When we started our cam­paigns we promised that they would end with a hand­shake and a glass of wine,” she wrote in a pre­pared state­ment. “Now I look for­ward to work­ing with him and all the peo­ple of the 22nd dis­trict to keep the con­ver­sa­tion go­ing, find and in­crease our com­mon un­der­stand­ing of the chal­lenges we all face, and work to­gether to build so­lu­tions.”

Smith thanked his op­po­nent for a “hard fought race” that was run solely on the is­sues.

He also thanked Miro for spend­ing time knock­ing on doors with him.

“He’s a good men­tor and I’m hop­ing to be half as good as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive as he was, be­cause he’s been a great rep­re­sen­ta­tive for our dis­trict,” said Smith, who un­suc­cess­fully chal­lenged Miro in the 2014 pri­mary.

“I’m look­ing for ward to rep­re­sent­ing the dis­trict and get­ting started,” he con­tin­ued. “I’m ex­cited to dive in.”

10th Se­nate Dis­trict

Hop­ing to con­tinue her en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives, in­cum­bent State Sen. Stephanie Hansen kept her seat in Dis­trict 10, beat­ing out Repub­li­can can­di­date Chris­tine Met­z­ing to earn her first full term.

Dis­trict 10 en­com­passes the south­ern part of Ne­wark and ex­tends south to parts of Glas­gow and Mid­dle­town.

Hansen won with 62 per­cent of the votes.

“We are all so ex­cited. I am so hon­ored and hum­bled to be able to con­tinue my work,” she said.

Hansen looked back on her yearand-a-half in of­fice with hope for her new term.

“I was mov­ing for­ward all the time,” she said. “You never know when it’s all go­ing to end. I knew I had to do as much good for as many peo­ple in the short­est amount of time pos­si­ble.”

A lawyer fo­cus­ing on en­vi­ron­men­tal and land-use law, Hansen served as pres­i­dent of New Cas­tle County Coun­cil from 1997 to 2001. She re-en­tered pol­i­tics in 2017 when she won a spe­cial elec­tion to fill out the re­main­der of Bethany Hall-Long’s term.

A res­i­dent of the Lake­side neigh­bor­hood in Mid­dle­town, Hansen cre­ated a com­mit­tee to study the loss of na­tive species in Delaware and plans to con­tinue to work on ef­forts to ban the sale of in­va­sive plant species.

While cam­paign­ing, Hansen noted her in­ter­est in in­creas­ing in­sur­ance cov­er­age for treat­ment to help com­bat the opi­oid epi­demic. With her elec­tion, she hopes to fo­cus on im­prov­ing job train­ing pro­grams for prison­ers, which has been suc­cess­ful in re­duc­ing re­cidi­vism.

For now, she is ready to an­swer the call of her con­stituents.

“They’re send­ing a mes­sage of re­jec­tion on the cur­rent fed­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion,” she said.

11th Se­nate Dis­trict

In­cum­bent State Sen. Bryan Townsend cruised to vic­tory against his Repub­li­can chal­lenger Daniel Kap­i­tanic, se­cur­ing his seat for an­other term in the Dis­trict 11 race.

Dis­trict 11 en­com­passes an area south­east of Ne­wark, in­clud­ing Brook­side, Scot­tfield and Todd Es­tates, and also ex­tends to parts of Bear.

Townsend took the seat with 76 per­cent of votes.

“I’m very grate­ful for the sup­port. It’s a strong mes­sage from my con­stituents,” he said. “I’ve been a con­tin­u­ous pres­ence in my dis­trict, and I’ve been leg­isla­tively ac­tive. I think that’s what con­stituents are re­ally look­ing for.”

Townsend, an at­tor­ney from the Tim­ber Farms neigh­bor­hood, was first elected in 2012 af­ter up­set­ting long­time in­cum­bent An­thony J. DeLuca. Af­ter serv­ing a re­dis­trict­ing-short­ened, two-year term, he was re-elected for a full term in 2014.

“At a time when peo­ple are look­ing for no-non­sense politi­cians, even if they don’t agree on the is­sues, that’s what they have in me,” Townsend said pre­vi­ously.

Townsend hopes to ad­dress what he sees as in­equal­i­ties in the way in­fra­struc­ture and schools are funded. While grow­ing areas, like Mid­dle­town, get fund­ing for new school build­ings, older neigh­bor­hoods, like those Townsend rep­re­sents, are left out, and th­ese dis­par­i­ties, he said, are un­fair.

Townsend is look­ing for­ward to the chance to con­tinue serv­ing, he said Tues­day night.

“This is a new slate, which is room for more progress,” he con­tin­ued. “When peo­ple re-elect you, it sends a sig­nal to con­tinue ad­vo­cat­ing.”

21st House Dis­trict

Of the Ne­wark area’s leg­is­la­tors, Repub­li­can State Rep. Mike Ra­mone had the big­gest scare, beat­ing his Demo­cratic op­po­nent by just four per­cent­age points.

Ra­mone won 52 per­cent of the votes com­pared to new­comer Stephanie Barry’s 48 per­cent to re­tain the Dis­trict 21 seat he has held since 2008.

Dis­trict 21 en­com­passes an area north­east of Ne­wark from around Pa­per Mill Road to Lime­stone Road and Kirk­wood High­way.

A moder­ate who even drew en­dorse­ments from some Democrats, such as for­mer State Sen. Karen Peter­son, Ra­mone was able to avoid get­ting washed away by the blue wave that swept Delaware and picked off two prom­i­nent GOP leg­is­la­tors.

As part of the mi­nor­ity party, Ra­mone pre­vi­ously said that he of­ten works with peo­ple across the aisle to ac­com­plish his goals. He has sat on sev­eral house com­mit­tees, in­clud­ing the Joint Sun­set Com­mit­tee; Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, Bank­ing, In­sur­ance and Com­merce, Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Af­fairs, Rev­enue and Fi­nance, Vet­er­ans Af­fairs and La­bor com­mit­tees.

Now re-elected, Ra­mone wants to con­tinue to sup­port small busi­nesses, re­duce state spend­ing and re­duce reg­u­la­tory over­lays. He also wants to use his ex­pe­ri­ence to help sup­port new rep­re­sen­ta­tives, as he was sup­ported by peers when he was first elected.

Nei­ther Ra­mone nor Barry could be reached for com­ment Tues­day night.

23rd House Dis­trict

In­cum­bent Demo­crat Paul Baum­bach was un­con­tested in Tues­day’s elec­tion.

The fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor from the Coun­try Hills neigh­bor­hood of Ne­wark was first elected in 2012.

Dis­trict 23 cov­ers the north­ern half of Ne­wark and ex­tends north to Cor­ner Ketch Road.

24th House Dis­trict

State Rep. Ed Osien­ski emerged vic­to­ri­ous in Dis­trict 24, eas­ily de­feat­ing Repub­li­can new­comer Wil­liam Dilks.

Dis­trict 24 en­com­passes sev­eral neigh­bor­hoods in eastern Ne­wark – in­clud­ing Foun­tain­view, White Chapel and Stafford – as well as Brook­side, Scot­tfield, Chest­nut Hill Es­tates and other sur­round­ing areas.

Osien­ski, a Demo­crat, earned 69 per­cent of the vote com­pared to Dilks’ 31 per­cent.

Osien­ski said Tues­day night he is thrilled.

“It feels great,” he said. “I’m happy to pro­vide my ser­vices to my con­stituents. This sends a clear

NE­WARK POST PHO­TOS BY JOSH SHAN­NON

A poll worker opens the elec­tion booth cur­tain for a voter at Aetna Fire Sta­tion 7 on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

Vot­ers head into the polling place at the Ge­orge Wil­son Cen­ter on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

A poll worker opens the door for a voter at Brook­side El­e­men­tary School on Tues­day evening.

State Rep. Ed Osien­ski greets vot­ers out­side GaugerCobbs Mid­dle School on Tues­day evening.

NE­WARK POST PHO­TOS BY JOSH SHAN­NON

A voter checks in at the polling place at Aetna Fire Sta­tion 7 on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

Vot­ers leave the polling place at Maclary El­e­men­tary School on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

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