The Final Predictions II: The Delaware Senate

Filed in National by on November 4, 2012

Above you will see all my predictions for the 21 Senate races to be decided this Tuesday. Nine races are basically decided. Six Senators are unopposed completely: Senators Margaret Rose Henry, Bob Marshall, Dave McBride, Karen Peterson, Bethany Hall Long, and Brian Bushweller. Senators Colin Bonini, Harris McDowell, and Patti Blevins only have third party opposition, and all three will win easily. So we are already at 8 Democrats, and 1 Republican. 11 seats are needed for a majority. For the Dems, that means three to go.

In our next category are what I call the contested races. These are the races where both the Dems and the Repugs are contesting the race, but where one candidate, usually the incumbent, is heavily favored to win. Senator Dave Sokola, Delaware’s best Senator, will win, as will Delaware’s next best Senator, Bryan Townsend. Yeah, Christine O’Donnell’s hired thug Evan Queitsch is not much of an electoral juggernaut, not with his main campaign message of Agenda 21. Democrat Bruce Ennis will also win easily over Scott Unruh, although El Som is right again, in that if Unruh puts up a good showing, this will be Ennis’ last race. Republican Senators Lawson and Simpson will also win easily. Representative Hocker will get his long sought promotion. Unfortunately. And Brian Pettyjohn will become the next Senator of the 19th SD. The only way Dr. Jane Hovington could have won is if Pettyjohn remained off the ballot as a write in candidate.

I must digress here for a moment. Delaware’s failed Republican Party Chairman John Sigler, who has presided over the complete destruction of his party as a viable alternative in this state, had this to say about Pettyjohn getting on the ballot all the while ignoring all established election law and statutes:

“I am both shocked and disappointed that the Democrat’s “one-party-rule” over this state would extend to the processes by which we offer the people of Delaware meaningful options in selecting their State Senators,” said John Sigler, Delaware GOP party chair. “While in the beginning I was willing to believe that Commissioner Manlove was acting in good faith, I am no longer convinced of that fact.”

First some background. Indicted and alleged child molester Eric Bodenweiser won the Republican primary on September 11th over incumbent Senator Booth. And then, a couple weeks later, amid rumors of pending charges, Bodenweiser disappeared from the campaign trail. In the meantime, the various deadlines for a candidate to be replaced on the ballot passed without action by Bodenweiser or Sigler. In the meantime, Pettyjohn, on the day of the deadline for write in candidates to file for office, filed his candidacy. And then, days before his indictment, Bodenweiser officially withdrew from the race. At that point, the ballot was Hovington and a write in candidacy of Pettyjohn. The Republican Party was out of time to replace Bodenweiser. Commissioner Manlove was just observing the rule of law in opposing the GOP’s petition and in appealing the lower court’s judgment. You see, rules should mean something. But I suppose if you are Republican rules never apply to you. And as an aside, if the roles were reversed, and John Sigler was Commissioner of Elections and the Democrats were seeking to ignore the law and get special treatment, you better believe that Sigler would cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.

So, sorry for that digression, but John Sigler is a pathetic whining little man, a failure at his job, and he should just shut the f*ck up and be glad the courts saved his ass for reasons passing understanding.

Anyway, where do we stand? Well, the Democrats have already clinched majority control of the upper chamber by winning 11 seats already. The count stands as 11 Democrats and 5 Republicans.

And that is before we even get to what I call “actual races”. More proof that Sigler is a failure in recruiting.

I call the next category “actual races” not to diminish any other contested race. Rather, I do it because in these “actual” races, we really have no idea who is going to win (except of course I am about to tell you who will win). They are toss ups. In these races, El Som and I part ways in how we see these races playing out. El Som thinks Democratic Senator Dr. Mike Katz and Republican Senator Cathy Cloutier will win. I don’t. I predict defeat for both incumbents. I see Representative Gregg Lavelle defeating Katz and Christopher Counihan will defeat flip flopper Republican incumbent Cloutier. I also see future star Nicole Poore unseating Dori Connor in the 12th SD. Yes, I see a lot of incumbents dropping like flies here. And there is a reason. Redistricting has made the incumbents no longer representative of their districts. This is especially true of Dori Connor and Mike Katz.

In the newly created 6th District, unfortunately I foresee defeat for Andy Staton. Apparently, in the last moment, the Victory Fund issued a mailer criticizing Ernie Lopez for his extreme views, and this has apparently pissed off a lot of people in the district. Meanwhile, Bob Venables will win what will likely be his final term in the Senate, and then the seat can go Republican for the next millennia.

So my final prediction on the Senate: The Democrats gain one seat and increase their majority to 14. The Republicans will have 7 seats in the next session.

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  1. Delaware Dem says:

    …and I admit I can be wrong on the Lavelle-Katz race. Recent developments there, which I will write about in a separate post, point to a possible Katz victory now. If that occurs, then the Dems increase their majority to 15 seats, and the Republicans will have only 6.

  2. Pendragon says:

    I think you missed the Ennis/Unruh race badly. Ennis has barely campaigned, letting DSEA send out five or six sloppy mailers instead. A lot of us down here want Ennis gone. He has been dead weight for awhile now. He has lots of politician friends, but the voters are tired of him. Good riddance, Bruce. You will NOT be missed!

  3. Delaware Dem says:

    Ah, Mike Protack is back. Can you believe this internet troll wants to be County Council President? He won’t be, because the good Reverend is going to kick his pornstache ass on Tuesday.

  4. Delaware Dem says:

    Pendragon, like I said, I think it will be a closer margin that will force Ennis out in 2014 or 2016 (whenever his next election is). This is the way it works in Delaware politics. The new challengers runs against the incumbent and loses the first time, coming close, but still losing. And then the next time, the incumbent gets the hint and retires or he or she loses to the challenger.

  5. Pendragon says:

    I think that logic has worn thin on the voters below the canal. We’re tired of the old way. Sending Bruce Ennis home will be a message to the Fire Hall Democrats that we are done with that era.

  6. Delaware Dem says:

    Well, we will see who is right on Tuesday.

  7. Delaware Dem says:

    And it’s not logic or even an argument, it is a pattern. It happened with Rebecca Walker, once a challenger who lost her first race and ran a second time and won. It happened with Mike Barbieri, who lost his first race and ran a second time and won. It’s just the way these things work, and I say that having experienced it.

  8. geezer says:

    Big talk, Pendragon. Unless you’re an active door-knocker for a candidate, I doubt you speak for an entire senate district’s worth of voters.

    How long have you lived down there? Are you a lifer or a recent transplant?

  9. geezer says:

    DD: You can add Kowalko to that list, too.

  10. SussexDem40 says:

    I love that my phrase “fire hall democrats” has taken on life of its own. That being said, I don’t see Bruce Ennis losing. He is an under-rated vote getter who, every time you turn around, has garnered plus 60% of the vote. Unruh will be closer than that, and he has run strong, but Ennis will be there again. I still think the Hovington race will be surprisingly competitive and Lopez pulls away 54-46. Val Longhurst and Earl Jaques also won here seat running the second time against their opponent.

  11. Pendragon says:

    I’m a lifer, Geezer, except for the years I attended college and graduate school. I have seen this area change a lot in the last 10 years. Ennis no longer fits and I think he wishes he had just retired. He is 73, not looking in the best of health, and I don’t think he would even serve a full term. He should have let Rebecca Walker run. That would have been the party loyal and unselfish thing to do.

  12. The Straight Scoop says:

    And Helene Keeley, Earl Jaques and Val Longhurst. All of them ran unsuccessfully before beating an incumbent. On the Republican side, Jack Peterman ran three times (being beaten in a primary once) before winning. Mike Ramone and Danny Short were unsuccessful in Senate bids before winning in the House. Bushweller lost a bid for the Senate before winning in 2008.

    I understand what Pendragon is hoping for here, but it’s WAY more the exception than the rule. The rule is almost exactly what DD describes here. That’s not to say that a major upset can’t happen (see DeLuca in the primary), but I wouldn’t mortgage my house on it.

  13. Andy says:

    ultimately, what was the Chancery Court’s reason for putting Pettyjohn on the ballot if and I agree it was illegal to do so.

  14. Pendragon says:

    The feeling around here is that this will be another race like Dave Lawson in 2010. The only way I see Ennis holding this seat is if he gets the older voters who know him to turn out in full force. The transplants don’t care for him much, and redistricting left him with new constituents he has done little for. He is a has been, and for those of us who remember Jim Vaughn, Bruce is a never was.

  15. The DE election law provides for relief if a candidate nominee is deemed incapacitated.

    Chancery Chancellor Strine and the Superior Court Judge agreed that Bodenweiser is incapacitated and the GOP deserved a ballot entry even though their candidate only withdrew at the last moment and Pettyjohn was a valid write-in candidate.

  16. Jason330 says:

    “(Ennis) should have let Rebecca Walker run. ” I like Walker fine, but don’t you think she’d need to notch a few accomplishments before moving up?

    Also, add Bethany Hall Long to the list of Dems who lost first then won. She was nipping at Dick Cathcart’s heels when she was redistricted away from him.

  17. WWB says:

    I have said from the start that the new 6th SD was drawn to favor Democrats, but a couple of things will likely give Lopez the race:

    1) he’s a moderate Republican, and I think there are a lot of people in this area that would like a moderate as a balance against both the Democrats AND the GOP crazies. Old timers here fondly remember GOP legislators like Gene Bookhammer, who once represented a good part of the area that is now the 6th SD, and they’d love to have a return to level headed pols like him. Lopez looks to be cut out of the Bookhammer mold more than any other GOP’er I have seen in this area lately.

    2) Staton has hurt himself considerably with his “Lopez is an extremist” ads. Nobody I know considers Lopez any sort of extremist. Also, while I hate to think of it, I know sometimes races are decided on the weakest of reasons. Just a couple of days ago an independent friend said to me “have you seen Staton’s tv ads? The guy just doesn’t look right!” Or as I think somebody on another thread here said a day or two ago, Staton looks like that goofy guy from high school.

  18. geezer says:

    “He is a has been, and for those of us who remember Jim Vaughn, Bruce is a never was.”

    If Jim Vaughn, one of the biggest thugs ever to hold office in Delaware, is your idea of a superior legislator, then I hope your assessment is wrong.

  19. Jason330 says:

    There is a big flaw in your logic re Lopez. When has a moderate Republican ever served as a balance against the GOP crazies. I’m not saying you are wrong about how some might rationalize their votes. I’m saying people who think that are out to lunch.

  20. WWB says:

    Jason, I don’t disagree with you. What I was getting at was exactly what you assumed…that people might think that Lopez might be the start of a return to rationality in the GOP.

  21. Pendragon says:

    I guess we knew different Jims. Though from the unwarranted vitriol you spew toward others who do not deserve it, I will take your assessment in context.

  22. cassandra_m says:

    Point of Order, DD! I think you should have made Queitch’s name way smaller in proportion to how much he will be losing by.

  23. duty says:

    FYI – Downes is not running against Simpson. That was 2008. If the party would have supported Downes then that seat would be in the DEM column right now.

  24. geezer says:

    “from the unwarranted vitriol you spew toward others who do not deserve it, I will take your assessment in context.”

    Really? You think the architect of this state’s wonderful prison system doesn’t deserve vitriol? Then piss off.

  25. Pendragon says:

    I don’t think Vaughn gets the sole condemnation for Delaware prisons. There is enough blame to go around, including Bruce Ennis. I guess if you didn’t like Vaughn, you find Ennis even less appealing. Or is this more about closing ranks around the God(awful)father of Smyrna politics?

  26. geezer says:

    I wouldn’t know Bruce Ennis if I tripped over him. Meanwhile Sen. Vaughn went from prison commissioner to head of the Senate prison committee. He was architect and engineer of the system we live with today. There’s no close second-most-blameworthy individual you could cite.

  27. Pendragon says:

    I think you’re dwelling on an issue that does not resonate with voters here. Jim was loved, aside from your pet social issue that few law abiding citizens give a second thought about.

  28. geezer says:

    I’m sure you’re right. So what? I really don’t care what you stump-jumpers think. And our execrable prison system is far from my pet social issue, if you mean that I place it above others. And what of the fact that you seemed ready to engage on the issue until I pointed out that your hero bears a greater share of blame?

    Jim Vaughn was exactly the sort of person I want to see out of office — an arrogant, ignorant power-broker who made sure to foist his progeny onto the public payroll. If I knew where he was buried, I’d be sure to piss on his grave sometime. And you sound like exactly the sort of person who would vote for him.

    You came here to slag Ennis, but you haven’t cited a single issue that would move voters to get rid of him. Booth took a state job. DeLuca did that and more. Before voters turn out an incumbent, they have to have a reason. You haven’t cited any reason for your own supposed opinion, let alone why any of the other voters in the district would join you.

  29. Pendragon says:

    I didn’t come to slag on Ennis. I came to slag.on DD for a lazy prediction. In his Rep district, Ennis was the Godfather. In the Senate district, he has phoned it in. The arrogant presumption that Ennis will carry the day because he is a campaign king would require him to have actually done something since 2007. Jim Vaughn got stuff done. Ennis not so much. Maybe Ennis wins this on loyalty and reputation, faded and withered as it may be. But he won’t win it on his Senate record or campaign effort. Half of Smyrna thought he was already dead.

  30. geezer says:

    “He won’t win it on his Senate record or campaign effort.”

    If those were the requirements for winning elections, you wouldn’t have so many recent and current lawmakers spending 20+ and 30+ years in the General Assembly. When has Colin Bonini ever gotten anything done or expended any energy campaigning?

    I simply think you are making a prediction based on your perceptions rather than the facts — the most salient fact being that absent some sort of issue to spur a rallying cry for change, most people will go with the incumbent.

  31. Pendragon says:

    Issues are for another thread. The justification for Ennis winning was “just because”. We’re not morons down here. Bruce is old and out of touch. If we’re going on “just because” then a poor match for the electorate can make that swing the other way.

  32. Blackbird says:

    I door-knocked for most of the summer in the 14th Senate district, and nearly every single person I chatted with had nothing but good things to say about Bruce and the things he has done for them – and it was not solely older lifers.

  33. Pendragon says:

    As I am involved with one of the candidates who has regrettably hitched their efforts to his, I call nonsense. We were out working hard all summer long and Bruce was nowhere. Very little help, most times nothing. He got his signs up and went back to snoring away. We really could have used his help, because I think DD got another prediction right and I wish he had not. I think that result might be different if Bruce had worked for this election. So I guess that narrows down my identity a bit, but so be it. That’s why I got a bit annoyed with all of the “master campaigner” myth spread by people who don’t live down here. Ha! If he eeks out a win, you won’t believe me, but if he loses you will know the truth. He seemed annoyed by having to campaign at all. He showed up for three weekends last month. That’s it. The rest of the time we were just dropping his leftover push cards from 2010. Phoned. It. In. I will be voting for my candidate despite the odds, but I will enjoy voting against Bruce.

  34. Pendragon says:

    One typo….El Som made the prediction I wish he had not. DD is calling ours the other way, but the party seems to agree with El Som and has shifted their priorities to save Ennis. If you knew the stuff that has gone on in the last two weeks, you would be doing a lot more than armchair predictions.

  35. geezer says:

    @Pendragon: Why didn’t you just say yesterday that you were a door-knocker? That obviously gives you a perspective that armchair analysts don’t have.

    Still, most longtime incumbents don’t lose just because they’re lazy. If that were the case there would be no longtime incumbents in the first place.

  36. Pendragon says:

    Let’s be honest, Geezer. No matter what information someone cites, you find a way to belittle it. You are the King of the Keyboard KO. I preferred to keep my connection close to the vest until Blackbird opened up a can of Pinnochio. At that point I had enough.

  37. geezer says:

    That’s what I love about Delaware: Land of the Pantywaists. What you call “belittling” I call challenging. I challenged you to cite something beyond your perceptions. Rather than do so, you dismissed every point I brought up.

    It’s certainly untrue that “no matter what information someone cites, you find a way to belittle it.” The fact is that once you cited your experience I accepted your argument.

  38. Pendragon says:

    You might find a bit more rewarding dialogue if you didn’t always approach with pants down, bomb bay doors open mentality. Not every discussion needs to be a complete physical. Anyway, cheers to you for standing poised to mark every post that comes down the pike. My dog salutes you.

  39. Geezer says:

    You’re probably right. Please remember that because this is now an influential site, a lot of the people who come here do so with a hidden agenda. Hence the need for the pants-off complete physical.

  40. Dingos8MyGovt says:

    You couldn’t be more wrong about Cloutier/Counihan. If all the undecideds break toward Counihan, she still wins with 55% of the vote. We’ll see tomorrow night. My money’s on Cloutier.

  41. Ed Dwornik says:

    I can’t vote for Katz. He has run a filthy campaign, and seems to have spent all is money on his campaign out side of Delaware with dirty tricks style consultants, running one Willie Horton style photo of Lavelle after another. What a pig! I am an extremely partisan Democrat, but have to cross the isle on this one!

  42. mediawatch says:

    Katz and Lavelle have both been dirty. I expected better from both of them.
    I’m a D too, but I’m going with Lavelle. I’ve known him longer, his constituent service is much better. (Katz’s, in my experience, is non-existent.) And, so what if I don’t agree with Lavelle on many issues? He’s going to be in the minority, so he won’t get much of anything passed, and he’s not the RWNJ that some on this site think he is.

  43. puck says:

    You think Katz/Lavelle is a dirty campaign? Actually it’s pretty tame. Lavelle says Katz missed a few meetings; Katz says Lavelle is a far-right Republican extremist. Not terribly impressive as far as dirty campaigns go.

  44. geezer says:

    It’s not so much that it’s dirty; it’s the pathetic attempts by both camps to play victim.

    This is the unfortunate legacy of the meme that Delaware voters hate negative campaigns: Each side tries to out-victim the other. So Lavelle is outraged — outraged I say! — that Katz says Lavelle wants to cut public education. And Mrs. Katz is even more outraged that Lavelle would make an issue over the committee meetings Katz has skipped.

    Memo to both sides: Boo-fricking-hoo.

  45. cassandra m says:

    If the commercials are any indication, that campaign *is* pathetic. Although I’d love to know if Lavelle was this horrified that Colin Bonini misses so many of his committee meetings, and collects the extra checks all the while moaning for less government spending.

    ps. Not sure what this means, but Dr. Katz has way more signs on Rt 52 than Lavelle does.

  46. geezer says:

    “Not sure what this means, but Dr. Katz has way more signs on Rt 52 than Lavelle does.”

    It mainly means that Lavelle has never had to campaign in Greenville and Centreville before.

  47. Roland D. Lebay says:

    “It mainly means that Lavelle has never had to campaign in Greenville and Centreville before.

    Not so sure about that, geezer. Lavelle signs were all over Hockessin & Pike Creek prior to the hurricane. Pretty sure he didn’t need to campaign there in prior elections.

    I’ll be voting in Centreville tomorrow because I’ve moved in the last 2 years & never bothered to change my license or voter registration card. I think I’ll leave the Katz/Lavelle race blank. I don’t like either candidate.

  48. Bo says:

    Pretty sure signs don’t ever fucking matter.