DE-State Senate: One More Primary Challenge from the Right

The story of today's Delaware primaries is a clash between establishment Republicans and conservative activists. Besides the prominent races for U.S. Senate and U.S. House, there's another case of that in Delaware's 19th Senate District.
by | September 14, 2010

Special elections were one of the first signs we had that Republicans would have momentum this election cycle. One of the more striking ones was in Delaware. Thurman Adams was a longtime Democratic leader in the state Senate. When he died in 2009, Republican Joe Booth won the 19th District seat in Sussex County.

That wasn't too surprising -- this is a fairly conservative part of Delaware. But, Booth's margin was pretty incredible. He more than doubled-up his Democratic opponent, taking 63% of the vote.

This year, with Booth running for a full-term, how are conservatives thanking Booth for his big win? With a primary challenge from the right, of course. The News Journal has the details:

Incumbent Sen. Joe Booth, a central Sussex political figure for years who won the seat in a special election last year, is facing a challenge from fellow Republican Eric Bodenweiser, a full-time activist and volunteer.

...

Bodenweiser said he sees his role in the minority as exposing liberals in the legislature.

"I think it would be my duty to introduce conservative legislation that could be voted on in order to find out who are the conservatives and weed out the liberals," he said.

Booth said that, as a Republican in the Democratic Senate since last fall, he and his colleagues have provided checks and balances to the majority, mentioning amendments to the cell phone usage ban bill and points the GOP raised about the recycling bill.

So, in addition to the Republican primaries today for U.S. Senate and U.S. House in Delaware, keep an eye on this race as one more clash between the G.O.P. establishment and conservative activists. However, there is a huge difference between this race and the much-watched campaign for U.S. Senate.

In the U.S. Senate race, Republicans fear they'd be throwing away a seat by opting for conservative upstart Christine O'Donnell. In the 19th District, that's not a concern: Democrats don't have a candidate.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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