Bunting wins big, Booth wins nailbiter in primary races

by Michael Short on September 14, 2010

By Michael Short

Delaware political news was dominated on Tuesday by the upset win of Christine O’Donnell, a win that is being regarded by many as evidence of voter dissatisfaction with moderate Republicans.

But there were plenty of other races in Delaware, including primaries for two local Senate races. In the 19th Senate District, incumbent Joe Booth held off a strong run by Eric Bodenweiser.

The final vote tally had Booth winning with 51 percent of the vote, edging Bodenweiser 2,062 to 1,957.

In the 20th Senatorial District, incumbent George Bunting Jr. had little difficulty defeating Ocean View Town Councilman Perry Mitchell. Bunting received 1,815 votes, compared to only 484 for Mitchell.

The only Sussex County row office being contested was a Democratic primary for Recorder of Deeds. John Brady won that contest with 3,674 votes to Alma Roach’s 2,852 votes.

Booth’s race with Bodenweiser was close all night long. It pitted two conservative Republicans who stressed cutting state spending and reining in government.

Booth  is a veteran legislator who won election to the 19th Senate seat last year after the death of Thurman Adams.  He said he has a proven record of accomplishment and asked voters to consider that.

Bodenweiser may be best known for the string of Bodie’s Dairy Markets begun by his father. He  tried to paint Booth as part of the problem because of the growth of Delaware’s government during his time in Dover.

Booth countered that he has always been a fiscal conservative who voted against this year’s budget because the spending was too high.

Booth and Bunting will not face opponents in November.

Bunting is a veteran legislator, known for his support of manufactured housing tenants. The popular Democrat has strongly supported replacing the Indian River Inlet Bridge and called the economy the most important issue for his constituents.

Mitchell campaigned strongly on jobs and development of a potential wind energy industry for Delaware. He also supported the possible Del Pointe Casino, which was a key difference between the two candidates. Bunting opposed the proposal.

Mitchell said low voter turnout may have hurt his candidacy.  Statewide, approximately 31 percent of Republicans voted compared to only 12 percent of Democrats. “You do what you can,” he said. “If I had another month, maybe things would have turned out differently. . . I felt like I was closing the gap.”

He said that he raised the level of debate in the campaign by bringing attention to issues like the proposed Del Pointe Casino.

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