Four years ago the turnout was 14% statewide for the Democratic primary when the only statewide race was Insurance Commissioner.In 2002 and 2006 the U.S Representative seat was the only statewide primary and the turnout was 8% and 7%, respectively. 2000 offered no statewide races, but included a contested mayor’s race in Wilmington and a county council president’s race in New Castle County. The turnout in 2000 was 11% statewide.
With US Representative, Governor, Insurance Commissioner, New Castle County Executive, New Castle County Council President all having primary contests along with multiple local contests, I think the turnout will be higher than any of the last four primaries.
The presidential primary contested by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton featured the first person of color and the first woman to have a serious chance to obtain the nomination of a major party. In Delaware it also featured the state’s six term senator, Joe Biden. These factors contributed to boost the voting in the presidential primary to 38%.
While John Carney and Jack Markell both bring experience and personal qualities to the ballot in the Governor’s race, electing either of them will not be the kind of milestone that was created in the Obama-Clinton struggle. None of the other races on the ballot Tuesday resembles a historic achievement and most of them have not drawn a significant amount of media attention in the way of drama that might push turnout in a dramatic way.
I think the statewide turnout will be in the 18-22% range, so I will split the difference and say turnout will be 20% .