The 6th State Representative District faces a Special Election on Dec 20, 2008 due to the resignation of Democratic State Representative Diana McWilliams.
As of 11-1-2008 the Democrats held a 2672 voter registration lead over Republicans.
Locally the Republicans have not fared well since 2004 when Dave Ennis, who had held the seat for several years, stepped down to run for Insurance Commissioner. In the 2008 general election they did not even field a candidate against McWilliams. In 2006 McWilliams won 61.3% of the votes against Republican W. E. Smith (35.6%) and Independent Party candidate Michael Dore (3.1%). In 2004 McWilliams beat Republican Stacy Griggs 5,377 to 4,867.
The Democrats got a head start by selecting their nominee, Michael Migliore, a State House attorney and bankruptcy lawyer, on Nov 20, 2008. Migiliore is quoted in the News-Journal as saying the “door knocking starts today” on Nov 20, 2008. If he followed through with that on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd , he gave himself an even greater headstart. Door to door campaigning is a staple of local races in Delaware and with weekday after-work sunlight nonexistent during this time of year in Delaware, door knocking must be done on weekends. There are only four weekends between Nov 20, 2008 and the Saturday December 20, 2008 special election, so Migliore got a head start on door knocking by being nominated before Saturday Nov 22nd.
On Nov 25,2008 the Republicans announced a candidate in this race, Tom Kovach, another local attorney. Kovach has to offset starting 5 days later in a 30 day campaign and he has to face the reality that Republicans have not won a majority of recent Special Elections.
Between April 2007 and December 2007 there were four Special Elections and the Democrats won three of four with Bruce Ennis wining the 14th Senate Seat vacated by the death of Jim Vaughn, William Carson winning Ennis’ former 28th Representative District seat, and Bryon Short taking the 7th Representative seat vacated by the retirement of Wayne Smith.
The only seat the Republicans won among 2007 Special Elections was the 41st which had been vacated by the resignation of then-Republican John Atkins. In the Special Election Republican Gregory Hastings won the seat,but his 1770 votes was less than the combination of votes for Lynn Bullock as a Democrat (1576) and John Atkins as a write-in (584). This is significant because in the 2008 general election John Atkins was the Democratic nominee and beat Republican Hastings 5665 to 5025, undoing the Repubican success in the Special Election. Out of 9 legislators elected by Special Election since 1994, Hastings is the only legislator to later be unseated in an election. The others still hold office.
Since Title 15, Chapter 34, Section 3402 of the Delaware State Code now mandates that for write-in votes to count, the write-in candidate must file with the Department of Elections as a write-in candidate this is unlikely to be a factor in the future which would makes it more likely a major party candidate would need a majority and not just a plurality. Since the only one of the nine Special Election winners to have won because a write-in candidate siphoned off more than the margin of victory was Hastings.
It is very early in this short campaign,but my initial impression is the race leans to the Democrat.
From the New Castle County Elections Dept website:
Registration figures as of 11/01/08