Statewide Republican turnout was 8% in the 2006 US Senate primary,but two areas with higher turnout each had a state representative district race to fill a vacancy created by the retiring of an incumbent Republican state representative. These two races appeared to have impacted turnout in the US Senate race since the turnout in the 20th & 33rd districts for the US Senate primary was 856 and 944, respectively. No other district of the remaining 39 districts had a voter turnout higher than 695.
In the 20th Rep District in New Castle County between Newark and Wilmington , 976 people voted in the Representative primary in which Nick Manolakos beat Brian Moore 520 to 356. As of 9-1-2006 there were 5,885 registered Republicans in the 20th,making turnout for that race 16.6% ,over twice the statewide turnout.
Even more telling is that only 856 Republicans voted in the US Senate primary, 120 fewer than the local race, implying the local race is what brought people out to vote.The 20th Rep District made up only 3.3% of the 178,366 Registered Repubicans ,but made up 6.0 % of the 14,386 Republicans who voted in the US Senate primary.
In the 33rd Rep District 967 people voted in the Representative primary in which Ulysses S Grant beat Harold Peterman 496 to 471. As of 9-1-2006 there were 5080 registered Republicans in the 33rd Rep District which has election districts in both Kent & Sussex Counties. Turnout in this state rep race was 19.0%, almost 2 and a half times the statewide average.
944 Republicans voted in the US Senate primary, 23 fewer than voted in the State Rep primary. The 33rd Rep District made up 2.8% of the Registered Republicans statewide, but made up 6.6% of the Republicans who voted in the US Senate Primary.
An interesting contrast is the only other Republican state legislative primary in 2006 which took place in the 14th State Senate District in which John Feroce beat Barbara Allsopp 354-323. This district is near the C&D canal and has election districts in New Castle and Kent Counties.They both were on the November ballot with Feroce as the Republican nominee and Allsopp as the Independent Party of Delaware nominee . Incumbent Democratic State Senator James Vaughn defeated both of them with 59.1% of the vote in the general election.
The Sept 2006 primary only got 677 of the state senate district’s 9557 registered Republicans out to vote or 7.1% turnout, less than the statewide average despite there being both the US Senate race and the state senate race.
The numbers tell what happened,but the question is why. The 20th & 33rd had been represented by a Republican representative prior to 2006.The 20th would continue to be represented by a Republican after Manolakos’ victory over Democrat Richard Korn in November 2006. In the 33rd Grant lost to Democrat Bob Walls,but only by 81 votes-less than a percentage point. I think the Republicans in September in these two districts were more motivated to come out because there was a greater likelihood of success in November.
In the 14th State senate District, they faced a long-time Democrat incumbent and a Democrat registration advantage of 13,527 to 9,557. The Republicans may have had less of a vested interest in voting in the September primary because they had less faith in the outcome in November General election and with good reason.
Registration figures for Sept 2006
Election results for Sept 2006