Low-key campaigns in Sussex council races

September 4, 2012

Call it the stealth campaign. Except for a few signs here and there, you wouldn't know there were three Republican primaries in the race for three Sussex County Council seats. There is a lot at stake because the president and vice president of council are involved in the primaries. One upset could change future council decisions on key issues such as growth and the Sheriff's Office.

And don't be fooled by what you read or hear. Although candidates shy away from the subject as much as possible, I'm sure they are getting quizzed by voters about their views on the powers of the Sussex County Sheriff. That topic alone could determine who gets elected.

In District 1, Council President Mike Vincent of Seaford is being challenged by Scott Witzke of Laurel and in District 2, Council Vice President Sam Wilson of Georgetown is running against John Christensen of Georgetown.

Of the two races, the later is a strange one. I've called Christensen several times – he changes his phone message a lot – yet he has never returned a call for an interview.

In District 1, the winner of the primary is the winner of the election because there is no Democrat challenger. In District 2, the primary winner will face off against Gary Wolfe of Greenwood.

In District 3, Republicans Don Ayotte of Georgetown and Brent Wangen of the Long Neck area will face off with the winner taking on Democrat incumbent Joan Deaver of Rehoboth Beach.

Of all the challengers, Ayotte is the only one who has really made his presence felt around The Circle. He has been a regular at council meetings for months and has spoken out several times on various topics during council's public participation section of the agenda.

I'm sure all of the candidates have been going door-to-door in their respective districts to let people know where they stand on the issues. As hard as the challengers work, it's going to be hard to beat the three incumbents who have four years of experience to bank on. Of course, that experience could be exploited as a weakness in some circles.


  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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