In Dewey, Cooke and Hanson are on the ballot

Dunmyer likely out, leaves one vacant seat for 2017 municipal election
August 11, 2017

Story Location:
105 Rodney Ave.
Dewey Beach, DE 19971
United States

Dewey’s 2017 municipal election is only a month away, prompting Mayor Dale Cooke and Commissioner Diane Hanson to file re-election bids.

This year’s election is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 16. There are three seats to filled – Cooke’s, Hanson’s and Commissioner Mike Dunmyer’s.

Hanson, who filed Aug. 8, has been a member of council since 2008, serving as mayor from 2010 to 2016.

Cooke, who filed Aug. 9 and was a commissioner from 2002 to 2008, was elected in 2015, serving the last year mayor.

Both commissioners cited improving infrastructure in town as a priority.

Looking to sea level rise and flooding, Cooke said something has to be done, and the town should be actively involved.

Hanson said it’s been 50 or 60 years since the town’s pipes have been replaced.

“The town has to grow in terms of infrastructure,” she said.

Cooke and Hanson both recognized there’s a cloud hanging over the town. In early June, 12 employees, including police Chief Sam Mackert, beach patrol Capt. Todd Fritchman and Building Inspector Bill Mears, publicly called for the immediate removal of Town Manager Marc Appelbaum. A complaint with the Delaware Public Integrity Commission was filed June 29, and an emergency injunction was filed in Chancery Court July 13, but it was denied.

Cooke said it’s an issue that’s going to be resolved, but he declined to comment on specifics.

Hanson said she’s not giving up.

“It’s an unfortunate cloud, but clouds pass,” she said.

If re-elected, Cooke said he was interested in remaining as mayor, and, if re-elected, Hanson said she would support him.

“I think I’ve done well,” said Cooke.

Dunmyer said he still undecided, but he said he doubts he’ll be running for re-election.

Dunmyer, who was elected in 2015, said his responsibilities as the father of two college-aged daughters and owner of three businesses are preventing him from serving the way he would like.

“Never say never, but it’s highly unlikely,” he said.

Election information

Voter registration and candidate filing deadlines are set for 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17. Both can be done 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, at town hall, 105 Rodney Ave.

Eligible candidates must be at least 21 years of age on or before the date of the election, have been a qualified voter in Dewey for at least one year prior to the date of the election, have not been convicted of a felony, and meet all qualifications of mayor and commissioners, as specified in the town charter.

An eligible voter is defined by town code as a person 18 or older, who is resident of the town; is a property owner; holds a valid lease for five years or more on property within the town, provided that the lease is recorded with the Sussex County Recorder of Deeds; or is both a settler/creator and trustee of a valid trust that is the owner of real property located within the limits of the Town of Dewey Beach.

Absentee voter affidavits are available online at or at town hall. For more information on the election, contact Dewey Beach Town Hall at 227-6363.

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