Democratic candidate Russ Huxtable saw a lot of enthusiasm Nov. 8 while traveling to polling places throughout the 6th Senate District. That enthusiasm pushed the election in favor of the Lewes newcomer who beat Republican Steve Smyk.
“There was a steady stream of people, not the long lines like you saw in 2020,” said Huxtable at his after party at Grotto Grand Slam.
The unofficial vote count went to Huxtable 14,130 to 13,046, giving him the win with about 51% of the vote.
Huxtable said his first order of business will be to reach out to Smyk and Ernie Lopez, his predecessor who held the 6th District Senate seat before deciding not to run earlier this year. “I’ll reach out to them to work on a transition and get a feel for the district,” Huxtable said.
Even though he is the first Democrat elected to represent the 6th Senate District, Huxtable said he plans to represent all people of the district.
“When we went out door knocking and hearing the issues, they weren’t left or right issues,” he said. “They were issues about the environment, of growth, healthcare capacity, affordable housing. Those are things we want to address in the Senate with sound policy investments.”
This year’s election – the first following the 10-year census that resulted in redistricting the state’s legislative seats – put all of Delaware’s legislative seats on the ballot for election.
With Huxtable’s win, Democrats flipped the Republican seat previously held by Lopez, and solidified strong control of the state Senate. Democrats now have 15 seats in the Senate, compared to six held by Republicans. There are no Republican senators above the canal, two in Kent County, one whose district straddles Kent and Sussex counties, and four in Sussex County. On the House side, there are only two Republicans above the canal.
In the race for House of Representatives District 20, the seat held by Smyk before running for the Senate seat, Democrat Stell Parker Selby beat Republican challenger Dallas Wingate 6,634 to 6,264 with about 51% of the vote.
Parker Selby addressed a room full of supporters who had gathered at Irish Eyes in Lewes moments after it was announced she had secured the victory. She began by thanking her parents for being good role models and then the people on her campaign team.
A career educator, Parker Selby said she thought her life of having a positive effect on other people’s lives had passed. There’s still more to do, she said.
Parker Selby is the first person of color to win a seat at the state level from Sussex County. She said she recognized the historical significance, but wouldn’t let it define her future as a legislator.
“I love people of all colors, and I promise to do my best working for everyone in RD 20,” said Parker Selby.
Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, easily won re-election 8,455 to 4,542, collecting 65% of the vote in District 14.
In Representative District 4, a new area in Sussex County due to redistricting, Republican Jeff Hilovsky won 6,663 to 4,610 with about 57% of the vote over Democrat challenger Keegan Worley.
Despite Hilovsky’s win, the number of Republicans in the House will stay the same due to Parker Selby flipping the 20th District seat. Democrats maintain a majority in the House with 25 seats, compared to 15 held by Republicans.
For Sussex County Council District 5, incumbent Republican John Rieley handily defeated Democrat challenger Billy Edwards 10,629 to 6,124. In District 4, incumbent Republican Doug Hudson won by a similar margin over Nathan Mitchell 15,186 to 8,668.
In statewide races, Democrats swept the ticket as Lisa Blunt Rochester won re-election to Congress, Kathy Jennings will remain attorney general, Colleen Davis retains the state treasurer office and newcomer Lydia York will become state auditor.
Republican Sheriff Robert Lee won by a landslide over challenger James Brittingham 61,644 to 12,884, garnering nearly 83% of the vote.
In two uncontested races, Republican Greg Fuller won the Sussex County Register of Wills seat and Republican Alexandra Reed Baker won the Sussex County Recorder of Deeds office.