Regular Primary Season Ends in Delaware, Adding One to Record Number of Women House Nominees


Congressional primaries were held on Tuesday in Delaware. Full context about women in the 2020 elections, including candidate lists, summaries, results from previous primaries, and historical comparisons, are available via the Center for American Women and Politics’ Election Watch page.

Delaware held the final contests of the regular primary election season of 2020. Women candidates are still eligible for major-party nominations in Louisiana’s 1st and 5th congressional districts, as well as Georgia’s special U.S. Senate election. All of these contests will be conducted as jungle primaries on November 3, 2020.

Apart from potential additions from these outstanding contests, women are:

  • 298 (204D, 94R) nominees for the U.S. House
  • 20 (12D, 8R) nominees for the U.S. Senate
  • 47 (28D, 17R, 2NP) nominees for statewide elected executive offices, including 3 (2D, 1R) nominees for governor

The number of women nominees for the U.S. House far surpasses the previous high of 234 set in 2018, with the potential to increase slightly in November. Both Democrats and Republicans have selected a record number of women House nominees. The previous high for Democratic women House nominees was 182 set in 2018. The previous high for Republican women House nominees was 53 set in 2004. All remaining women House candidates seeking nomination in November are Democrats. In the U.S. Senate, women remain short of the record 23 nominees in 2018; the current number of Republican women nominees ties their current record of 8, while Democrats have not matched their record of 15 Senate nominees.

Among the most notable results for women in Delaware’s primary elections:

  • Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D) – the first and only woman to represent Delaware in Congress – was unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Delaware’s at-large U.S. House seat. Her re-election contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report.
  • Lauren Witzke (R) won the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Senator Chris Coons (D) in the general election. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report. No woman has ever served in the U.S. Senate from Delaware.
  • Julianne Murray (R) won the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Governor John Carney (D). This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report. If successful, Murray would be the first Republican woman governor of Delaware.
  • The general election contest for Lieutenant Governor of Delaware will be between two women. Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long (D) will be challenged by Donyale Hall (R). If successful, Hall, who identifies as both Black and white, would be the first Republican woman of color to serve in statewide elected executive office in Delaware.
  • Julia Pillsbury (R) was unopposed for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro (D).


U.S. Senate

No woman has ever served in the U.S. Senate from Delaware. This year, Jessica Scarane (D) was unsuccessful in challenging incumbent Senator Chris Coons (D) in the Democratic primary. Lauren Witzke (R) won the Republican nomination to challenge Coons in the general election. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report.


U.S. House

Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D) currently holds Delaware’s at-large U.S. House seat. She was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Her re-election contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report.

Rochester is the first and only woman to represent Delaware in the U.S. Congress. She is one of 22 (22D) Black women in the U.S. House.


Statewide Elected Executive Office

Julianne Murray (R) won the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Governor John Carney (D). This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report. If successful, Murray would be the first Republican woman governor of Delaware.

The general election candidates for Lieutenant Governor of Delaware will be between two women. Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long (D) was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. She will be challenged by Donyale Hall (R), who was unopposed for the Republican nomination. If successful, Hall, who identifies as both Black and white, would be the first Republican woman of color to serve in statewide elected executive office in Delaware.

Julia Pillsbury (R) was unopposed for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro (D).

Attorney General Kathy Jennings (D), State Treasurer Colleen David (D), and State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness (D) are not up for re-election this year.