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Carney, Coons, Purzycki prevail in primary election

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Gov. John Carney and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons were overwhelmingly supported in their Democratic primary election races Tuesday in Delaware, putting them forward for Election Day challenges that are more referendums on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic than anything else.

Most analysts viewed Coons, a centrist Democrat, as the most vulnerable to a primary challenge by progressive candidate Jessica Scarane, but he easily won the race with about 73% of the vote.

In a statement released after his win, Coons, a former New Castle County executive who was elected to the U.S. Senate to replace Joe Biden upon his ascendancy to the vice presidency, thanked his supporters and sought to reach out those who supported his opponent.

“My primary opponent, Jessica Scarane, ran a campaign focused on critical issues such as strengthening healthcare, raising wages, and combating climate change. While we have different approaches, we share the same goals of building a more just, sustainable, and inclusive Delaware,” he said.

In November, Coons will face Republican Lauren Witzke, who won her primary race Tuesday with about 57% of the vote.

Carney earned about 85% of the primary vote, besting a challenge from newcomer David Lamar Williams Jr. The incumbent will face Republican Julianne Murray, who won a six-candidate race with about 41% of the vote, besting the party’s 2016 nominee State Sen. Colin Bonini

In other notable races, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki beat out two opponents to win the Democratic Party nomination, while City Council President Hanifa Shabazz lost to longtime City Councilman Trippi Congo. Democrats in the city hold a virtual lock on the electorate due to a heavy party registration advantage.

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer defeated a challenge from Maggie Jones, earning about 56% of the vote. Meanwhile, New Castle County Council President Karen Hartley-Nagle won a three-way race with 40% of the vote, returning the county’s top leadership to the November ballot.

In statehouse races, the story of the night was the loss by State Senate leader David McBride to progressive challenger Marie Pinkney by several hundred votes. McBride has served in the legislature for decades.

He wasn’t alone, as three Democratic incumbent representatives also lost to more progressive challengers: Reps. John Viola, Earl Jacques, and Ray Siegfried.

The Delaware candidate who perhaps captured the most attention Tuesday was Sarah McBride, who won the Democratic nomination for Senate District 1, held for decades by State Sen. Harris McDowell who recently retired, with more than 91% of the vote. If elected in November, McBride – who has no relation to the ousted Senate leader – would be the highest ranking openly transgender legislator serving in the United States.

By Jacob Owens

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