Not only did Democrats keep the Delaware State Senate in yesterday's special election, but Stephanie Hansen won by an impressive margin, with pretty good turnout to boot. Maybe Dems will start turning out after all.
In the most expensive special election in Delaware history ― a contest to decide which party controls the state Senate ― Democrat Stephanie Hansen was on track to annihilate her Republican rival on the back of extraordinary turnout.
The last time her opponent, John Marino, ran in this district, in 2014, he lost by just 2 points. Hansen’s 58-42 percent victory over Marino on Saturday ensured that Democrats will maintain control of the state Senate. It also notched a big Donald Trump-era win for a new generation of Democratic activists shocked into action by the November election.
“We turned back that win from Washington and made sure it won’t hit Delaware,” Hansen said in her victory speech Saturday night.
While Hansen’s campaign was focused on local issues, she saw a huge swell of support after nationwide Women’s March protests on Jan. 21. Protesters, many of them out in the streets for the first time, have been turning their energy toward local and state politics. The first major election since the uprising was Delaware’s.
Hansen’s campaign received huge support. More than 1,000 volunteers worked during the course of the campaign, and about 500 ― many from nearby states ― showed up Saturday for Election Day. Hansen received more than 14,000 contributions of less than $100 from small donors spread all over the country.
“That’s more volunteers than I’ve had in nine elections,” exclaimed state Sen. Dave Sokola (D), of Hansen’s Election Day workers.
“It’s overwhelming to see all these people,” said Kelly Wright, a resident of Hansen’s district. “It’s making me emotional to see that people come take a bus two-plus hours away.”
The turnout of volunteers made a huge difference as Hansen crushed her Republican opponent with unusually high turnout for a special election.
Democrats made the mistake of convincing themselves wins like these for the GOP in 2009 and 2013 were flukes, or just local anomalies. Republicans aren't going to make that same mistake, and they are definitely going to be ready to fight back hard. But with Trump at 44% and falling, Republicans are going to have a hell of a time doing that effectively.
Tie everyone to Trump, and the Dems just might come out ahead.