Delaware Politics and Government

Delaware Politics and Government

The three branches in Delaware's fourth constitution adopted in 1897 are

Delaware Legislative Branch

The House of Representatives with 41 members, elected to a two-year term and a Senate with 21 members, elected to four-year term are the primary components of the Delaware General Assembly. The Governor appoints the judicial nominees and the Senate confirms it. Edward Kaufman(Democrat), Thomas R.Carper(Democrat)are the Senators whereas Michael N.Castle(Republican) is the US Representative of the state.

Delaware Judicial Branch

The number of courts in the Delaware constitution is:-

  • The state's highest court- Delaware Supreme Court

  • State's trial court of general jurisdiction- Delaware Superior Court

  • Corporate disputes- Delaware Court of Chancery

  • Domestic and Custody matters- Family Court

  • Civil and Criminal matters- Delaware Court of Common Pleas

Minor non constitutional courts- Justice of Peace Court and Aldermen's Court

Certain  issues  like corporate disputes, acquisitions, and mergers along with the Supreme Court giving major opinions for corporate law is being adopted by the state with the help of certain Courts of Chancery . Approximately 60% of the companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange are incorporated in Delaware due to its business-friendly legal system. Judicial corporal punishment in 1952, was the latest addition.

Delaware Executive Branch

The Governor of Delaware heads the executive branch, he presents a "state of state" speech annually during the joint session. Presently, Jack A. Markell(Democrat) is the Governor and Mathew P.Denn is the Lieutenant Governor of the state.

Delaware Counties

Kent County, New Castle County and Sussex County are the three counties in the state that elects its own legislative bodies. Court and Law enforcement are the functions handled on a county by county basis in Delaware. Until 1960, the counties were divided into hundreds of them and were used as tax reporting and voting districts without serving administrative role.

Delaware Politics

During the election of the President, transferring three votes to the winning candidate was accepted and this procedure took place for last fifty years till the year 2000. In the year 2000, Al Gore was defeated by George W. Bush . In the year 2004, John Kerry took over the charges of Delaware by defeating the other party by eight percent. In the year 2008, John McCain was defeated by Barack Obama who got  62.63% of the votes.The Delaware politics are under the influence of the Republican Party. To investigate ties between Delaware’s politicians and industrialists, a working group was assembled by Ralph Nader. Out of the nine elected offices, Democrats hold seven (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, Attorney General and two US Senators) while Republicans hold two (state's at-large House Seat and Office Auditor) of them.

Delaware Presidential Elections Results

Year Republican Democratic
2008 37.37% 152,356 62.63% 255,394
2004 45.75% 171,660 53.35% 200,152
2000 41.90% 137,288 54.96% 180,068
1996 36.58% 99,062 51.82% 140,955
1992 35.33% 102,313 43.52% 126,054
1988 55.88% 139,639 43.48% 108,647
1984 59.78% 152,190 39.93% 101,656
1980 47.21% 111,252 44.87% 105,754
1976 46.57% 109,831 51.98% 122,596
1972 59.60% 140,357 39.18% 92,283
1968 45.12% 96,714 41.61% 89,194
1964 38.78% 78,078 60.95% 122,704
1960 49.00% 96,373 50.63% 99,590

List of Governors of Delaware

# Governor Term Start Term End Party Lt. Governor Terms
1 John McKinly February 12, 1777 September 12, 1777 no parties None 1⁄3
2 Thomas McKean September 22, 1777 October 20, 1777 no parties 1⁄3
3 George Read October 20, 1777 March 31, 1778 no parties 1⁄3
4 Caesar Rodney March 31, 1778 November 6, 1781 no parties 1
5 John Dickinson November 13, 1781 January 12, 1783 no parties 1⁄2
6 John Cook November 4, 1782 February 1, 1783 no parties 1⁄2
7 Nicholas Van Dyke February 1, 1783 October 28, 1786 no parties 1
8 Thomas Collins October 28, 1786 March 29, 1789 no parties 1⁄2
9 Jehu Davis March 29, 1789 June 2, 1789 no parties 1⁄2
10 Joshua Clayton June 2, 1789 January 19, 1796 Federalist 2
11 Gunning Bedford, Sr. January 19, 1796 September 28, 1797 Federalist 1⁄2
12 Daniel Rogers September 28, 1797 January 9, 1799 Federalist 1⁄2
13 Richard Bassett January 9, 1799 March 3, 1801 Federalist 1⁄2
14 James Sykes March 3, 1801 January 19, 1802 Federalist 1⁄2
15 David Hall January 19, 1802 January 15, 1805 Democratic-Republican 1
16 Nathaniel Mitchell January 15, 1805 January 19, 1808 Federalist 1
17 George Truitt January 19, 1808 January 15, 1811 Federalist 1
18 Joseph Haslet January 15, 1811 January 18, 1814 Democratic-Republican 1
19 Daniel Rodney January 18, 1814 January 21, 1817 Federalist 1
20 John Clark January 21, 1817 January 18, 1820 Federalist 1
Henry Molleston Federalist
21 Jacob Stout January 18, 1820 January 16, 1821 Federalist 1⁄3
22 John Collins January 16, 1821 April 16, 1822 Democratic-Republican 1⁄3
23 Caleb Rodney April 23, 1822 January 21, 1823 Federalist 1⁄3
24 Joseph Haslet January 21, 1823 June 20, 1823 Democratic-Republican 1⁄2
25 Charles Thomas June 23, 1823 January 20, 1824 Democratic-Republican 1⁄2
26 Samuel Paynter January 20, 1824 January 16, 1827 Federalist 1
27 Charles Polk, Jr. January 16, 1827 January 19, 1830 Federalist 1
28 David Hazzard January 19, 1830 January 15, 1833 National Republican 1
29 Caleb P. Bennett January 15, 1833 July 11, 1836 Democratic 1
30 Charles Polk, Jr. July 11, 1836 January 17, 1837 Whig 1⁄2
31 Cornelius P. Comegys January 17, 1837 January 19, 1841 Whig 1
32 William B. Cooper January 19, 1841 January 21, 1845 Whig 1
33 Thomas Stockton January 21, 1845 March 2, 1846 Whig 1⁄3
34 Joseph Maull March 2, 1846 May 3, 1846 Whig 1⁄3
35 William Temple May 6, 1846 January 19, 1847 Whig 1⁄3
36 William Tharp January 19, 1847 January 21, 1851 Democratic 1
37 William H. H. Ross January 21, 1851 January 16, 1855 Democratic 1
38 Peter F. Causey January 16, 1855 January 18, 1859 American 1
39 William Burton January 18, 1859 January 20, 1863 Democratic 1
40 William Cannon January 20, 1863 March 1, 1865 Republican 1⁄2
41 Gove Saulsbury March 1, 1865 January 17, 1871 Democratic 1⁄2 + 1
42 James Ponder January 17, 1871 January 19, 1875 Democratic 1
43 John P. Cochran January 19, 1875 January 21, 1879 Democratic 1
44 John W. Hall January 21, 1879 January 16, 1883 Democratic 1
45 Charles C. Stockley January 16, 1883 January 18, 1887 Democratic 1
46 Benjamin T. Biggs January 18, 1887 January 20, 1891 Democratic 1
47 Robert J. Reynolds January 20, 1891 January 15, 1895 Democratic 1
48 Joshua H. Marvil January 15, 1895 April 8, 1895 Republican 1⁄2
49 William T. Watson April 8, 1895 January 19, 1897 Democratic 1⁄2
50 Ebe W. Tunnell January 19, 1897 January 15, 1901 Democratic  
51 John Hunn January 15, 1901 January 17, 1905 Republican Philip L. Cannon 1
52 Preston Lea January 17, 1905 January 19, 1909 Republican Isaac T. Parker 1
53 Simeon S. Pennewill January 19, 1909 January 21, 1913 Republican John M. Mendinhall 1
54 Charles R. Miller January 21, 1913 January 16, 1917 Republican Colen Ferguson 1
55 John G. Townsend, Jr. January 16, 1917 January 18, 1921 Republican Lewis T. Eliason 1
56 William D. Denney January 18, 1921 January 20, 1925 Republican J. Danforth Bush 1
57 Robert P. Robinson January 20, 1925 January 15, 1929 Republican James H. Anderson 1
58 C. Douglass Buck January 15, 1929 January 19, 1937 Republican James H. Hazel 2
Roy F. Corley
59 Richard C. McMullen January 19, 1937 January 21, 1941 Democratic Edward W. Cooch 1
60 Walter W. Bacon January 21, 1941 January 18, 1949 Republican Isaac J. MacCollum 2
Elbert N. Carvel
61 Elbert N. Carvel January 18, 1949 January 20, 1953 Democratic Alexis I. du Pont Bayard 1
62 J. Caleb Boggs January 20, 1953 December 30, 1960 Republican John W. Rollins 1 1⁄2
David P. Buckson
63 David P. Buckson December 30, 1960 January 17, 1961 Republican vacant 1⁄2
64 Elbert N. Carvel January 17, 1961 January 19, 1965 Democratic Eugene Lammot 1
65 Charles L. Terry, Jr. January 19, 1965 January 21, 1969 Democratic Sherman W. Tribbitt 1
66 Russell W. Peterson January 21, 1969 January 16, 1973 Republican Eugene Bookhammer 1
67 Sherman W. Tribbitt January 16, 1973 January 18, 1977 Democratic Eugene Bookhammer 1
68 Pierre S. du Pont, IV January 18, 1977 January 15, 1985 Republican James D. McGinnis 2
Michael Castle
69 Michael Castle January 15, 1985 December 31, 1992 Republican Shien Biau Woo 1 1⁄2
Dale E. Wolf
70 Dale E. Wolf December 31, 1992 January 19, 1993 Republican vacant 1⁄2
71 Thomas R. Carper January 19, 1993 January 3, 2001 Democratic Ruth Ann Minner 1 1⁄2
72 Ruth Ann Minner January 3, 2001 January 20, 2009 Democratic vacant 1⁄2 + 2
John C. Carney, Jr.  
73 Jack Markell January 20, 2009 incumbent Democratic Matthew P. Denn 1

Other High Offices Held

Governor Gubernatorial term U.S. House U.S. Senate
Thomas McKean 1777
George Read 1777–1778 S
Caesar Rodney 1778–1781
John Dickinson 1781–1783
Nicholas Van Dyke 1783–1786
Joshua Clayton 1789–1796 S
Richard Bassett 1799–1801 S
Nathaniel Mitchell 1805–1808
Daniel Rodney 1814–1817 H S
William Temple 1846–1847 H
Benjamin T. Biggs 1887–1891 H
John G. Townsend, Jr. 1917–1921 S
C. Douglass Buck 1929–1937 S
J. Caleb Boggs 1953–1960 S*
Pierre S. du Pont, IV 1977–1985 H
Michael Castle 1985–1992 H*
Thomas R. Carper 1993–2001 H S*

Living Former Governors

Governor Gubernatorial Term Date of Birth
David P. Buckson 1960–1961 July 25, 1920 (1920-07-25) (age 90)
Russell W. Peterson 1969–1973 October 3, 1916 (1916-10-03) (age 93)
Sherman W. Tribbitt 1973–1977 November 9, 1922 (1922-11-09) (age 87)
Pierre S. du Pont, IV 1977–1985 January 22, 1935 (1935-01-22) (age 75)
Michael Castle 1985–1992 July 2, 1939 (1939-07-02) (age 71)
Dale E. Wolf 1992–1993 September 6, 1924 (1924-09-06) (age 85)
Thomas R. Carper 1993–2001 January 23, 1947 (1947-01-23) (age 63)
Ruth Ann Minner 2001–2009 January 17, 1935 (1935-01-17) (age 75)

List of United States Senators From Delaware

Class I Senators

# Name Birth / Death Term of Office Party Residence Other Offices
1 George Read 1733September 18, 1733 –
September 21, 1798
1789March 4, 1789 –
September 18, 1793
Pro-
Administration
New Castle,
New Castle Co.
State President
Continental Congressman
State Chief Justice
State Councilman
State Assemblyman
2 Henry Latimer 1734March 19, 1734 –
June 24, 1817
1795February 7, 1795 –
February 28, 1801
Pro-
Administration
Federalist
Newport,
New Castle Co.
Continental Congressman
U.S. Representative
State Assemblyman
3 Samuel White 1770December 1770 –
November 4, 1809
1801February 28, 1801 –
November 4, 1809
Federalist Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
 
4 Outerbridge Horsey 1777-03-05March 5, 1777 –
June 9, 1842
1810January 12, 1810 –
March 3, 1821
Federalist Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
State Attorney General
State Representative
5 Caesar A. Rodney 1772January 4, 1772 –
June 10, 1824
1822January 24, 1822 –
January 29, 1823
Democratic-
Republican
Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Attorney General
U.S. Representative
State Representative
Minister to Argentina
6 Thomas Clayton 1777-07July 1777 –
August 2, 1854
1824January 8, 1824 –
March 3, 1827
Federalist
Anti-Jacksonian
Dover,
Kent Co.
State Secretary of State
State Attorney General
State Senator
State Representative
State Chief Justice
7 Louis McLane 1786May 28, 1786 –
October 7, 1857
1827March 4, 1827 –
April 16, 1829
Jacksonian Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Secretary of State
U.S. Treasury Secretary
U.S. Representative
Minister to the U.K.
8 Arnold S. Naudain 1790January 6, 1790 –
January 4, 1872
1830January 7, 1830 –
June 16, 1836
Anti-Jacksonian Odessa,
New Castle Co.
State Representative
9 Richard H. Bayard 1796September 26, 1796 –
March 4, 1868
1836June 17, 1836 –
September 19, 1839
Anti-Jacksonian
Whig
Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
Mayor of Wilmington
State Chief Justice
10 Richard H. Bayard 1796September 26, 1796  –
March 4, 1868
1841January 12, 1841 –
March 3, 1845
Whig Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
Mayor of Wilmington
State Chief Justice
11 John M. Clayton 1796July 24, 1796 –
November 9, 1856
1845March 4, 1845 –
February 23, 1849
Whig New Castle,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Secretary of State
State Chief Justice
State Secretary of State
State Representative
12 John Wales 1783July 31, 1783 –
December 3, 1863
1849February 23, 1849 –
March 3, 1851
Whig Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
State Secretary of State
13 James A. Bayard, Jr. 1799November 15, 1799 –
June 13, 1880
1851March 4, 1851 –
January 29, 1864
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Attorney
14 George R. Riddle 1817 –
March 2, 1867
1864January 29, 1864 –
March 29, 1867
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Representative
15 James A. Bayard, Jr. 1799November 15, 1799 –
June 13, 1880
1867April 5, 1867 –
March 3, 1869
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Attorney
16 Thomas F. Bayard 1828October 29, 1828 –
September 29, 1898
1869March 4, 1869 –
March 6, 1885
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Secretary of State
Ambassador to the U.K.
17 George Gray 1840May 4, 1840 –
August 7, 1925
1885March 18, 1885 –
March 3, 1899
Democratic New Castle,
New Castle Co.
Judge U.S. Appeals Court
State Attorney General
18 L. Heisler Ball 1861September 21, 1861 –
October 18, 1932
1903March 2, 1903 –
March 3, 1905
Republican Mill Creek
Hundred,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Representative
State Treasurer
19 Henry A. du Pont 1838July 30, 1838 –
December 31, 1926
1906June 13, 1906 –
March 3, 1917
Republican Winterthur,
New Castle Co.
 
20 Josiah O. Wolcott 1877October 31, 1877 –
November 11, 1938
1917March 4, 1917 –
July 2, 1921
Democratic Dover,
Kent Co.
State Chancellor
State Attorney General
21 T. Coleman du Pont 1863December 11, 1863 –
November 11, 1930
1921July 7, 1921 –
November 6, 1922
Republican Greenville,
New Castle Co.
President
DuPont Corporation
22 Thomas F. Bayard, Jr. 1868June 4, 1868 –
July 12, 1942
1922November 7, 1922 –
March 3, 1929
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
 
23 John G. Townsend, Jr. 1871May 31, 1871 –
April 10, 1964
1929March 4, 1929 –
January 3, 1941
Republican Selbyville,
Sussex Co.
Governor
State Representative
24 James M. Tunnell 1879August 2, 1879 –
November 14, 1957
1941January 3, 1941 –
January 3, 1947
Democratic Georgetown,
Sussex Co.
 
25 John J. Williams 1904May 17, 1904 –
January 11, 1988
1947January 3, 1947 –
December 31, 1970
Republican Millsboro,
Sussex Co.
 
26 William V. Roth, Jr. 1921July 22, 1921 –
2003December 13, 2003
1971January 1, 1971 –
January 3, 2001
Republican Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
U.S. Representative
27 Thomas R. Carper 1947January 23, 1947
(born)
2001January 3, 2001
(incumbent)
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
Governor
U.S. Representative
State Treasurer

Class II Senators

# Name Birth / Death Term of Office Party Residence Other Offices
1 Richard Bassett 1745April 2, 1745 –
August 15, 1815
1789March 4, 1789 –
March 3, 1793
Anti-
Administration
Pro-
Administration
Dover,
Kent Co.
Governor
Chief Justice of the Court of Common
2 John M. Vining 1758December 23, 1758 –
February 1, 1802
1793March 4, 1793 –
January 19, 1798
Pro-
Administration
Federalist
Dover,
Kent Co.
Continental Congressman
U.S. Representative
3 Joshua Clayton 1744July 20, 1744 –
August 11, 1798
1798January 19, 1798 –
August 11, 1798
Federalist New Castle Co. State Assemblyman
Governor
4 William H. Wells 1769January 7, 1769 –
March 11, 1829
1799January 17, 1799 –
November 6, 1804
Federalist Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
State Representative
State Senator
5 James A. Bayard 1767July 28, 1767 –
August 6, 1815
1804November 13, 1804 –
March 3, 1813
Federalist Dagsboro,
Sussex Co.
U.S. Representative
6 William H. Wells 1769January 7, 1769  –
March 11, 1829
1813May 21, 1813  –
March 3, 1817
Federalist Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
State Representative
State Senator
7 Nicholas Van Dyke 1770December 20, 1770 –
May 21, 1826
1817March 4, 1817 –
May 21, 1826
Federalist New Castle,
New Castle Co.
State Representative
State Senator
State Attorney General
U.S. Representative
8 Daniel Rodney 1764September 10, 1764 –
September 2, 1846
1826November 8, 1826 –
January 12, 1827
Anti-
Jacksonian
Lewes,
Sussex Co.
Governor
U.S. Representative
9 Henry M. Ridgely 1799August 6, 1779 –
August 6, 1847
1827January 12, 1827 –
March 3, 1829
Jacksonian Dover,
KentCo.
State Representative
U.S. Representative
State Secretary of State
10 John M. Clayton 1796July 24, 1796 –
November 9, 1856
1829March 4, 1829 –
December 29, 1836
Anti-Jacksonian Dover,
Kent Co.
State Representative
State Secretary of State
State Chief Justice
U.S. Secretary of State
11 Thomas Clayton 1777July 1777 –
August 21, 1854
1837January 9, 1837 –
March 3, 1847
Anti-Jacksonian
Whig
Dover,
Kent Co.
State Representative
State Senator
State Secretary of State
State Attorney General
State Chief Justice
12 Presley Spruance 1785September 1, 1785 –
February 13, 1863
1847March 4, 1847 –
March 3, 1853
Whig Smyrna,
Kent Co.
State Representative
State Senator
13 John M. Clayton 1796July 24, 1796 –
November 9, 1856
1853March 4, 1853 –
November 9, 1856
Whig New Castle Co. State Representative
State Secretary of State
State Chief Justice
U.S. Secretary of State
14 Joseph P. Comegys 1813December 23, 1813 –
February 1, 1893
1856November 19, 1856 –
January 14, 1857
Whig Dover,
Kent Co.
State Representative
State Chief Justice
15 Martin W. Bates 1786February 24, 1786 –
January 1, 1869
1856January 14, 1857 –
March 3, 1859
Democratic Dover,
Kent Co.
State Representative
16 Willard Saulsbury, Sr. 1820June 2, 1820 –
April 6, 1892
1859March 4, 1859 –
March 3, 1871
Democratic Georgetown,
Sussex Co.
State Attorney General
State Chancellor
17 Eli M. Saulsbury 1817December 29, 1817 –
March 22, 1893
1871March 4, 1871 –
March 3, 1889
Democratic Dover,
Kent Co.
State Representative
18 Anthony C. Higgins 1840October 1, 1840 –
June 26, 1912
1889March 4, 1889 –
March 3, 1895
Republican Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
U.S. District Attorney
19 Richard R. Kenney 1856September 9, 1856 –
August 14, 1931
1897January 19, 1897 –
March 3, 1901
Democratic Dover,
Kent Co.
 
20 J. Frank Allee 1857December 2, 1857 –
October 12, 1938
1903March 2, 1903 –
March 3, 1907
Republican Dover,
Kent Co.
State Senator
21 Harry A. Richardson 1853January 1, 1853 –
June 16, 1928
1907March 4, 1907 –
March 3, 1913
Republican Dover,
Kent Co.
 
22 Willard Saulsbury, Jr. 1861April 17, 1861 –
February 20, 1927
1913March 4, 1913 –
March 3, 1919
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
 
23 L. Heisler Ball 1861September 21, 1861 –
October 18, 1932
1919March 4, 1919 –
March 3, 1925
Republican New Castle Co. State Treasurer
U.S. Representative
24 T. Coleman du Pont 1863December 11, 1863 –
November 11, 1930
1925March 4, 1925 –
December 8, 1928
Republican New Castle Co.  
25 Daniel O. Hastings 1874March 5, 1874 –
May 9, 1966
1928December 10, 1928 –
January 3, 1937
Republican Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
State Secretary of State
26 James H. Hughes 1867January 14, 1867 –
August 29, 1953
1937January 3, 1937 –
January 3, 1943
Democratic Dover,
Kent Co.
State Secretary of State
27 C. Douglass Buck 1890March 21, 1890 –
January 27, 1965
1943January 3, 1943 –
January 3, 1949
Republican New Castle Co. Governor
28 J. Allen Frear, Jr. 1903March 7, 1903 –
January 15, 1993
1949January 3, 1949 –
January 3, 1961
Democratic Dover,
Kent Co.
 
29 J. Caleb Boggs 1909May 15, 1909 –
March 26, 1993
1961January 3, 1961 –
January 3, 1973
Republican Cheswold,
Kent Co.
U.S. Representative
Governor
30 Joseph R. Biden, Jr. 1942November 20, 1942
(born)
1973January 3, 1973
January 15, 2009
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.
County Councilman
Vice President of the United States
31 Edward E. (Ted) Kaufman 1939March 15, 1939
(born)
2009January 16, 2009
(incumbent)
Democratic Wilmington,
New Castle Co.