Remember how much hype we had over school board elections last fall?
It appears Delaware was at the crest of that wave last spring when school boards around the state had three- or even four-person elections for the handful of seats which were available. Despite all the hullabaloo nationally over school elections, though, things have calmed down in Delaware this time around: of the sixteen districts with elections this time, just two (Red Clay and Smyrna) have a four-person race, while four (Colonial, Lake Forest, Milford, and Smyrna again) have three-way contests. (The larger of the two Smyrna races is for the last two years of an unexpired term.)
On the other hand, there are only five walkover races where an election won’t be necessary: the folks in Brandywine, Cape Henlopen, Christina, and portions of Indian River and Milford had only enough candidates file to match the number of available seats.
Here in Sussex County, we can eliminate most of our friends on the coastal side of the county from the excitement since Cape Henlopen and Indian River have no contested races. We’ll begin with Milford, where incumbent Scott L. Fitzgerald got the free pass but three people are running for an open seat. It appears all three seeking the at-large spot are first-time candidates, so the board will welcome the winner between Matthew Bucher, Samuel Millman, or Jalyn Powell. (Since part of the Milford district is in Kent County, the winner may not hail from Sussex.)
Now I’ll shift across to Woodbridge, which is also a shared district with Kent County and one which will also feature an open seat. This time only two newcomers are seeking it as voters will select from either Corey Grammer or Rita Hovermale.
Rolling down the Delmarva Central tracks, we’ll stop in Seaford where the three-year hiatus between school board elections will come to an end this year with George W. Del Farno taking on Marcus Wright in May. Both are making their first runs, too. (So far all but one of the incumbents have taken a pass on another term.)
Because I like to save the best for last, I’m going to first skip down to Delmar and look at that two-person race pitting Dawn Adkins Litchford against Lauren Hudson. Again, two first-time candidates because the incumbent is leaving.
So that leaves my district, Laurel. We started out with a four-person race last year that featured three newcomers and a former member who lost in 2020. One of the three neophytes dropped out, but in the end the former member won by just seven votes in a three-way race.
Unlike almost all of the other Sussex races, we have the incumbent running for another term – and this is the only contest. Linda Hitchens is the incumbent facing challenger Joe Kelley, and one thing I have noticed about Hitchens is that her cycle hasn’t had an election dating back to at least 2007 – there was no election in 2012 or 2017, meaning she’s been elected at least once via acclamation. (I’m betting she’s at least a two-termer – I know someone who could correct me if I’m wrong.)
Thus, our little district is going to be the test case as to whether those who decided to wrap things up in the face of an anti-incumbent mood were right or whether Laurel’s happy with keeping Linda around.