Race for Hall-Long’s vacated office also features Democrat Hansen and Libertarian Lanzendorfer

A special election will be held in February for the 10th District state Senate seat that was vacated Jan. 17 when former Senator, Democrat Bethany Hall-Long was inaugurated as lieutenant governor.

However, more hangs in the balance than who will represent the residents of the district which includes parts of Middletown and the Glasgow area in southwestern New Castle County.

A Republican win in the special election would give the Republicans control of the Senate for the first time in nearly 45 years.

“This is a critical election for people in the 10th District,” Republican candidate John Marino said. “One-party rule has not served us well, and this is our chance to restore balance to state government with a Republican Senate and a Democratic House. It means all sides will be considered, and better government will come as a result.”

Marino ran for the 10th District seat in 2014 against Hall-Long, who had held that office since 2009. He lost the election by 267 votes out of the 12,193 votes cast.

Those results are what give Marino and his campaign committee great hope that he can succeed against Democrat Stephanie Hansen and Libertarian Joseph Lanzendorfer whom he will meet in a public debate Wednesday, Feb 1 at Middletown High School.

“We almost won in 2014, and a special election is something that Republicans in Delaware have traditionally done well,” Marino said. “It’s more of a door-to-door election, and the focus is entirely on this race, instead of a bunch of races on the same day. We feel that head-to-head, we have the strongest argument, and we look forward to a strong and winning campaign.”

Election set for Feb. 25

While Marino and his campaign are confident in their chances, they are aggravated at the length of time it has taken for Hall-Long to release the date the election will be held. In Delaware, deciding the date for a special Senate election is one of the responsibilities of the president pro-tem of the Senate, who is the lieutenant governor.

“The Democrats have known for months what the date is going to be,” Marino stated. “It is another example of the Dover insiders taking advantage of their power. They get the inside information.”

The announcement of the Feb. 25 special election was made on Jan. 24, a week after Hall-Long’s inauguration. Before Hall-Long was inaugurated, there was no lieutenant governor for about two years after Matt Denn left the office when he was elected state attorney general.

Hansen, the Democratic candidate, said she was "relieved to finally have a date for the special election."

“It's the number one question I get on doorsteps all across the district and I'm so glad I can finally answer it with certainty,” Hansen said. “Since I joined this race in December, my focus has been on building bridges and bringing hope to voters after a divisive and ugly national political battle that has rattled our communities.”

Lanzendorfer, the Libertarian candidate, is also scheduled to attend the 10th District debate at Middletown High School Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.