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Moore is first Black woman elected south of the canal to the General Assembly

Amanda Parrish
Middletown Transcript

Sherae'a "Rae" Moore makes history as the first Black woman elected to the General Assembly south of the C&D canal, winning House District 8. Moore will replace retiring Democrat Quinn Johnson who served for 12 years.

Moore beat her Republican opponent Dan Zitofsky 7,433 to 5,552 votes, receiving 57.24% of the vote, according to the Department of Elections unofficial results. More than 12,000 Middletown-area residents turned out for the District 8 race, with 9,339 voting in-person and 3,646 voting absentee or by mail.

She said it felt "amazing" to be the first Black woman to be elected to the House.

"I was running because I care about the issues. I know how to advocate on behalf of everybody. No matter what they look or where they come from, it just so happens that I am a Black female."

Moore made education, healthcare and the environment the top priorities of her campaign, including universal preschool for all and improved access to healthcare. On day 1, she plans to make education her priority.

"[Education] was the pillar of my platform. There is a lot of work that needs to be done," she said.

Sherae'a "Rae" Moore was elected to the House District 8 seat Nov. 3, 2020, becoming the first Black woman south of the canal to be elected to the General Assembly.

Two educational priorities for her are creating a universal prekindergarten and making sure Louis L. Redding Middle School gets renovated.

After her primary victory, the former Bayard School teacher said she saw first-hand the unintentional consequences legislation could cause for students, so she wants to make education equity a top priority.

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Rae graduated from Middletown High School. She received her undergraduate degree from Delaware State University in English, graduating with Cum Laude honors becoming a first-generation college graduate in her family.

While visiting polling locations Tuesday, U.S. Chris Coons expressed his support for Middletown-area Democrats on the ballot.

"It's important t they represent the skills we need to solve problems. They have got the life experience and diversity and background to represent this rapidly growing area," he said.

Incumbents hold on

Incumbent Kevin Hensley held on to his House District 9 seat, beating political newcomer Debbie Harrington. Hensley has held the seat since 2015 and is one of several Republicans still representing New Castle County.

Hensley received 54.8% of the vote, garnering 9,811 votes.

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Harrington was hoping to bring a more progressive agenda to General Assembly, focusing her campaign on institutional racism, education reform and raising the minimum wage. But Hensley's focus on state budgeting and small businesses won over the Middletown-Odessa area.

Harrington would have joined Moore as one of the first Black women elected south of the C&D canal.

Incumbent State Sen. Bruce Ennis for District 14 held on to his seat Tuesday, as well, defeating Republican challenger Craig Pugh. Ennis received 59.49% of the vote.