- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Here are five things to know about campaigns, candidates and politics in Delaware as voters prepare for the Sept. 9 primary contest and Nov. 4 general election:


Attorney General Beau Biden isn’t running for re-election, having set his sights instead on the 2016 governor’s race, but his political action committee is still in action. Campaign finance reports show that Biden’s BEAU PAC has raised almost $24,000 this year. That includes a $10,000 contribution from Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and $5,000 each from Wilmington developers Chris and Robert Buccini. The committee has spent more than $49,000 this year, including payments totaling $42,700 to JMA Strategies, a political consulting firm run by Josh Alcorn, who took over as Biden’s political director earlier this year.



With Democrats far outnumbering Republicans, the GOP has been left with one statewide office holder, auditor Tom Wagner. Wagner, a six-term incumbent, has not yet filed a campaign finance report because he does not have a primary opponent, but he ended last year with about $25,000 in his campaign account. Democrats are hoping to unseat him with Wilmington attorney Brenda Mayrack, former executive director of the state Democratic Party. Mayrack has raised about $100,000 this year and had $70,000 cash on hand as of early August. Her primary opponent, Ken Matlusky, reported no outside contributions and had less than $100 in the bank.



Republican businessman Kevin Wade is not a witch, but he’ll need to conjure up some magic if he wants to unseat Democrat Chris Coons in Delaware’s U.S. Senate race. Coons easily defeated tea party favorite Christine O’Donnell in a 2010 special election for the seat once held by Joe Biden, a race highlighted by O’Donnell’s infamous “I’m not a witch” television commercial. Wade, meanwhile, lost a 2012 Senate bid against incumbent Democrat Tom Carper, taking only 29 percent of the vote. Coons had $3.1 million in the bank at the end of June. Wade, who didn’t enter the race until early July, is still trying to raise money. He faces a primary against Carl Smink, 81, an Air Force veteran and retired engineer. O’Donnell tweeted in July that Smink “seems promising.”



All 41 seats in Delaware’s state House are on the ballot this year, but a lot of incumbents can rest easy. Eighteen incumbents, all but four of them Democrats, face no opposition. Another House Democrat is assured of returning to Dover if he wins his primary contest, as there is no opponent in the general election. Similarly, one Democratic senator has no opposition, and two others are assured of re-election if they overcome Democratic primary challengers.



Candidates aren’t the only ones engaged in election battles this year. State officials are appealing a court decision prohibiting them from enforcing a 2012 campaign finance law that was challenged by Delaware Strong Families, a conservative group. The law requires disclosures by third-party groups working independently of candidates to influence elections. It requires groups spending $500 or more during an election period on third-party advertisements to disclose the source of donations, even if the ads don’t urge a vote for or against a candidate. A federal judge said the law is likely unconstitutional. An appeals court is scheduled to consider the case Oct. 28, exactly one week before the general election.

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