See 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing for an overview of all 33 US Senate races, on a state-by-state basis.
The Incumbent US Senator
Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, and was easily reelected in 2006, garnering 70% of all cast ballots. Sen. Carper served as governor of Delaware from 1993 to 2001, and as Delaware's sole member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1993.
Sen. Carper is running for reelection in 2012.
Sen. Carper has been an effective and popular advocate for Delaware. In fact, Carper never moved to Washington D.C., but has opted to commute daily when both a Congressman and Senator. He was once described by Washington Post political reporter David Broder, a moderate, as "a notably effective and nonpartisan leader, admired and trusted on both sides of the aisle."
In the 112th Congress, Sen. Carper is a member of the Senate Committees on Homeland Security and Environment and Public Works. He chairs both the Home Security Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security, and the Environment Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety.
Delaware's 2012 Senate Race
One Republican, Kevin Wade, a local businessman, has formally declared his candidacy for the party's primary election, set for August 7, 2012. Republican Christine "I Am Not a Witch" O'Donnell, who famously lost her 2010 Senate election in Delaware, is reportedly considering entering the 2012 race.
Who Will Win?
RealClearPolitics.com rates Delaware's 2012 US Senate election as a "Safe Democratic Seat" because of Sen. Carper's statewide popularity and because Delaware has voted solidly Democratic in recent elections.
Delaware's favorite son politically is long-time resident Vice President Joe Biden, whose son, Beau Biden, has served since 2007 as Delaware state Attorney General.
Recent Election Results
Delaware's two U.S. senators serving in the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) are:
- Democrat Tom Carper, serving his term
- Democrat Chris Coons, serving his first term
Both Governor Jack Markell and Lieutenant Governor Matthew Denn are Democrats.
In the last four presidential elections, Delaware voted as follows:
- 2008 - 62% for Democrat Obama, 37% for Republican McCain
- 2004 - 53% for Democrat Kerry, 46% for Republican Bush
- 2000 - 55% for Democrat Gore, 42% for Republican Bush
- 1996 - 52% for Democrat Clinton, 37% for Republican Dole, 11% for Other
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - Delaware's unemployment rate of 8% ranked well below the national average and 27th among all states.
Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - Delaware's high foreclosure rate of 1 in every 656 homes ranked slightly above the state average of 1 in every 583 homes, and 9th among all states.
State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - Delaware's poverty rate of 10% is well below the national average, and ranks 40th among all states.
Labor Union Membership - Delaware is home to 57,000 labor union members, representing 14.7% of all the state's workers.
Senior Citizen Population - Fully 14.4% of Delaware residents are 65 year old and over, ranking 9th among all state in senior citizens as a percentage of the state population.
Women as a Percentage of Delaware's Population - Women comprise 51.6% of all Delaware residents, the 2nd highest state percentage of women, behind only Alabama and tied with New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
African-American Population - African-Americans comprise 22% of Delaware residents, the 7th highest state percentage, ranking behind only southern U.S. states.
Hispanic Population - 8.2% of Delaware residents are of Hispanic heritage, ranking 25th among all states.