Carper, Kovach win Del. primaries


Associated Press

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 12 at 1:00 AM

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Tom Carper easily won a Democratic primary on Tuesday, and Republicans chose a former state representative to challenge Delaware's incumbent Democratic congressman in November.

Carper, a former two-term governor, state treasurer and congressman, is seeking his third term in the Senate. He defeated political newcomer Keith Spanarelli, a Smyrna businessman. Carper will face Republican Kevin Wade, a northern Delaware businessman, and Independent Alex Pires Jr., a wealthy lawyer and Dewey Beach businessman, in November.

In the GOP House primary, New Castle County Council president Tom Kovach defeated Rose Izzo, a housewife who courted the tea party vote and was making her second bid for the Republican congressional nomination. Kovach, a former state House member, will take on Democratic U.S. Rep. John Carney Jr. in November.

The House and Senate campaigns were overshadowed by two hotly contested primaries for mayor of Wilmington and chief executive of New Castle County, both Democratic strongholds in northern Delaware.

Violent crime was on the minds of many Democrats as state representative and former Wilmington police officer Dennis Williams won a five-way primary for mayor of Delaware's largest city. A rash of shootings has put Wilmington on pace to break its homicide record, and the city was recently ranked by "Parenting" magazine as one of the most-dangerous cities in the country.

"It's time for change in this city," Williams told jubilant supporters. "I am going to come after violent offenders, so start packing your bags, because we're coming. We are coming.

"Give me six months and this city is going to begin to be safe, believe me," added Williams, who is virtually assured of becoming mayor as there is no Republican on the November ballot.

In the county race, former New Castle County executive Tom Gordon defeated incumbent Paul Clark in a four-way Democratic primary as Gordon seeks to win back his old job. Gordon, who pleaded guilty several years ago to two misdemeanors in a federal corruption probe, will face Republican Mark Blake in November.

In other races, incumbent insurance commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart beat back three challengers in a Democratic primary and state Senate leader Tony DeLuca was upset in a Democratic primary by newcomer Bryan Townsend, an attorney.

In another legislative primary, Andria Bennett of Dover won the Democratic primary for the seat once held by her husband, Brad Bennett, until he resigned earlier this year after his second drunken-driving arrest while in office.

Elections officials said there were no reports of any major problems, with turnout in New Castle County appearing to be higher than in other parts of the state.

Statewide, turnout was 17 percent among Democratic voters and 13 percent among Republican voters.