Analysis: State GOP strikes more moderate tone with ‘Rescue Delaware’ plan that shies away from hot-button issues

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The Delaware Republican Party has issued a “Rescue Delaware” plan that takes a more moderate approach than many of its counterparts.

The manifesto introduced at the party’s state convention carried the usual themes of Delaware being a hostile and overregulated environment for business while also taking aim at the quality of public education.

One proposal calls for small businesses to get a “tax holiday” on the first $100,000 of income as well as a middle-class tax cut.

Unlike some GOP state parties, the Delaware “Rescue” plan does not call for a “heartbeat” law that is equivalent to a ban on abortion. Instead, the GOP called for a ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The document did not appear to mention gun or marijuana legalization issues.

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The manifesto follows the national GOP template in demanding an end to voters automatically receiving ballots by mail and opposing any move toward same-day voter registration. Unfortunately, both measures tend to increase turnouts by Democrats.

TownSquare Live, which covered the convention in Rehoboth Beach, reported that the convention did feature moments where speakers mentioned alleged mass election fraud and other stances not embraced by a shrinking number of moderate Republicans like the governor of neighboring Maryland Larry Hogan.

Chances of Rescue Delaware gaining traction are small given the fact that Democratic voter registration figures are well ahead of Republican numbers. Dems also control both houses of the Legislature and all statewide offices.

The Delaware GOP has not recovered from the upheaval a decade ago when popular moderate Republican Cong. Mike Castle was upset by Christine O’Donnell in the race for U.S. Senate.

Chris Coons, an underdog in the Senate race, beat O’Donnell by a decisive margin, with some northern Delaware Republicans changing their party affiliation. During the campaign, O’Donnell gained national attention over news that among other things noted that she had dabbled in witchcraft.

Coons again coasted to victory in 2020 when Republicans nominated firebrand Lauren Witzke who at various times embraced flat earth, QAnon, and Christian nationalist conspiracy sentiments.

On the legislative level, the GOP has no Delaware state senators residing in northern Delaware and only a couple of state representatives in the same area.

Republicans have continued to nominate conservative downstate candidates with limited appeal north of the C&D canal in the past few elections.

Over the previous decade, Delaware’s largest county New Castle has become deep blue, with Sussex deep red and Kent trending “purple” – evenly split between the two parties.

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