Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner will be up for a second term in 2004. Bill Lee, a retired judge and the runner-up in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2000, will take on the governor.
Minner is a middle-of-the-road politician, who has conservative fiscal views but progressive social policies, particularly in the issues of women's rights.
Lee gained fame in the 1998 murder trial of politically connected attorney Thomas Capano, whom he sentenced to death. Lee lost the 2000 GOP primary by 46 votes out of more than 27,000 cast, despite almost no support from party leaders. Lee has their support this time around.
Having blown away the field in Delaware's first binding presidential primary, and with Democrats in the state outnumbering Republicans, John Kerry has a good chance to put Delaware in the win column in November.
With running mate John Edwards by his side and Delaware's favorite son Sen. Joseph Biden as a confidant, Kerry could be considered the favorite in Delaware over Bush, who lost the state to Gore in 2000, 55 percent to 42 percent.
Since the 2000 election, Democrats have increased their ranks of registered voters in Delaware by more than 15,000 to some 230,100 while the number of registered Republicans has increased by less than 5,000 to about 175,700. A similar increase was seen among unaffiliated and minority party voters, who now number more than 122,000 and could play a significant role in November.
In the U.S. House race, Republican Rep. Michael Castle is a shoo-in for a seventh term. Fielding only token candidates in recent years, the Democrats seem to have conceded the House seat to Castle for as long as he wants it.
In 2002, Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden won a state-record sixth term in his rematch with Republican Ray Clatworthy.
In the state's only House race, Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Castle coasted to a sixth term, beating Democrat Mike Miller.
Attorney General M. Jane Brady, who won re-election, planned to turn her attention to reforming the state's probation system. Half of all prisoners in Delaware are behind bars for violating probation.
To boost the state's declining revenues, Minner proposed a combination of higher business taxes and fees, along with higher taxes on cigarettes and casino revenue.
Delaware's budget received a $24 million boost when officials found a mistake in calculating revenue from an increase in corporate franchise fees. Budget officials did not consider the difference between fiscal and calendar years when calculating the increase, which was enacted this spring.