Hocker to run for Senate seatFormer Rep. Price steps back up to the plate
The 2012 general election is sure to bring changes in Sussex County. With new seats up for grabs, one longtime office-holder is stepping down, and other officials are shuffling into place.
Rep. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, said he plans to run for the 20th District Senate seat that Sen. George Bunting, D-Bethany Beach, will vacate after the 146th General Assembly is complete. Former Rep. Shirley Price, a democrat, announced she will run for Hocker’s seat in the House.
Bunting announced March 13 he would not seek re-election, after 30 years as a Sussex County elected official. Hocker said in an email he waited for Bunting to retire before he decided to run for the seat. “Sen. Bunting and I worked well together for the best of our constituents, and I did not want to challenge him. He was a big help to me in Dover,” Hocker said.
Hocker, who serves as House Minority Whip, said if elected to the Senate, he would work to make Delaware a more business-friendly state. Hocker owns G&E Super Market and G&E Hardware in Ocean View, Hocker’s Grocery and Deli and Hocker’s Super Center in Clarksville, and he co-owns Cea-Dag Apartments in Dagsboro.
Election district lines were redrawn to account for changes in population following the 2010 U.S. Census. Representative District 38 was became smaller because it was overpopulated by more than 3,600 people, and the Town of Dewey Beach was moved into the 14th Representative District.
Hocker said if elected senator of District 20, he would be able to continue to represent the larger constituency. “I will continue to represent the constituents that the 38th lost to redistricting while picking up additional voters from the 41st,” he said.
Democrat Price, who served as 38th District Representative from 1996 to 2002, is looking to reclaim her old seat. Hocker narrowly defeated Price in 2002, when the Republican earned just 57 more votes. Hocker defeated Price again in 2004.
Price, 62, said a number of factors played into her decision to run for the seat again. “I am continually drawn back to public service; it is something I have a heart for,” Price said in an email. “Certainly the fact that it is an open seat has created an opportunity to resume a role that I care deeply about,” she said.
If elected, Price said she would work to create and maintain services for Sussex County senior citizens, such as transportation. “In Sussex, it is a big issue and will only increase as our population grows and ages. It is not always easy for them to find the services they need,” Price said.
A resident of Millville, Price is on the board of directors for the CHEER Center. She also serves on the Center for the Inland Bays Citizens Advisory committee, Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation and Ocean View Historical Association, and she is chairwoman of the American Association of Retired Persons Scholarship committee.
Price filed for office April 16. Hocker has not yet officially filed to run for any seat in the General Assembly. Delaware’s general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.