Brian G. Pettyjohn

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Brian G. Pettyjohn
Member of the Delaware Senate
from the 19th district
Assumed office
November 7, 2012
Preceded byJoseph W. Booth
Personal details
Born (1974-01-11) January 11, 1974 (age 50)
Milford, Delaware, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceGeorgetown, Delaware
Alma materUniversity of Delaware

Brian Pettyjohn (born January 11, 1974) is an American politician and a Republican member of the Delaware Senate, where he has represented the 19th district since 2012.[1] He has been serving as the Senate Minority Whip since 2020.[2] He was a member of the town council for Georgetown, Delaware from 2008 to 2010 and mayor from 2010 to 2012.


Pettyjohn graduated from Sussex Central High School and the University of Delaware.[citation needed]

Electoral history[edit]

He first ran for elective office as a member of the Georgetown, Delaware town council in 2008. He was elected to a 2-year term after defeating incumbent Chester Johnson in ward 4.[3]

In 2010, Pettyjohn was elected mayor of Georgetown after defeating local radio personality Matt Walsh in a vote of 430 for Pettyjohn, and 25 for Walsh.[4]

In 2012, he began a write-in campaign for Delaware Senate after incumbent Joseph W. Booth was defeated by Eric Bodenweiser in the Republican primary and Bodenweiser was subsequently indicted by a Delaware grand jury.[5] When Bodenweiser filed the necessary paperwork to officially withdraw, Pettyjohn and the Republican Party petitioned the Delaware Department of Elections to replace Bodenweiser's name on the ballot with Pettyjohn's. The Department of Elections refused, and the Delaware Republican Party brought legal action against the department. After favorable rulings by the Delaware Court of Chancery and Delaware Supreme Court, Pettyjohn was placed on the November ballot.[6] He won the election with slightly less than 60 percent of the vote.[7] Pettyjohn was unopposed for reelection in the 2016, 2020, and 2022 primary and general elections.[8][9][10]

In June 2017, Pettyjohn was charged with a felony for having a firearm on an airplane after a loaded handgun was found in his carry-on luggage at Salisbury Regional Airport by TSA agents.[11][12] He did not have a concealed carry license for Maryland, although at the time he did have a valid Delaware concealed carry license.[12][13] He stated he forgot the firearm was in his laptop bag, and could have faced up to 10 years in jail for the offense.[14] However, he avoided a criminal conviction and jail time after being sentenced to 18 months of probation before judgement.[15] He was also required to turn over his handgun as part of his plea bargain.[16] Pettyjohn has frequently spoken out against and opposed gun control laws.[17]

In 2018, Pettyjohn reversed his earlier support for the Delaware Equal Rights Amendment and was one of five Republican senators to vote against it after voicing concerns about current programs and policies in place to advance women's rights.[18][19]

In 2019, Pettyjohn sponsored a bill to allow state funding for high school students attending trade schools and certification programs, which was signed into law in 2021.[20]


  1. ^ "Senator Brian Pettyjohn (R)". Dover, Delaware: Delaware General Assembly. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  2. ^ "Sen. Hocker Will Continue As Minority Leader; Sen. Pettyjohn Becomes Minority Whip". WGMD. 2020-11-06. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  3. ^ "Georgetown Voters Elect New Mayor". WBOC-TV 16. May 11, 2008. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  4. ^ "Brian Pettyjohn, elected new Georgetown Mayor on Saturday, May 8". Hoy en Delaware News. May 8, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Chibbaro, Lou (October 30, 2012). "Del. GOP candidate indicted on sex-with-minor charges". Washington Blade.
  6. ^ Nuzback, Kara (October 31, 2012). "Pettyjohn on the ballot in state Senate race". Cape Gazette.
  7. ^ "State of Delaware General Election Official Results". Office of the State Election Commissioner. Delaware Department of Elections. November 6, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  8. ^ "State of Delaware Primary Election Results". Office of the State Election Commissioner. Delaware Department of Elections. September 8, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "State of Delaware General Election Results". Office of the State Election Commissioner. Delaware Department of Elections. November 8, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  10. ^ Elections, The State of Delaware-Department of. "Delaware Election Results". Department of Elections. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  11. ^ Bittle, Matt (June 23, 2017). "Pettyjohn facing felony charge for bringing gun to airport". Delaware State News.
  12. ^ a b Dawson, James (June 23, 2017). "State senator faces gun charge after airport incident". Delaware Public Media.
  13. ^ Parra, Esteban (June 23, 2017). "Delaware state senator charged with felony after gun found in airport carry-on". The News Journal.
  14. ^ Choi, David (June 23, 2017). "Delaware state senator faces felony charges for loaded handgun inside carry-on bag". Business Insider.
  15. ^ Chase, Randall (September 29, 2017). "Delaware senator enters plea, gets probation on gun charge". Associated Press. The Seattle Times.
  16. ^ Goss, Scott (October 1, 2017). "Delaware state senator gets probation in felony gun charge case". The News Journal.
  17. ^ Goss, Scott (April 10, 2018). "Delaware legislators to debate gun violence issues at April 16 public forum". The News Journal.
  18. ^ Bittle, Matt (January 17, 2019). "Equal Rights Amendment approved". Delaware State News. By a 16-5 vote, senators passed the bill, adding to the constitution a short section stating, 'Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex.' The House passed the measure 35-6 last week. Only Republican legislators voted against it.
  19. ^ "Equal Rights Amendment added to state Constitution". Cape Gazette. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  20. ^ "Delaware bill to fund trade school and certification program scholarships signed into law". 47abc. 2021-09-30. Retrieved 2022-04-19.

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