1996 United States Senate election in Delaware

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1996 United States Senate election in Delaware

← 1990 November 5, 1996 2002 →
Nominee Joe Biden Raymond Clatworthy
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 165,465 105,088
Percentage 60.0% 38.1%

County results
Biden:      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. senator before election

Joe Biden

Elected U.S. Senator

Joe Biden

The 1996 United States Senate election in Delaware was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Biden won re-election to a fifth term. This was the first Senate election in his career in which Biden's margin of victory decreased from the prior election.

Republican primary[edit]


  • Raymond Clatworthy, businessman,[1] Christian radio station owner[2]
  • Vance Phillips, farmer
  • Wilfred J. Plomis, oil and gas consultant, former apartment complex manager[3]


Republican primary results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Raymond J. Clatworthy 18,638 82.24%
Republican Vance Phillips 3,307 14.59%
Republican Wilfred Plomis 717 3.17%
Total votes 22,662 100.00%

General Election[edit]


In February 1996, Biden would end up selling his home to John Cochran; a senior executive for MBNA. A pollster from Clatsworthy's campaign would suggest in a phone survey that Cochran had paid twice the value of the house. In reality, Cochran had paid the $1.2 million it was on the market for. "officials" from MBNA dismissed what the pollster had to say and Biden would end up making a document from 1992 from the Delaware Appraisal Group public that said the home's value was $1.2 million. The controversy would continue to be pushed when a conservative magazine named The American Spectator published an article in 1998 calling Biden "The Senator from MBNA".[5]

Libertarian Party NEWS would report that Mark Jones who was Libertarian Party's candidate would be the first candidate from the party in the state to campaign full time as he resigned his position as an assistant professor at Goldey–Beacom College.[6]



The first senatorial debate would be held on September 29, 1996, in Wilmington and was hosted by WHYY-TV. The candidates that participated in the debate were: Joe Biden, Raymond Clatworthy, and Mark Jones.[7]

The debate would begin with candidates being given an introductory statement for two minutes. Biden would say his first followed by Jones and Clatworthy would last.[7]

After the opening statements there would be a discussion on social security with Biden and Clatworthy primarily participating although Jones did interject occasionally. After a discussion about social security ended, one of the moderators would ask the candidates which of the Founding Fathers they liked the best. Jones responded first saying Thomas Jefferson while Clatworthy said George Washington. Biden answered differently saying that Abraham Lincoln was his favorite president and listed the accomplishments of presidents he thought were noble along with their achievements. He was reminded by a moderator who reminded him he was talking about the founding fathers. He would say that Thomas Jefferson was the most significant but didn't mention it as his favorite.[7]

For the rest of the debate topics such as: Clatworthy's ties with the Christian Coalition, abortion, crime, terrorism, and foreign policy were talked about. A moderator would ask a final question to the candidates about how they see themselves as being different from each other.[7]


The second senatorial debate would occur on October 29, 1996, in New Castle. The four candidates who would participate in the debate were: Joe Biden, Raymond J. Clatworthy, Mark Jones, and Jacqueline Kossoff.[8]



General election results[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Biden (incumbent) 165,465 60.04% -2.64%
Republican Raymond J. Clatworthy 105,088 38.13% +2.30%
Libertarian Mark Jones 3,340 1.21% -0.28%
Natural Law Jacqueline Kossoff 1,698 0.62%
Majority 60,377 21.91% -4.94%
Turnout 275,591
Democratic hold Swing

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "GOP says Biden-Clatworthy race is potential sleeper". Archived from the original on November 2, 2012.
  2. ^ "Senate Race - Delaware". All Politics CNN. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  3. ^ "WILFRED PLOMIS". Legacy.com. Archived from the original on August 1, 2021. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Barrish, Cris (October 20, 2020). "Analysis: How Biden made a large profit on the sale of his house (News Journal archives)". The News Journal. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "National pulse - News from the states" (PDF). Libertarian Party NEWS (Newspaper). Vol. 11, no. 4. Solstice Inc. April 1996. p. 4. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d "Delaware Senatorial Debate". C-SPAN. September 29, 1996. Archived from the original on May 25, 2017.
  8. ^ "Delaware Senatorial Debate". C-SPAN. October 29, 1996. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021.
  9. ^ "LP candidates gearing up campaigns across U.S." (PDF). Libertarian Party NEWS. Vol. 11, no. 8. Solstice Inc. August 1996. Retrieved September 6, 2021 – via LPedia.
  10. ^ "1996 Senatorial General Election Results - Delaware". Dave Leip's Election Atlas. Archived from the original on May 27, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  11. ^ "Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives".