University professor loses in close state senate race
Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 05:11
Republican incumbent Cathy Cloutier defeated Democratic candidate Chris Counihan, a university adjunct professor of political science and international relations, in a close race for the 5th District State Senate seat.
Cloutier said she was delighted to have secured the majority vote of 54.9 percent, leaving Counihan with 45.1 percent of votes.
"I'm very happy that all the work that all of my volunteers did and all that I did was a success," Cloutier said. "It was a great success, we all worked very hard,"
Cloutier began her career in local politics after taking over her late husband's seat in the state House of Representatives after he passed away while in office. Two years later, she decided she wanted to have the ability to reach more people on a larger scale and decided to run for state Senate.
Now that she has been re-elected, Cloutier said her first order of business is to focus on Delaware's unemployment rate.
"As far as constituency, we've got to get jobs here," she said. "There's people losing their homes, foreclosures, people need jobs and to be able to stay in their homes, and we've got to focus on that."
Equally as important, Cloutier said, is the necessity to reorganize the Republican Party.
"It's kind of a mess right now," Cloutier said. "We've got to get whoever is left in office and all of the key people that are movers and shakers that are interested to work together."
Counihan began teaching at the university in 2004. He is currently teaching at West Chester University and plans to return to the university in the spring.
While Counihan was hoping to have the opportunity to represent the 5th District in the state Senate, his political ambitions do not reach beyond the state level.
Although he was defeated in this race, his political future remains uncertain. Counihan said he wants to remain active in local politics, but that depends on his future success in elections.
"I'm not just doing this for fun," Counihan said. "I want to serve, and in order to serve you've got to get elected."
According to Counihan, Cloutier may face several difficulties upon reassuming her position due to the fact that she is a member of the minority party.
"Despite her best intentions, no matter what those intentions are, it's a matter of what she can actually achieve for the district," he said. "Somebody who can work with the opposing members might be able to get something achieved, but very limited work can be done."
Cloutier agreed that there may be some rough times ahead, but she has faith that the two parties will be able to work together.
"I work with them pretty well but I'm not in leadership, and you've got to be in the leadership," Cloutier said. "[…] I think they'll work together to an extent, it's definitely going to be what the Democrats want, but at least we can cut our losses by working with them."