Delaware Public Media

Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson retiring; State Rep. Dave Wilson to seek seat

Feb 2, 2018

State Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford) is joining the ranks of lawmakers retiring at the end of this session.


State Rep. Dave Wilson (R-Bridgeville) has announced his campaign to replace him. Wilson said he decided to launch his campaign before Simpson formally announced his retirement because he heard of other candidates interested in running for seat. He says he wanted to be upfront about his intentions.

“To declare your intent because I feel like your constituents need to know what your intent is," he said. "I mean, to be secretive about it is not representing your constituents before they even consider to vote for you.”

Simpson represents Senate District 18, which includes Milford, Ellendale and Slaughter Beach. Wilson, who has served in Delaware House since 2008, said his record advocating for the ag industry over his 10 years in the House make him the best choice to succeed Simpson.

“When you go to Dover, I feel as a representative I’ve advocated that and I’ll do the same as a senator," he said. "That you need to look at where the area’s the strongest and that’s where your interests ought to be to represent your constituents.”

Wilson currently represents House District 25 in Sussex County, which overlaps with Senate District 18.

Wilson owns an auction company and breeds horses. He has previously served as Sussex County Register in Chancery and Sussex County Register of Wills.

Simpson is the third senator to retire this year. Democratic Sens. Margaret Rose Henry and Brian Bushweller are also retiring.