Delaware auditor Kathy McGuiness

Embattled Auditor of Accounts Kathy McGuiness is up for reelection in Tuesday's primary election.

(The Center Square) – Incumbent Democrat Kathy McGuiness is fighting to keep her seat as Delaware’s state auditor of accounts against partisan challenger Lydia York in Tuesday’s primary election.

McGuiness, state auditor since 2019, is seeking reelection this fall on the heels of recently being found guilty of conflict of interest, misconduct in public office and structuring.

A Kent County grand jury on July 1 found McGuiness guilty of two felonies and a trio of misdemeanors, stemming from an indictment last October.

Since last fall’s indictment, McGuiness has denied any wrongdoing. In the run-up to the primary, she has maintained the charges against her are politically motivated.

Since the July verdict, McGuiness also has sought a judgment of acquittal in the case.

While the personal charges against her have been at the forefront of her reelection bid, McGuiness in recent statements has said she has been trying to focus on issues directly related to the position she holds.

“I am a public servant doing my best to make a real impact in this state, and the amount of pushback makes me think we're looking into the right issues and making some people in power uncomfortable,” McGuiness wrote in a Sept. 4 tweet.

McGuiness, whose professional background also includes a stint as a pharmacist, was previously elected to other positions in Delaware, including town commissioner and Delaware State University’s board of trustees. Additionally, she ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2016.

In a statement on her campaign website, York, an accountant with Price Waterhouse Coopers, shared her philosophy of how Delaware politics should function.

“This election is important to the state of Delaware and the Democratic Party in Delaware,” York wrote. “I believe our taxpayer dollars should be used as a catalyst for opportunity and innovation, empowering social good, rising to the challenges of the moment and preparing for our best future, using insight and care.”

While announcing her bid as state auditor, York acknowledged she had chosen to do so because of the charges against McGuiness.

“I am running for auditor to ensure that the auditor’s office operates with a level of accountability and transparency,” York wrote on her campaign page. “There is work to be done, and someone has to do the work. I intend to do that work.”

In a move the organization itself deemed a “rare decision,” the Delaware Democratic Party in July announced it was endorsing newcomer York, instead of incumbent McGuiness.

“We saw Ms. York’s candidacy as an opportunity to restore the auditor's office to its intended function and do away with the political theater that has kept the incumbent at center stage for all the wrong reasons,” Betsy Maron, state party chairwoman, said in a statement responding to the reason behind the endorsement.

There are additional statewide offices on the primary ballot, though all others have no contests within party affiliation.

The state’s at-large U.S. House of Representatives seat is up for grabs this fall, as is state attorney general and state treasurer.