Attorney General of Delaware

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Attorney General of Delaware
Matthew Denn

since January 6, 2015
Residence Wilmington, Delaware
Term length Four years
No Term Limits
Inaugural holder Gunning Bedford, Jr.
February 1, 1783
Website Delaware Department of Justice - Attorney General Office
Seal of the Attorney General of Delaware

The Attorney General of Delaware is a constitutional officer of the U.S. state of Delaware, and is the chief law officer and the head of the State Department of Justice. On January 6, 2015 Matt Denn, who was formerly Delaware's lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner, was sworn in as the 45th Attorney General of Delaware.[1]

Description of the office

The Attorney General elected to a four-year term in the "off-year" state election, two years before/after the election of the Governor. Along with the State Treasurer, State Auditor, and State Insurance Commissioner, the office is intended to serve as a restraint to the Governor's exclusive executive authority. The office existed in various forms prior to the ratification of the Delaware Constitution of 1776, which continued the existing colonial tradition of granting the Governor of Delaware the power to appoint the Attorney General for a five-year tenure. With the ratification of the Delaware Constitution of 1897, the post was converted to its present four-year elected form, also establishing the Attorney General as third in line of succession to the office of Governor, after the Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State.

Office Holders

Gunning Bedford, Jr. was the first holder of the office after American independence. The office was held from 2007-2015 by Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, who was elected in 2006 and took office on January 2, 2007. He was a Democrat and the eldest son of Vice President and former senior U.S. Senator from Delaware, Joseph R. Biden, Jr.. The current incumbent is Matt Denn, Lieutenant Governor of Delaware from 2009-2015.

Attorneys General of Delaware

# Name Term Office Political Party
1 Gunning Bedford, Jr. 1778–1790
2 Nicholas Ridgely 1790–1801
3 Nicholas Van Dyke 1801–1806 Federalist
4 Outerbridge Horsey 1806–1810 Federalist
5 Thomas Clayton 1810–1815 Federalist
6 James Rogers 1815–1830
7 Robert Frame 1830–1835
8 James Rogers 1835–1840
9 Edward W. Gilpin 1840–1850
10 Willard Saulsbury, Sr. 1850–1855 Democratic
11 George P. Fisher 1855–1860
12 Alfred Wooten 1860–1864
13 Jacob Moore 1864–1869
14 Charles B. Lore 1869–1874 Democratic
15 John B. Penington 1874–1879 Democratic
16 George Gray 1879–1885 Democratic
17 John H. Paynter 1885–1887
18 John Biggs 1887–1892
19 John R. Nicholson 1892–1895
20 Robert C. White 1895–1901
21 Herbert H. Ward 1901–1905
22 Robert H. Richards 1905–1909
23 Andrew C. Gray 1909–1913
24 Josiah O. Wolcott 1913–1917 Democratic
25 David J. Reinhardt 1917–1921
26 Sylvester D. Townsend, Jr. 1921–1925
27 Clarence A. Southerland 1925–1929
28 Reuben Satterthwaite, Jr. 1929–1933
29 Daniel J. Layton 1933 Republican
30 P. Warren Green 1933–1939
31 James R. Morford 1939–1943
32 Clair J. Killoran 1943–1947
33 Albert W. James 1947–1951
34 H. Albert Young 1951–1955
35 Joseph D. Craven 1955–1959
36 Januar D. Bove, Jr. 1959–1963
37 David P. Buckson 1963–1971 Republican
38 W. Laird Stabler, Jr. 1971–1975 Republican
39 Richard R. Wier, Jr. 1975–1979
40 Richard S. Gebelein 1979–1983
41 Charles M. Oberly, III 1983–1995 Democratic
42 M. Jane Brady 1995–2005 Republican
43 Carl C. Danberg 2005–2007 Democratic
44 Joseph R. "Beau" Biden, III 2007–2015 Democratic
45 Matthew Denn 2015–present Democratic

See also


  1. "New Delaware attorney general and state treasurer take oaths". WMDT (ABC) Channel 47. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Conrad, Henry C. (1908). History of the State of Delaware. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wickersham Company.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links