James D. McGinnis
19th Lieutenant Governor of Delaware
In office
January 18, 1977 – January 20, 1981
GovernorPierre S. du Pont IV
Preceded byEugene Bookhammer
Succeeded byMike Castle
Personal details
Born(1932-01-11)January 11, 1932
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedFebruary 24, 2009(2009-02-24) (aged 77)
Dover, Delaware, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Residence(s)Dover, Delaware

James D. McGinnis (January 11, 1932 – February 24, 2009) was an American real estate agent and politician from Dover in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served as Delaware's 19th lieutenant governor.

Professional career

McGinnis was born in Chicago, Illinois, and moved to Dover, Delaware, in 1954. In 1964 he entered the real estate business by selling and leasing commercial property. He worked in the industry for eleven years before earning his Broker's license from the Delaware Real Estate Commission in 1975. McGinnis earned a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation from the National Association of Realtors and is a member of the Kent County Association of Realtors, Delaware Association of Realtors, and National Association of Realtors. From 1990 to 1992, he served on the Landlord-Tenant Committee for the Kent County Realtors Association.

Political career

McGinnis first won elected office in 1962, when he was elected to the Delaware House of Representatives. In 1964, after only one term in the House, McGinnis won election to the State Senate, holding his seat until 1966.

Upon the retirement of Democratic state representative Ralph R. Smith in 1972, McGinnis returned to the State House by winning Smith's seat in Delaware's 32nd Representative district. He was reelected in 1974 and served as majority leader from 1975 to 1976.

McGinnis's legislative prowess led Delaware Democrats to nominate him for lieutenant governor. The Democratic candidate for Governor was incumbent Sherman W. Tribbitt, running for reelection amid a financial crisis. Then U.S. Congressman and du Pont family heir Pierre S. du Pont, IV defeated Tribbitt for governor by a 15-point margin. Despite this overwhelming defeat by the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, McGinnis won his race for lieutenant governor, defeating Republican Andrew Foltz by a slim 1+12-point margin.

In 1980 McGinnis declined to run for reelection as lieutenant governor, instead opting to run for governor. However, he and most of the other Democratic contenders dropped out of the primary in favor of eventual nominee William J. Gordy. Gordy lost to incumbent governor du Pont. The Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor was State Senate Majority Leader and future President Pro Tempore Thomas B. Sharp, who lost the election to future governor Michael N. Castle by 19%.

In March 1997 Democratic governor Thomas R. Carper recognized McGinnis's combined experience in the areas of politics and real estate by appointing him to a three-year term on the Delaware Real Estate Commission. He has been reappointed since then by Carper and his successor, Ruth Ann Minner. Minner and McGinnis had served together in the State House from 1975 to 1977, when McGinnis was the floor leader for their caucus and Minner was in her first term.


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the Delaware General Assembly take office the second Tuesday of January. The lieutenant governor takes office the third Tuesday of January.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Elected Began office Ended office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover 1962 January 8, 1963 January 12, 1965
State Senator Legislature Dover 1964 January 12, 1965 January 10, 1967
State Representative Legislature Dover 1972 January 9, 1973 January 14, 1975
State Representative Legislature Dover 1974 January 14, 1975 January 11, 1977 Majority Leader
Lt. Governor Executive Dover 1976 January 18, 1977 January 20, 1981
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Assembly Chamber Majority Governor Committees District
1963-1964 122nd State House Democratic Elbert N. Carvel 2nd Kent
1965-1966 123rd State Senate Democratic Charles L. Terry, Jr. 14th
1973-1974 127th State House Republican Sherman W. Tribbitt 32nd
1975-1976 128th State House Democratic Sherman W. Tribbitt 32nd
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1962 State Representative James D. McGinnis Democratic Republican
1964 State Representative James D. McGinnis Democratic Republican
1972 State Representative James D. McGinnis Democratic 2,884 55.3% J. Ronald Fidler Republican 2,330 44.7%
1974 State Representative James D. McGinnis Democratic 2,562 61.6% Andrea L. Barros Republican 1,599 38.4%
1976 Lt. Governor James D. McGinnis Democratic 110,328 50.4% Andrew Foltz Republican 107,075 48.9%

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