[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/14/art.odonnell.castle.2shot.candidates.jpg caption =" Mike Castle and Christine O’Donnell are vying for the GOP nomination for Senate in Delaware."]Dover, Delaware (CNN) - Delaware election officials are reporting a better turnout than in some previous off-year primaries. There are just over 180,000 registered Republican voters in the entire state, and the primary is only open to them.
Of the three counties in the state, Sussex, which includes the southern part, says anecdotally it is seeing much higher turnout than normal in an off-year primary. This is the area where Christine O'Donnell has concentrated a lot of her efforts in her bid against Rep. Mike Castle.
"Excellent turnout" is how Kenneth McDowell, the county's elections director, put it to CNN. In many districts there are contested local contests as well helping to boost the number showing up at the polls, and in those areas McDowell expects turnout by the end of the day to be 40-45 percent.
New Castle, which includes Wilmington and is the largest county in the state, is seeing "a little higher" turnout than it has seen in previous off-year primary elections, according to Anthony Albence, New Castle's director of elections. He says it is not anywhere near record-breaking though.
In Kent County, which includes the middle of the state, officials say they are seeing moderate turnout. "It is not overwhelming," Joyce Wright, of Kent's office of elections, tells CNN.
Four years ago statewide 8 percent of GOP voters showed up for the primary, state elections commissioner Elaine Manlove told CNN. Her office was not making projections about turnout this year. In 2008 28% showed up to vote in a hotly contested governors primary.
There are 621,746 registered voters in the state – 292,738 (47 percent) are Democrat; 182,796 (29 percent) are Republican; and 146,212 (24 percent) are listed as other.