Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Primary Day in Delaware

There are more contested races in today's primary than we've ever seen, starting with the Democratic and Republican nomination for governor. By tonight, we will know whether John Carney or Jack Markell will be our next governor. (Expected GOP nominee Bill Lee has hardly campaigned.)
John and Jack will be fielding the largest organizations of volunteers and paid campaign workers anyone has seen in a long time. John will have the party regulars and unions behind him; Jack has put together his own field organization from scratch.
And the fun doesn't stop there. We have hotly contested races for insurance commissioner, New Castle County executive, and Wilmington city council on the ballot. You would think the top races would take up all of the attention and volunteers, but up and down the ballot, candidates will have their own squads of poll workers.
Delaware politics customarily resembles an orderly corporate succession, but not this year. I've seen what a well managed army of enthusiastic volunteers can do to upset the natural order of things. Joe Biden did it in 1972. Jim Sills beat the incumbent to become mayor in 1992.
The so called Delaware way is not that everything is worked out in advance (as John Carney had hoped), but that folks work together after the election, as I expect will happen with most candidates and their supporters this time around. Most candidates and their supporters get involved because they care about governing. There will be plenty to do when all the votes have been counted, starting with the general election in eight weeks.
My advice for today is to keep your cool, wear comfortable shoes and enjoy the day.

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