Delaware’s Congressional Trio of Tom Carper, Chris Coons and John Carney and the Political History Preceding Them
Delaware’s current congressional trio stands out from its predecessors for a number of reasons—and not just because their last names all start with the same letter.
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There is something historic about Delaware’s congressional delegation.
No, it is not that the state is the only one to have the last names of all of its members begin with the same letter, as singular as it is. A congressional delegation, brought to you by the letter “C.”
That commonality may earn Tom Carper, Chris Coons and John Carney a cheer from the Sesame Street crowd, and it did get them a special mention in the “Did You Know” section of Politics in America, an authoritative 1,176-page tome about the Congress, but really.
That is the stuff of trivia, not history.
The distinction about the delegation comes from its political affiliation. Carper and Coons, the two senators, and Carney, the lone congressman, are all Democrats.
It seems rather quizzical to think there could be anything noteworthy about an all-Democratic congressional contingent. In state politics these days, it is about as obvious as saying they are all Delawareans.
Of course they are Democrats. The governor is a Democrat, the lieutenant governor is a Democrat, the attorney general is a Democrat, not to mention a Biden, and the legislature is controlled by Democrats. There are also upward of 120,000 more Democratic than Republican voters to make it a safe bet the state will stay that way.
A Kennedy family picnic could hardly look more Democratic than Delaware does.
Yet it was not always so. This is only the third time Delaware has had an all-Democratic delegation in the last hundred years. That means it goes all the way back to the beginning of the direct election of senators by the voters, instead of state legislatures, in 1913, the entire existence of the modern Senate.
Delaware, by the way, had something to do with the adoption of the 17th Amendment, the one that provided for the popular election of senators, and not exactly in a good way.
Delaware had disgraced itself.