The Primaries Are Over. What Will Happen in November?
"What happens to the state Senate may very well cause the most suspense on Election Night."
Delaware is its own exclusive club. Before there could be a United States of America, there had to be at least one state to unite to. Delaware!
Not only is Delaware the “First State,” it had a moment in destiny as the “Only State.”
It does not get any more exclusive than that. Still, Delaware has been part of other, if slightly less, exclusive clubs, from its earliest days, most notably the one for the 13 colonies that became the 13 original states. There are other elite clubs, though.
Quiz: How many states have voted in every presidential election since George Washington was elected in 1789?
Hint: The answer is not “13.”
What a short list this is. There are only seven states with perfect presidential attendance going into the 2016 election. In addition to Delaware, they are New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.
Three state blew it right from the start. North Carolina and Rhode Island had not gotten around to ratifying the new Constitution, so they were not in the union yet and could not vote. New York was a state in good standing, but it was tangled up politically in such a bitter internal feud that it never did come up with a slate of electors for the Electoral College, which elected Washington unanimously with the electors it did have.
Three more of the original states turned truant when they seceded and missed the vote during the Civil War. Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia had nothing to do with the presidential election in 1864, when Abraham Lincoln won a second term.
So 58 presidential elections later, Delaware is still in there, although that streak will not be the only thing on the line on Tuesday, Nov. 8, when the voters go to the polls.
President. Delaware has been voting up a blue streak. It is such a deep-blue Democratic state, it should be a cinch to continue its record of voting for the Democratic presidential ticket, now at six elections and counting. It has lasted from Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 to Al Gore in 2000 to John Kerry in 2004 to Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
The blue streak replaced another streak that had Delaware voting for the winning presidential ticket for 12 consecutive elections, bookended by misfires when it did not go with Harry Truman in 1948 or George Bush in 2000. (There but for some hanging chad in Florida, the streak might have gone on.)
It is hard to tell when one streak ended and the other began, since the votes for Bill Clinton are part of both of them. It also should be noted Sussex County, where the voters like their politics on the conservative side, has been stubbornly sitting out the blue streak by voting Republican every time from 2000 to 2012.
Senate. Delaware does not have an election for the U.S. Senate on the ballot this year. Still, it does not mean that Tom Carper and Chris Coons, the two Democratic senators, have nothing at stake, because the elections in other states will decide if the Senate flips from Republican to Democratic control.
Ask any senator what the happiest place on earth is, and the answer will not be Disney. It will be the Senate majority.
It could happen for Delaware’s Democratic duo. Joe Trippi, a prominent Democratic strategist, spoke at a Sussex Democratic dinner in the spring and predicted, “We’re not only going to have the next president of the United States, but I also think your two senators will be in the majority.”
Governor. It does not take a graduate degree in political science to figure out the voters have a streak going for governor or what that streak is.
As goes the vote for president, so goes the vote for governor.
When Bill Clinton carried the state in 1992, it coincided with the beginning of a chain of Democrat governors from Tom Carper to Ruth Ann Minner to Jack Markell, all of them winning two terms.
In other words, the race for governor is John Carney’s to lose.
This is especially so because Carney, who is giving up the state’s lone congressional seat to run, does not just have the Democratic streak going for him. He has history, too.
Call it the Run-and-Won Effect. The state has not elected a governor who had not already run-and-won a statewide race, dating all the way back to 1972. This is what happens in small-state politics, where the voters insist on being familiar with their governor. The mindset here is, if people do not know the governor personally, it is their own fault.
They know Carney. He is a three-term congressman. He was a two-term lieutenant governor. He is even remembered as the quarterback on St. Mark’s high school championship football team from 1973.
General Assembly. The second-longest active streak in state politics is under siege in the legislative elections. The Democrats have been in charge of the state Senate since 1973, when two Republican state senators went all Benedict Arnold and switched their allegiance to the Democrats.
The Republicans have had enough of 43 years of political woe, and they are pushing hard to take over the chamber. It probably is not a coincidence the Republicans have made it a priority when their state chair is Charlie Copeland, who used to be a Republican state senator himself.
What happens to the state Senate may very well cause the most suspense on Election Night.
Joe. So what is the longest active streak in state politics? It belongs to the one, the only, Joe Biden. “Our Joe” has been in public office since he was elected as a Democratic county councilman when he was 27 years old in 1970 and went on from there to be elected to six terms as a senator and two terms as vice president.
The streak ends with this election. Welcome home, Joe.