Delaware Democrats get fired up at Sussex County Jamboree

LEWES — Delaware Democrats were in a celebratory mood Sunday at the annual Sussex County Democratic Jamboree. But as they celebrated the winners of Tuesday’s primaries, they constantly repeated another message: it’s not over.

Fifty days separate today from Nov. 8, the date of the general election. On the ballot are open seats for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. representative, insurance commissioner and, of course, president.

“So please get out there for this amazing slate of candidates … and there’s no better way to send me off, to make sure we elect all these Democrats, to put Democrats in control again in the Senate and the House and all these other offices and in the White House,” Gov. Jack Markell told an enthusiastic audience.

The 100-plus attendees at Cape Henlopen State Park cheered Democratic congressional nominee Lisa Blunt Rochester, gubernatorial nominee John Carney, lieutenant governor nominee Bethany Hall-Long, insurance commissioner nominee Trinidad Navarro and local candidates.

There had been talk Vice President Joe Biden would attend, as he made a surprise appearance last year, but he did not visit Sunday.

Despite the absence of Delaware’s highest-profile Democrat, hope was in the air as those gathered at Cape Henlopen State Park spoke of a unified party focused on winning a multitude of seats in two months.

Gov. Markell talked about how he and then-Lt. Gov. Carney buried the hatchet after a contentious primary eight years ago and praised his former opponent, saying “as a member of the minority in the House of Representatives, he probably got more done than any other Democrat over these last six years.”

Many of the people in attendance wore shirts or stickers proclaiming their support for Democratic candidates and signs ringed the pavilion where the event took place.

Ms. Blunt Rochester, who won a six-way primary, urged attendees to vote and reject “fear” in November.

“I thought about how sometimes people fall asleep on the job, and this is no time for falling asleep. This is time to rise and shine, because we do know in this state we actually had a person — people went to sleep and woke up with Christine O’Donnell,” she said, referencing the 2010 Republican Senate nominee, who upset longtime Rep. Michael Castle in a primary.

Rep. Carney spoke glowingly of the party’s nominees, saying they accurately reflect the state’s makeup. The statewide winners of the primary include two women, one of whom is African-American.

There were constant refrains to support Democratic candidates, as well as criticism — some slightly veiled, some obvious — of the Republican Party and presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Sen. Chris Coons called attendees to do all they can to ensure Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins the White House over “a thin-skinned reality TV star, a Cheeto-faced short-fingered vulgarian who is a serial developer of casinos and beauty pageants and whose knowledge of Russia and Putin and his crimes of invading his neighboring countries seems so shallow as to shock the conscience.”

Democrats are running for 77 different offices throughout the state this year.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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