For the first time in 18 years, Delaware’s lone Congressional seat will be held by a Democrat. John Carney defeated Republican challenger Glen Urquhart with 56.8 percent of the vote, winning over the Tea Party-backed candidate 173,443-125,408 in Tuesday’s general election.
For the first time in 18 years, Delaware’s lone Congressional seat will be held by a Democrat.
John Carney defeated Republican challenger Glen Urquhart with 56.8 percent of the vote, winning over the Tea Party-backed candidate 173,443-125,408 in Tuesday’s general election.
Independent Party of Delaware candidate Earl R. Lofland, Libertarian Brent A. Wangren and Blue Enigma Party candidate Jeffrey Brown combined to garner 2.2 percent of the vote.
“Never retreat. Never surrender. Never give up,” Carney said, as he took to the stage in front of a crowd of cheering supporters at the Downtown Doubletree in Wilmington. “This is a great win for all of us.”
Carney and fellow Democrat Chris Coons, who defeated Republican Christine O’Donnell in the Delaware race for U.S. Senate, took their GOP challengers very seriously this mid-term election. The U.S. House and Senate seats were the high profile races that brought out a steady stream of voters on a sunny, crisp November day.
“Campaigns are very, very difficult,” Carney said. “They’re tough on the candidates, but they are harder on the candidates families."
Seven of Carney’s eight siblings were in attendance. His sister Claire was in the hospital, he said.
“If I could get my family to vote for me, we had a pretty good start,” he said.
He also acknowledged the 40 years of service of Rep. Mike Castle.
“We all should thank him for his service. Mike Castle served with great integrity and the best interests of the state of Delaware.
“This campaign was about all of you and it was about a bright and great future for our state and for our country. Tonight, Delaware sends two new voices to Washington with one clear priority, to get Delaware back to work.”
Campaigning was tiring, Carney said. He spent 18 months traveling up and down Delaware and heard from many of the 35,000 people who are out of work.
“We have a lot of work to do and it’s serious. Tonight we celebrate, but tomorrow we go to work.
Carney closed by speaking about the importance of bipartisan leadership.
“They want solutions. They don’t want partisan bickering,” he said of the voters who had just elected him. “We’re ready to work with Democrats and Republicans to get that job done.”
Urquhart took the stage at a ballroom in the Sheraton Dover Hotel around 9:30 p.m. to deliver his concession speech.
In his remarks, the Republican candidate said he called Carney as the results were finalized, congratulated him and offered his prayers.
"I pledged to work with him in any way he would like me to, and any way the people of Delaware would like me to," he said. "They have spoken and I respect their decision."
Urquhart also said the issues he campaigned on, less government spending and taxation, still need to be resolved.
"The problems we had today are still there when we wake up in the morning," he said. "The burden falls on John Carney, Chris Coons and others. I ask that you would pray for them."
The defeated candidate also put into perspective what the losses means for the future of the Republican party in Delaware, particularly the Tea Party movement that embraced Urquhart and O'Donnell.
"Washington lost his first four major battles," Urquhart said. "It's not about me, it's not about any one person. It's about this great nation."
After his speech, Urquhart said the defeat does not represent a rejection of the conservative movement he represents.
He said the Democrats campaigned on promises, not reality.
"It's always easier to say to your kids, 'I'll give you more candy and buy more toys.'" he said.
Urquhart also let slip some criticism of the way in which O'Donnell's headline-grabbing campaign drew attention from his race.
"We ran our campaign, we got a lot more bang for our buck," he said regarding O'Donnell's massive nationwide funding support.
"I didn't get as much attention," he said. "I wish Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would have had me on their programs."
However, voters cited the Carney-Urquhart race as one of the two that drew them out, the other being the Coons-O’Donnell race.
Democrat Maureen Joseph, 49, of Hockessin, voted for Chris Coons at the Hockessin PAL Center because she understood he had tough decisions to make with the New Castle County budget after the housing market burst. She also voted for John Carney, although that was a more difficult decision, but she voted more along party lines and was not impressed with Glen Urquhart’s negative campaign ads.
David Morse, 40, of Hockessin, is an independent who voted for Democrat Chris Coons because he thought he was more qualified. In the House race, he went with Carney because he does not like where the Republican Party is leaning these days.
Republican Jeffrey Watt, 49, of Hockessin, brought his sons Matthew and Joshua – students at Brandywine Springs – to the Hockessin PAL Center where Watt voted for Republicans O’Donnell and Urquhart. Watt, a Mike Castle supporter, said he sort of held his nose when he voted for O’Donnell because he did not like the outside influences on Delaware. However, he found Urquhart was in the conservative mold that Watt supports.
However, Republican Bob Russell, 59 of Hockessin, voted for Coons and Carney at the Hockessin PAL Center. Russell, a Castle supporter, did not want to vote for O’Donnell because she’s “never really had a job,” he said. As for the U.S. House race, he went for the Democrat because of the social issues that people fought for like health care reform and Roe v. Wade.
Meanwhile, Democrat Richard Cherrin, 70, of Brandywine Hundred, went with the Republicans for the top races.
“I held my nose and voted for O’Donnell,” Cherrin said. “Chris Coons is an incumbent and I did not want to vote for an incumbent if I could help it. I also didn’t like the way he handled the debate with O’Donnell. He didn’t seem friendly at all; he didn’t smile the entire time. I honestly thought he would slip into being a Democratic senator like the rest of them without any leadership.
“I voted for Urquhart,” Cherrin said. “I did not like John Carney because he was a Ruth Ann Minner apprentice. There were so many things happening during that time that he did not speak out against. He had a responsibility to speak out against some things. He just went along to get along.”