Final weekend of campaigning draws big name speakers to state
Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 05:11
In the final push to impassion voters before Election Day, hundreds of party supporters endured brisk autumn temperatures at Tea Party and Democratic campaign rallies earlier this week.
Democrats, who faced bleak voter turnout predictions, enlisted Vice President Joe Biden to headline a rally Monday afternoon in Wilmington.
Joined by Delaware's Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons and U.S. House of Representatives candidate John Carney, Biden warned the crowd of approximately 200 supporters at H. Fletcher Brown Park and a national television audience of what he characterized as extremism emanating from this election cycle's Republican campaigns.
"These are a different breed of cats," Biden said. "This is not your father's Republican party."
Biden criticized such candidates as Coons's opponent Christine O'Donnell, who pledges to repeal the health care legislation passed by the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.
"And these guys, this party which I call the new party of ‘repeal and repeat,' repeal all the progress that we've made and repeat everything that they did before," he said.
Biden reminded the campaign sticker-adorned audience that votes, not the political punditry the media has emphasized, matter on Election Day.
"I know [the national and international press] has made a caricature of both their opponents," Biden said. "[...] Folks, if we show up and vote, we'll win. As simple as that."
Junior Bill Humphrey, president of the College Democrats, joined supporters gathered in downtown Wilmington before phone banking for the candidates later that evening. Biden's speech targeted a more national audience, he said.
"He was looking straight at the media," Humphrey said. "He knew this would be seen around the country. The idea is to get people fired up, not just in Delaware but across the country for a lot of those really tough races we're fighting."
On Sunday, the Tea Party Express made its 28th stop on its Liberty at the Ballot Box! Tour to support O'Donnell at the Wilmington Riverfront. Contrary to media predictions, former vice presidential candidate and Tea Party darling Sarah Palin did not attend.
Approximately 500 attendees listened and cheered for other Tea Party speakers for two hours while they waited for O'Donnell's turn at the podium.
During her 45-minute speech, O'Donnell spoke about the importance of going out to vote on Election Day. She also expressed her endorsement of lower taxes and her opposition to cap and trade. She said both issues will greatly affect Delawareans in the coming months.
O'Donnell also spoke about her disappointment over the most recent actions of her opponents.
"When they can't attack you on substance, they try to call you names, they try to make up stories," O'Donnell said to the crowd of men and women, both young and old. "When they can't attack you on their position, they resort to paying people to make up stories."
Rally attendee Bob Barton, a Tea Party supporter, said it is important for the Tea Party message to be properly understood because changes that limit government, lower taxes and create jobs must be made.
"We believe in change—change that will affect the future for young people," Barton said. "We are not headed in the right direction as a country and you bet I'll be voting Tuesday because we need change."
On Friday, former presidential candidate and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) visited the Newark Veterans of Foreign Wars Post to encourage veteran support for Coons and Carney before Tuesday's election.
Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke with Iraq war veteran and Attorney General Beau Biden at the Elkton Road veteran's center before a group of approximately 75 veterans and community members.Kerry said his 25 years sitting on the committee with Biden's father provided him a firm understanding of the needs of Delaware veterans.
"You have 1,170-plus veterans who are using the G.I. Bill in this state and they rely on us to make sure that that works for them and the funding is there," he said.