Tuesday September 9th will be a huge day in Delaware politics. At stake is the governorship of the state and a chance to shape Delaware politics for decades. John Carney is the establishment man having served as the Lieutenant Governor under the administration of Ruth Ann Minner . He has quietly waited his turn, towed his party line and waited for his chance at higher office. Jack Markell is the progressive, rabble-rousing, underdog challenger who has served as State Treasure.
The issue in the election is how much value voters should place on experience and party service. Carney has served in the administration of the state and was endorsed by the Delaware Democratic Party. However, Markell brings fresh ideas to the table and is not tied down to the policies of the unpopular Minner. Carney may be obligated to continue these policies to create some sort of legacy and not appear to be changing his horse mid-stream.
Markell has put a lot on the line. He was almost assuredly offered the position of Lt. Governor and I am certain without a doubt that party leaders told him he would be the next next Governor if he just waited his turn. Markell has a huge lead in fund-raising and has an impressive grassroots support system. Carney has bigger name recognition and this has mattered in the past (see Beau Biden). Tuesday's showdown will ultimately determine who will be the face of Delaware Democrats for years to come.
EDIT: Markell won with 51% of the vote. Obviously a huge upset. Chalk this up to Markell's superior grassroots ground effort. I volunteered for Markell in January/February of 2008 and was stunned at the efficiency and depth of his ground network. Markell's people were relentless, dedicated and intelligent and helped him get through this squeaker.