- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Democrats kept Delaware solidly blue Tuesday, retaining their hold on the governor’s office and the state’s lone U.S. House seat while giving Hillary Clinton Delaware’s three electoral votes.

Eight years after losing a hard-fought Democratic gubernatorial primary to current Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Rep. John Carney Jr. was elected governor, a victory he described as both “humbling” and “uplifting.”

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Carney, who will have little time to celebrate before forming a cabinet and putting together a financial team to balance the state’s budget for next year.

“That’s going be job No. 1,” he said. “I’m going to walk in with a 200- to 300-million-dollar deficit.”

During the campaign, Carney called for a “complete budget reset,” taking a hard look at both spending and revenue.

“We’ve become too reliant on certain revenues that are not sustainable in the future,” he said.

Carney will be replaced in Washington by former state Labor Secretary Lisa Blunt Rochester, who will become the first African-American and first woman to represent the state in Congress.

“This is more Delaware making history than me as one individual,” Rochester told The Associated Press. “I’m so excited I can’t even begin to tell you.”

Rochester traced her decision to run for Congress to a moment at a grocery store, where she watched a father with three kids try to buy a bag of grapes.

“He had to put them back because they were $9,” she recalled. “That totally changed me. And I listened to the negativity that I was hearing across the country at the federal level, and instead of sitting back I just said, ‘I want to step up.’ And so I did, even though I had never run for office before, and here we are.”

Rochester said she hopes to work with fellow Democrats and Republicans to build alliances to tackle issues such as safeguarding Social Security, protecting the Affordable Care Act, and working to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

“That’s what I’ve built my career on, and that’s what I want to take to Washington, D.C., bringing people together, common ground, working on tough issues,” she said.

In other races, Democratic state Sen. Bethany Hall-Long won the contest to fill Delaware’s vacant lieutenant governor’s seat, and New Castle County Sheriff Trinidad Navarro was elected insurance commissioner.

Democrats also elected a new mayor in Wilmington and a new chief executive in New Castle County, the state’s two largest local governments.

Republicans failed to regain control of the state Senate but did score a stunning upset over Democratic President Pro Tem Sen. Patricia Blevins of Elsmere, the only incumbent member of the legislature to lose Tuesday.

The final balance of power in the Senate will hinge on a special election, likely held early next year, to fill the seat being vacated by Hall-Long.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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