Hillary Clinton overlooks Sanders ahead of Delaware primary
Despite drawing a smaller crowd than her other two opponents that made First State visits, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton energized potential primary voters ahead of Tuesday's election.
The packed theater at World Café Live at the Queen continued to chant ‘Hillary, Hillary,’ despite waiting more than an hour after the program was supposed to start and greeted Clinton with a deafening roar as she stepped on stage with Gov. Jack Markell (D).
Markell spoke briefly, as did as the state’s entire congressional delegation, urging Democrats to choose Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I).
He says supporting her “is the easiest decision” he has ever had to make.
“She is the most qualified candidate to run for president in my lifetime. That’s right. She has spent her entire adult life fighting for the most vulnerable amongst us. She is well-respected around the world and she will hit the ground running as commander-in-chief,” Markell said.
Clinton rarely deviated from her typical stump speech calling for expanding the middle class, raising the minimum wage and boosting domestic manufacturing jobs.
She also never mentioned Sanders, who held a rally a few blocks away on Saturday, though she took several shots at Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who also visited the state Friday.
Clinton says he’s out of touch with most Americans and that his policies won’t benefit the bulk of the country.
“Don’t just fly that big jet in and land it and go make a speech and insult everybody you can think of and then go back, get on that big jet and go back to your country club house in Florida, or your penthouse in New York," Clinton said.
She also briefly mentioned Amy Inita Joyner-Francis, the 16-year-old girl who was killed during a fight at Howard High School last week.
“We can’t let this go on. We’ve got to, from a very early age, help our children and then help young people understand that fighting doesn’t solve things."
That can only happen, Clinton says, by working with schools and community groups to help kids cope with each other and society better.
The lack of even mentioning Sanders signals her focus is nearly entirely on the general election in November.
Despite the event's delay, Clinton's backers serpentined their way from Market Street around 6th Street, including Roger and Susan Walker, who came from Newark.
Both say they’ve backed Clinton since the 2008 primary, with Roger touting her overall political experience as making her the most qualified to win the White House.
“It’s more her vast knowledge of foreign policy and also her work ethic and how she works toward trying to make it a better society in America and she has the credentials to make it happen – not just empty promises,” Walker said.
He also believes she can rise above sheer Republican vitriol to pierce congressional gridlock and accomplish her agenda.
Rachel Bryant from North Wilmington says she’s still undecided less than 24 hours before polls open in Delaware, but she’s pared down the issues most important to her.
“Education is number one, equal pay for women – the same as men – things like that,” said Bryant.
Others in the line along Market Street say they’re most concerned about gun control, reviving a more congenial political atmosphere in Washington and having a president with strong foreign policy experience.
Clinton is currently well ahead of Sanders in the delegate count needed to lock up the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer.
Both Delaware Democrats and Republicans with both help choose their parties’ nominees tomorrow – along with four other Mid Atlantic states.