On May 5, 2010, the 14th District Democratic Committee unanimously approved the following endorsement policy: “Given that the Democratic candidates for office are typically highly committed and effective leaders, it shall be the general policy of the 14th District Democratic Committee not to endorse nor recommend for endorsement Democratic candidates running in primary elections.” The policy allowed for endorsement or recommendation if there was a “compelling reason.”
I strongly supported this policy eight years ago and regret that the 14th District no longer follows it. This policy promotes fairness, openness and unity.
Delaware has primaries — not party caucuses. One person-one vote is a good thing. We need to keep moving away from the perception of back-room deals, party bosses and the father-knows-best mentality. Voters will support the winner — even if their candidate loses — if they believe the primary campaign was fair and open. Past elections have shown that endorsements create disunity within the party.
Unendorsed candidates are excluded from sponsored events and programs, yet each candidate pays a filing fee to the party. For state-wide offices, the fee ranges from $4,500 to $10,000. If the party accepts a candidate’s money, that candidate has the right to expect the Party to offer the same services to all candidates.
Voter turnout for primaries is extremely low. Only 20 percent of registered Democrats voted in the 2016 primary — and only 7 percent in the 2014 primary! Perhaps turnout would improve if party committees, rather than announcing who they want to win the primary, held public forums so voters could learn about the candidates. Voters who meet candidates are more likely to go to the polls on election day.
A high voter turnout for the Sept. 6 Democratic primary can help ensure a successful outcome on Nov. 6.