DOVER — In an uncontested and historic election, Betsy Maron was chosen by acclimation as state chair of the Delaware Democratic Party at its annual state convention held via Zoom on Saturday.
Ms. Maron thus became the first female ever to be elected as party chair. She had served as acting chair since November 2020 after being appointed to replace Erik Raser-Schramm, who resigned to become part of New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer’s administration.
Also elected to the first and second vice chair positions were Coby Owens and Debbie Harrington, respectively. They became the first Black vice chairs elected to office, spokeswoman Sarah Fulton said. State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, who is Black, was appointed vice chair to replace Ms. Maron when she became chair this past winter, Ms. Fulton noted.
Mr. Owens said afterward, “Today’s election showed that Delaware Democrats are ready to usher in a new era of bold and progressive politics. I am proud of the work we accomplished as a party today, and hope to continue breaking down barriers for the people in our state.”
Said Ms. Harrington, “Between our historic elections as the first Black vice chairs and the adoption of a bold new platform that rises to meet the challenges we face, I believe that Delaware Democrats are well-positioned to lead, to keep winning elections, and to improve the quality of life for Delawareans living up and down our state.”
During short remarks afterward, Ms. Maron thanked “everyone for showing support for me and my candidacy. I look forward to working with everyone in the future.
“As I said earlier this morning, we have a lot of work to do for 2022 and let’s get busy,” she said.
In a statement issued afterward, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, described Ms. Maron’s election as “a monumental moment for Delaware Democrats ...
“I’m proud that our Party recognizes the value Betsy will bring to the table as the first female state party chair. Her political experience, leadership skills and longstanding commitment to our beliefs will guide our party as we continue to build on the progress we made in 2020.
“I look forward to working alongside her and the state party as we gear up for the next election cycle to get Democrats elected up and down the ballot ...”
Helene Keeley was chosen as party treasurer, and Linda Cavanaugh was elected as its secretary.
There were 343 delegates present to form a quorum.
During the revision of rules process, the party confirmed that its purpose “is to recruit, elect and support Democratic Party officials at all levels of government who will govern in ways that are aligned with Democratic values as set forth in the party’s platform.”
In a message to the delegation, U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester said she could “not thank you all enough for your support over these difficult and challenging years ...”
The legislator saluted members for “all those door you knocked on, all those calls that you made, all those events you’ve attended, the late nights and the long hours. ...
“We’ve come a long way. You played a role in that and you should be so, so proud of that.”
Gov. John Carney thanked the gathering for its efforts as well, and highlighted the state’s continued COVID-19 response and efforts to reach a goal of 70% adults receiving at least one vaccination by July 4. The mark would fall in line with President Joe Biden’s nationwide target, he said. The governor saluted the president and his public health staff who have delivered more than 200 million doses of vaccine in the first 100 days of the new administration.
Urging party members to continue their efforts, Gov. Carney said “One of the things we certainly learned over the last four years is that we can’t take anything for granted.
“We never know what the next day holds and so we have to work hard every day and in every election to earn the trust and support of the people we represent.
“We need to focus on the issues that matter to every Delaware family — good jobs, great schools, and a great place to raise a family. I appreciate all that you’re going and will continue to do over the next four years.”
U.S. Sens. Carper and Chris Coons also provided remarks during the convention, along with Delaware Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long. All the elected officials remarks were pre-recorded.
While stressing the importance of addressing platform issues including mental health, gun violence prevention and the healthcare system, Lt. Gov. Hall-Long lauded party members and said “when we come together we can make things happen.
“Wow, was that ever evident this past year when we elected our own Joe Biden to the White House and during the pandemic we stood behind our governor and others whether we’ve been out together (distributing) food, helping address equity in our communities of color, whether standing together to put vaccines in arms.
“We have made a big difference and we’re going to work with our unions and others (to assure) good, hardworking Delawareans good jobs and to protect families rights. ...”
The convention served to lay the foundation “for a successful effort for the 2022 mid-term elections,” Sen. Coons said.
“We need to take back seats or win seats at the county, municipal, statewide level. We need to make sure we have a strong platform that we can count on and we need to advance a message that together we’re going to support President Biden, we’re going to support Gov. Carney and we’re going to help enact solutions for the challenges facing Delawareans.
“We’re going to tackle racial equity, police reform. We’re going to make progress in supporting local businesses and helping create jobs. We’re going to get our schools reopened and get Delaware on a strong footing as we come out of this pandemic together.”