Democrat Andria Bennett and Republican Ellis Parrott view each other as formidable opponents now that their convincing victories in their respective primaries Tuesday are behind them.
Bennett, who received 126 more votes than Parrott in her primary, said she was not taking any for granted in a district in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a roughly 2-to-1 margin.
"I am confident that we can win but would never underestimate Mr. Parrott's ability to campaign and turn out the vote," Bennett said. "He has proven that he is an indefatigable campaigner."
Parrott, meanwhile, said he was looking to bolster his conservative Republican base by reaching out to Independents that comprised 25 percent of the electorate and Blue Dog Democrats who cast their votes on Tuesday for the fiscally conservative Dr. William McGlumphy.
"I think she's a formidable candidate," Parrott said. "Having said that, I think my key to winning this election is to convince the Independents that I'm the better person for the job. And of course, I need to convince the Democrats that this is a local election, not a national election. They have their choice for president and governor but I hope I can convince Democrats as well as Independents that I can represent them best."
Kent County Republican Committee chairman Hans Reigle said Bennett's comments on McGlumphy's fiscal conservatism in campaign literature she circulated just before the primary painted her as a likely "tax-and-spend Democrat." He was referring to campaign literature that featured a picture of Bennett with President Obama juxtaposed with a photo of McGlumphy with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
"I don't see how she could get any Blue Dog Democrat votes with her comments she's made regarding fiscal conservatism," he said. "And when voters have the chance to compare both candidates, I believe that the voters are going to like what they see in Mr. Parrott."
But Kent County Democratic Chairwoman Abby Betts said Bennett would prevail by continuing to work hard knocking on doors in every corner of the district and reaching out to everyone, including Independents, Blue Dog Democrats, seniors and families, Betts said.
Page 2 of 2 - "If you're running for office the one thing you do not do is overlook the Independents," Betts said. "That goes for either party.
"I take Mr. Parrott as a formidable opponent and I am comfortable in saying I'm sure Mrs. Bennett does also," she said. "I have confidence that Andria will reach the 'Reagan Democrats' and they will support her. She's worked hard."
Kent County Democrats initially recruited McGlumphy to run for the32nd District, but Bennett, the wife of outgoing State Rep. Brad Bennett (D-Dover), filed on the last day with the Department of Elections for Kent County. When Bennett defeated McGlumphy, Kent County Democrats wiped the slate clean and endorsed her, Betts said.
"We are all working for the same goal – to win and keep these seats in November," she said.
Conversely, Parrott was endorsed by the Kent County Republican Committee, which took issue with Libertarian Will McVay registering as Republican for this race.
Parrott believes a win for him for this seat would help the GOP eliminate the one-party rule enjoyed by Democrats in the General Assembly and provide for more checks and balances.
"With one-party rule, the Democrats can pass any bill they wish without any conversation from the Republicans," he said. "That isn't the way our Founding Fathers set this system."
For her part, Bennett believes the voters of the 32nd District decisively elected the two people that they would consider to represent them in the House of Representatives.
"I am going to continue to do what I have been doing," Bennett said. "My job is to get my message out to all voters, lay out what I stand for and hopefully the voters will send me to represent them this November."