Sen. Tom Carper easily won a third term in Tuesday's elections over Republican Kevin Wade, Green Party candidate Andrew Richard Groff, and Independent Party candidate Alexander Pires who challenged Carper with a variety of accusations about his health and ethics during the campaign.
Sen. Tom Carper easily won a third term in Tuesday's elections over Republican Kevin Wade, Green Party candidate Andrew Richard Groff, and Independent Party candidate Alexander Pires who challenged Carper with a variety of accusations during the campaign.
Here are the unofficial vote totals according to the State of Delaware website:
Carper 265,374 votes, 66.4%
Wade 115,694 votes, 29.0%
Pires 15,300 votes, 3.8%
Groff 3,191 votes, 0.8%
In his victory speech, although Carper would ultimately look ahead to his next term in office, he couldn't help but take the opportunity to respond to Pires' allegations about his health.
Carper took the stage at Wilmington's Queen Theater to Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" and then promptly told a pumped up crowd, "I feel good like James Brown and I'm still standing like Elton John."
"We're live at the Queen tonight and I'll be live in Washington in January," he continued.
Carper said he received a gracious call from Wade congratulating him on his victory, but did not mention speaking to Pires.
"There were a lot of bombs thrown in this campaign. We don't need any more bombs thrown in Washington, we have had enough of them," he said. "We need bridge builders to get things done."
Carper said he had some specific priorities for his third term in the U.S. Senate.
"I want to transform a middling economic recovery to a robust economic recovery. I want to put this economic recovery on steroids," he said. "Number two: [we need] a comprehensive deficit reduction plan, like Bowles-Simpson."
He also let on that he had been asked to replace retiring Sen. Joseph Lieberman as chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee.
"They tell me I'm the guy," he deadpanned.
Carper closed his remarks by invoking a Delaware tradition of reconciliation — Sussex County's Return Day, set for Thursday.
"We need a Return Day for our country," he said, hoping for improved cooperation between Republicans and Democrats. "We need a Return Day in Washington."
WADE CONCEDES AT REPUBLICAN ELECTION NIGHT HEADQUARTERS IN DOVER
In his concession speech at Republican Party headquarters at Dover Downs Hotel, Wade gathered his family and held his granddaughter, Keira Wade, as he spoke.
"It's the little ones who give us the reason for the sacrifices we make," Wade said, and thanked all of his family members for their support.
"I ran a good hard race, and now people are asking me, 'How does it feel?' Actually, it feels pretty good because my feet are warm now. They've been cold all day," he joked.
He told the audience that he had called Carper and "congratulated him on another wonderful victory," but he encouraged his fellow Republicans to persevere.
"We chop wood in this party, day by day, month by month, and slowly we move the party back to where we used to be," he said. "We learn lessons, we work harder, and we will bring this state into new 'First State' status where people have jobs, and people have homes."
He closed by thanking "so many supporters" for all the hard work they've done.
Wade, of New Castle, is the founder and president of Philadelphia Control Systems, an engineering firm he started 30 years ago.
During his campaign he advocated a complete overhaul of the federal income tax system, and urged sweeping reductions in federal regulations to help spur innovation, investment, and job creation.
INDEPENDENT ALEX PIRES ENJOYED CAMPAIGN, DISAPPOINTED WITH RESULTS
Pires said his efforts fell short of his goals, but he enjoyed the campaign.
"I ran as an Independent, so I knew what I was getting into," he said. "I was hoping to get about 30,000 votes, maybe 8 or 9 percent, and I got half of that. I'm disappointed in that respect. I thought I'd do better."
"The voters know what they want. They voiced what they want, and they picked Senator Carper by a wide margin. So I congratulate him and I move on," he said.
Pires said running as an Independent was something he wanted to try to give voters another choice.
"I looked as running as an Independent candidate as an experiment, because I don't know if we've ever had an Independent candidate who's really put the time, money, and effort into it. Delaware never had that before," he said. "I made an all-out effort. I thought I would get 35,000 votes. I didn't succeed in that respect. Who knows why? It's a combination of lot of things."
"I don't take it away from the victor," he said. "I have to applaud Senator Carper for that. I tip my hat to him. I don't make excuses."
Pires said the campaign brought out a relevation: "One of the things that struck me the most is that people upstate are doing much better than people downstate. A ton of people are worried about their jobs, but particularly in Kent and Sussex counties where there are fewer industries, fewer banks. All the big jobs are upstate. The number one thing I learned in Kent and Sussex counties is that people are extremely worried about jobs. The only other major issue was concerns about healthcare, and I was on that. I was out in front on that issue because I like both 'Obamacare' and 'Romneycare.'"
Pires said during the campaign it was glaringly obvious that traditional candidates don't like to give straight answers.
"As a society we've kind of trained our candidates to be overly careful and give non-answers to questions," said Pires. "Before one of the debates, I said to the other candidates, 'You know guys, if someone said, 'Is today Wednesday.' You'd say, 'Well, it's not Saturday and it's not Sunday so we're making progress, but we'll have to study that and get back to you.'"
One example of how most candidates usually give safe instead of specific answers was with the question about gay marriage.
"I would say I'm 100 percent in favor of gay marriage," said Pires. "The journalists would be waiting for me to say more, but that was it, as clear as I could be. The other candidates would give a long-winded answer about, 'Well, it depends on your definition of marriage' or something like that."
Pires said he doesn't know if he'll run for office again. He's now turning his attention to his latest case as an attorney.
"I really did enjoy it though," he said about the campaign. "I hope I got people to think."