November 11, 2023
With nearly 300 guests in attendance, the 14th Representative District Democratic Committee held its major fundraiser of the year Nov. 5 to support Delaware’s Democratic candidates for the 2024 election.
Held at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, the Blue Wave Gala ’24 gave attendees an opportunity to meet a dozen candidates from Sussex County and across the state.
Among the candidates who made appearances were Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, both running for governor; Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker and Dr. Debbie Harrington, candidates for lieutenant governer; State Treasurer Colleen Davis, Sen. Sarah McBride and Delaware State Housing Authority Director Eugene Young Jr., all running for U.S. representative; Sen. Russ Huxtable, up for re-election in the 6th Senate District; Marty Rendon, a candidate for the 14th Representative District seat; Rep. Stell Parker Selby, up for re-election in the 20th RD; and Dana Paskins, a candidate for the Sussex County Council District 3 seat.
Rep. Pete Schwarzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, who’s not running for re-election after 21 years in the General Assembly, welcomed everyone with a message of hope that the gala would launch another blue wave in a traditionally Republican part of the state.
Jeff Balk, event emcee and 14th RD Democratic Committee chair, pronounced the gala a success for energizing Democrats heading into the campaign season. “We’re thrilled to see this turnout to support candidates throughout Delaware,” he said. “It means a lot to those running for office to see everyone come together to try and make a difference in the 2024 election.”
With voters considering contenders in nine local and state races, several candidates described Delaware’s upcoming election as one of the most consequential in years. Statewide, Delawareans will elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator and U.S. representative. Locally, Democratic candidates have already launched campaigns in Delaware’s 6th Senate District, the 14th and 20th Representative Districts, and Sussex County Council’s 3rd District. Even the state insurance commissioner is facing a challenger in the Delaware primary.
Beyond the crowded field, candidates mentioned the challenge of campaigning to a divided electorate. “You often hear people say that this is the most important election in our lifetime,” said Sen. Sarah McBride, D-Wilmington. “But this one really is, because we’re only one election away from losing our democracy.”
Gaining a reputation as one of the leading downstate events on the political calendar, this year’s gala occurred exactly one year from Election Day 2024. All proceeds go to Democratic candidates for their campaign use. The event also gives candidates a chance to convince Sussex County voters that they’re the strongest Democrats to face Republican opponents next year.
The day’s activities included entertainment by D.C. comedian Robert Mac and local DJ Peggy Castle; gourmet hors d’oeuvres and desserts from local chefs Donna Marie Artuso and Chef Debbie of Food by Design; and silent and live auctions, the latter presided over by auctioneer Lorne Crawford, offering everything from a private tour of Legislative Hall to a sunset cruise on the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
Sherry Berman of Lewes was outbid on two auction items – a painting and a spa package – but didn’t seem to mind the outcome. “This was an opportunity to mingle with many candidates for various positions all in one place,” she said. “I loved having a chance to talk with them and hear about the issues they care about. It made me feel optimistic about 2024.”
Christine Eggert and Mary Boggi, event co-chairs, noted that nine members of the 14th RD’s fundraising committee spent nearly a year planning the gala. “There were a lot of long hours, many meetings and discussions seven days a week,” said Eggert. "But everyone was united in wanting to support Democratic candidates.”
The event served as the unofficial kickoff of the 2024 campaign for the 14th RD Democratic Committee, which represents Democrats who live in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. As the local arm of the Delaware Democratic Party, the group works to elect candidates who support critical issues such as protecting reproductive rights, confronting climate change, strengthening the economy and managing development.
Many committee members also volunteer on campaigns and work to get out the vote in the general election. “It’s a year-round job,” said Balk.
For more information about the 14th RD Democratic Committee, email DE14RDDems@gmail.com or go to 14thrddeldems.com.
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14th Representative District Democratic Committee
P. O. Box 1541 - Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971