Posted: Aug. 27, 2015


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

There was a time the Sussex County Democrats could really put the "jam" in their Jamboree.

They would pack it. The pavilion in Cape Henlopen State Park, where the Jamboree is located every August, would not be big enough for all of them to squeeze beneath the roof.

The high mark might have been the 1988 Jamboree where more than a thousand people came out for Joe Biden, who showed up after surviving personally from brain aneurysms and politically from a disastrous presidential run.

Those glory days are gone. Sussex, the southern-most and conservative-most of Delaware's three counties, is a diehard Republican stronghold in what is overall a seriously Democratic state.

Never mind. The Jamboree continues to make its mark because of the timing. In election years, it is the place where Democratic candidates unofficially start the fall campaign season. In off years, it is the place where candidacies are floated.

The 2015 Jamboree, set for Saturday, is expected to draw upwards of 250 people in the estimate of Mitch Crane, the Sussex Democratic chair.

It is a good crowd, but still. This Jamboree probably will be remembered not for who is there, but for who is not. No Joe. No John.

Oh bitter day. Joe Biden has the hottest non-campaign in the country for president, and John Carney has the hottest non-campaign in the state for governor, situations that are perfect for the Jamboree, and there will not be a peep from either of them.

Biden's affinity for the Jamboree is well-known. The last spot on the program was traditionally reserved for him when he was a senator, and he used to talk and talk until the mosquitoes swarmed at dusk and sent the crowd fleeing for its skin. He has not made it as the vice president, though.

Carney has been a steady presence at the Jamboree as lieutenant governor and now congressman, but he is recuperating from hip surgery he had last week.

Maybe the Democrats could use a Magic 8 Ball. It could tell them the prospect for Carney to run shakes out as "signs point to yes," but Biden comes up as "better not tell you now."

Meanwhile, the Jamboree will plug along with speeches from a lineup of statewide officials, none of whom are up for re-election in 2016, namely, the governor, both senators and the attorney general, and from an overabundance of candidates for lieutenant governor, along with assorted others.

That makes for a lot of speeches, so please be brief. Even if there is no longer a "jam" to be had, it is no reason to put the "bore" in Jamboree.