First Female Governor
SC Online Publisher
In the battle of Milford and Sussex Countians, Delawareans chose Ruth Ann Minner as their next governor on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2000.
Minner defeated Burris by a much wider margin than expected at 59.2 percent to 39.7 percent. Minner led in polls throughout the campaign but Burris had closed a 20-point gap in September to single digits by October.
"I think it was just a lot of dedicated people that supported me from the very beginning and we got the vote out," said Minner. "Kiddingly, we had said all along that it would be 60 percent or 51, one or the other. It was a big win, though."
Minner became the state's first female governor with 191,484 votes to Burris' 128,436 votes.
"It was a little overwhelming," said Minner of the campaign after voting at Milford High School on Tuesday. "Running for Lieutenant Governor was exciting and overwhelming, but this is the most I've felt by way of concern and thinking, I've dedicated my life to public service and this is the final step."
Besides being the first female governor in state history, Minner also became that rare Sussex Countian to be elected governor. She and Burris both grew up in Milford.
"It's been a while since we've had a Sussex County candidate run for governor, let alone two from my hometown of Milford," she said. "It is exciting."
Burris shared in that excitement.
"I just think it's terrific," he said of the race between fellow Sussex Countians for the state's top job. "It shows there are leaders in the lower counties. In the past we've had difficulty breaking through the strength of New Castle County but this year has changed that and that dynamic."
Minner campaigned on her record as Lieutenant Governor in the Carper administration. Principally, she cited the strong economy and jobs created during the eight years of the Carper administration.
She acknowledged problems with the state's public schools and environment and said they would be priorities in her administration. She also said that health care for seniors and the environment would be priorities.
"Education, without a doubt," said Minner when asked what her priorities will be as governor. "We talked a lot about education. I don't need to go through that one again, but it will be education, without a doubt. We'll also work on the right-to-know law, as well as the Patient's Bill of Rights."
Burris hammered on problems that he said were inexcusable in the kind of prosperity the state experienced in the 1990s. He cited Delaware's drug abuse rate, the environmental problems in the inland bays, and low student test scores as examples of problems that the state should have dealt with more effectively during the Carper-Minner administration.
"It's been a long year but a great year," said Burris after voting at Rehoboth Elementary School. "We've met a lot of Delawareans and learned a lot from them. It's been a great contest. I think the issues we talked about, there will be resolution to those issues."
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