Where politics and peaches make a perfect pair

Delaware's peach festival presents a ripe opportunity to woo voters ahead of US midterm elections.

    On a hot day in the small town of Wyoming, Delaware, politicians were trying to persuade potential voters at the annual Peach Festival.

    In a state with only 875,000 people, an estimated 6,000 of them showed up for the annual affair. So naturally anyone seeking political office in the November election was there with a smile and handshake.  

    There were candidates for local, state, and Congressional office.

    Among those were both the leading Republican and Democratic candidates for the US Senate seat vacated by Joe Biden when he became vice president.

    Biden held that seat for 36 years in this state where more than half of the residents identify themselves as Democrats.

    But this year, the Republican candidate is polling way ahead of the Democrat.



    Currently Republican Mike Castle represents Delaware in the House of Representatives.

    He's hoping to move up the political ladder into the Senate. He's a long-time politician and is well known throughout the state.  

    We caught up with him while he was on the stump at the festival.

    Castle said: "My message has always been I'm an independent person and I’ll carry that message to the Senate as I did in the House."  

    But he's also pushing the argument Republicans across the country are using, that Democrats, and President Obama have ballooned the deficit and not helped create jobs.  

    Acknowledging the anti-Obama sentiment, Castle said: "People are beginning to grasp that the fiscal mismanagement in Washington which has caused a lot of indebtedness, a lot of borrowing, ultimately interest rate increases, and some great problems in the future needs to be managed."

    Castle was riding in a convertible near the front of the parade.


    His opponent was also participating in the peach parade ... but farther down the pecking order.

    Chris Coons is a county executive who isn't well known across the state.

    Biden has helped Coons raise money and campaigned for him. 

    But that may not be enough for a public fed up with Washington and demanding change.  

    The situation in Delaware is playing out across the country as well.

    There are enough hotly contested seats in the House and the Senate for Republicans to potentially take back majorities in both houses of Congress.

    Tim Sahd, editor at the Hotline, a daily political briefing, says it's possible but not probable that 2010 could be a wave election for the Republicans.

    Sahd said: "It would take a true wave election, a year where Republicans go through the roof, that situation seems to be setting up in a lot of districts and states across the country."  

    But Republicans don't have a specific set of ideas they plan on implementing if they win big in November.

    "The Republican strategy is we're not Democrats and we’re not Obama," said Sahd.


    The Democratic strategy is to tell voters that a vote for the Republicans would be a return to the failed policies of the Bush administration.  

    Obama recently tried to drive his message home to voters while fundraising in Texas.  

    He said: "You want to go forward, what do you do? You put it in 'D.' When you go backward, what do you do? You put it in 'R'."

    R, as in Republican and D as in Democrat.

    Back at the Peach Festival in Delaware, everyone we talked to said they came for the peaches not the politicians.  

    But they got a dose of both and will likely hear a lot more from both candidates as the campaign season continues.

    See more from the Delaware Peach Festival at 18 GMT and throughout the day on Al Jazeera English TV.


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.