‘A Regular Joe’: Delaware Town Expects Tourism Boost As President-elect’s Place To Relax

Tuesday, January 19th 2021, 6:28 pm


Joe Biden’s election has put a spotlight on his home state of Delaware, the second smallest state in the nation, but the first to ratify the Constitution.

The city of Wilmington, where he lives, straddles the busy I-95 corridor has the urban infrastructure to accommodate an official of his status. There are concerns, however, about the impact of Biden's presence on the small beach community where he and first lady Jill Biden own a vacation home.

120 miles directly east of Washington, across the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland's Eastern Shore, through Delaware's Sussex County is Rehoboth Beach, one of the mid-Atlantic region's more popular summer destinations. Rehoboth's proximity to Washington has long made it a place where politicians might run for a weekend getaway, but never before has it had a sitting U.S. president as a resident.

When the former vice president became the de facto Democratic nominee this past summer, the national media began following him to Rehoboth and staking him out, hoping for any nuggets of new information about his plans.

"Mr. Vice President," yelled one reporter as Biden sped past him during a bike ride, "have you picked a running mate yet?"

Biden joked that he had: "It's you," he shouted back.

The presence of probing reporters whenever Biden is in town is one of many ways his election is changing things here. There are Secret Service agents who have moved in permanently and many more, as well as staff who accompany him in the enormous police-escorted motorcade that whisks him from the highway, through town and into the North Shores community on the north edge of Rehoboth.

Once Biden is president, he will reportedly be flown in on Marine One, as conditions dictate. A large parking lot in Cape Henlopen State Park a half mile from his house may serve as a landing pad.

As busy as Rehoboth can get between Memorial Day and Labor Day, this takes everything up a notch.

"I think it's exciting!" said Kathy McGuiness, a long-time Rehoboth Beach Commissioner and currently the Delaware State Auditor.

McGuiness said especially now with so many small businesses struggling due to the pandemic, if Biden having a home in Rehoboth brings more people to town, that's great.

"Because that means that the stores can stay open, people can have jobs, they can provide for their families, so this is a good thing and he's a welcome face here,” McGuiness said.

Others are excited because they support Biden politically.

"I think it's wonderful," said Teresa Flury. "I mean, he's been coming to Rehoboth for a long time."

Flury is a retired school administrator from Pennsylvania who now lives in Rehoboth year-round. She is avid biker who also saw the former vice president out riding with his Secret Service detail last summer.

"And I just stopped, and they were fine with it," Flury recalled. "I asked him if he would sign my bike and he said, 'Sure!'"

At her request, she said he signed her bike 'Ridin' with Biden. Joe'.

Flury said he really is just a 'regular Joe.'