Arlett announces candidacy for U.S. Senate

DOVER — Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett announced Monday he will run for the U.S. Senate, making him the second Republican officially trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., later this year.

Mr. Arlett, elected to the county council in 2014, was chairman of President Trump’s state campaign in 2016.

Calling Sen. Carper “out of touch with the great people of Delaware,” Mr. Arlett said in a statement it is “time for the next generation to step up and lead with courage.”

He emphasized his announcement Monday with a statewide tour, making stops in each county.

While trying to upset Sen. Carper, Mr. Arlett must first take on Gene Truono, a former financial services executive who would be the first openly gay Republican to win election to Congress.

Republican Chuck Boyce dropped out of the race, citing unspecified health worries.

Delaware’s congressional delegation has been entirely Democratic since January 2011.

Rob Arlett

Mr. Arlett, 51, appears to be modelling his campaign after President Trump’s efforts: He described his bid for office as a “people’s campaign” and himself as a successful business owner “like President Trump.”

A realtor, he defeated longtime Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips in the 2014 primary, garnering 55 percent of the vote. He then picked up 60 percent of he vote to defeat Democrat Robert Wheatley in he general election.

His 5th Council District seat is up for election this year.

Sen. Carper was first elected to the Senate in 2000, following two terms as governor, five as U.S. representative and three as state treasurer. He has never lost an election and was re-elected in 2012 with 66 percent of the vote.

He has been outspoken in opposition to President Trump and his policies over the past year.

That’s in sharp contrast to Mr. Arlett, who not only served as the state chairman for the Trump campaign but also assisted the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

As a county councilman he made waves for introducing a proposal that would have made Sussex County a right-to-work locale. The county council, fearing a lawsuit from the state, voted down the measure 4-1 in January.

“With respect to economic growth, Delaware has been sadly lagging behind the rest of the country in full view of the currently elected Democrats representing the First State in Washington D.C.,” Mr. Arlett said. “Delawareans want their elected officials to do what’s best for them and not what’s best for Washington on issues such as immigration, gun rights, infrastructure and national defense.”

Mr. Arlett has lived in Delaware since 2006. He graduated from George Mason University and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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