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Democrat Carper wins 4th term for Delaware US Senate seat

November 7, 2018

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware won a fourth term in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, defeating a GOP opponent who was President Donald Trump’s state campaign chair.

Carper’s victory over Republican Rob Arlett, a Sussex County councilman, keeps his unbeaten streak in politics intact. He has never lost an election during more than four decades in politics, starting with his election as state treasurer in 1976.

Carper’s re-election Tuesday comes after he trounced a progressive challenger in a September Democratic primary, stemming an antiestablishment tide hoping to move the Democratic party to the left.

Carper, 71, has staked out a position in Washington as a centrist lawmaker with a strong interest in environmental issues. During the campaign, he touted his experience and his ability to work with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, despite being a vocal Trump critic.

Carper has said this year’s election was about upholding the government’s system of checks and balances and ensuring Trump does not end up with almost endless powers.

“President Trump is an extreme president,” Carper said after a debate last month, adding that Trump has none of the qualities that make a good leader.

Carper nevertheless said it’s still possible for Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues such as infrastructure improvement and the environment. He said his priorities include improving the Affordable Care Act, working to reduce carbon emission from vehicles and developing a comprehensive immigration reform plan.

The campaign took a nasty turn at a debate last month when Arlett called out Carper for a domestic incident in the early 1980s during which Carper slapped his first wife, Diane, who died in 2013. Carper angrily complained that Arlett and other political opponents have routinely dredged up the incident over the past several decades to try to create “political mischief” for him.

Carper served five terms in the U.S. House and two terms as governor before being elected to the Senate in 2000.

On the state level, Democratic attorney general candidate Kathleen Jennings has dominated fundraising and spending among all campaigns. She faces Bernard Pepukayi, another Democrat-turned-Republican, in the contest to succeed retiring Democrat Matt Denn.

The retirement of Republican Tom Wagner, meanwhile, gives Democrats a chance to regain the state auditor’s office for the first time since 1989, with Democrat Kathy McGuinness squaring off against Republican James Spadola.

Democrats also are hoping to ride a blue wave of fervor against Trump to score an upset in the state treasurer’s race, where incumbent Republican Ken Simpler is being challenged by health care consultant Colleen Davis.

Perhaps the biggest question to be answered Tuesday is whether Republicans can wrest control of the state Senate from Democrats for the first time since 1973. Democrats currently have a razor-thin, 11-10 advantage in the chamber. To flip the table, Republicans would need to hold on to the five GOP-held seats being contested Tuesday and pick up one of the three contested seats held by Democrats. The GOP’s best chance most likely lies in central Delaware’s 17th District, where Republican Justin King, a businessman and mayor of Camden, faces two-term Democratic state Rep. Trey Paradee for the seat left vacant by retiring Democrat Brian Bushweller.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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