New Castle County GOP Chairman resigns claiming Arlett lacks “character and integrity”

Rob Arlett
Courtesy of the Rob Arlett campaign.
Peter Kopf resigned from his position as Chairman of the New Castle County Republican Committee, citing issues including two convicted felons serving within the party.

Senior Reporter

Peter Kopf resigned from his position as chairman of the New Castle County Republican Committee after sending a letter to his colleagues citing problems with current Delaware Senate nominee Rob Arlett.

In his resignation letter, Kopf wrote, “Mr. Arlett lacks the character and integrity needed to lead our Ticket and receive my support.”

“Peter had to make the decision that was right for him, and while we are sad to see him go we will push forward to win election this November,” Emily Taylor, the acting executive director and vice chair of the Delaware GOP, said.

Rob Arlett was nominated to lead the Republican ticket in the Sept. 6 primary a few weeks ago. He soundly defeated Eugene Truono, a former Paypal executive, by over thirty points.

Arlett has been a controversial candidate, specifically for his treatment of his opponent, who would have been the first openly gay Republican U.S. Senate if he had been elected. Arlett and Truono shared many of the same positions, and when Arlett was asked about the biggest difference between them, he said, “I am married to a woman and he is not.”

However, the major reason for Kopf’s disapproval appears to be Arlett’s financial trouble. In the letter, Kopf wrote, “While Mr. Truono may not have wanted to share critical information about Mr. Arlett that will eventually derail his candidacy, rest assured, Senator Carper has done his due diligence and will not hesitate, nor should he.”

According to the Associated Press (AP), Kopf confirmed that he was referring to Arlett’s current financial problems. In recent years Arlett has been pursued twice by the Delaware Department of Revenue, in 2011 and 2015. Arlett and his wife have also faced multiple foreclosure actions, one of which totaled over $550,000.

Kopf told the AP, “to me, everybody has financial issues, but this guy wants to be a United States Senator and handle taxpayer dollars, and that’s what disturbs me.”

The Arlett campaign has responded to Kopf’s resignation, although they claim to have no knowledge of the issues that Kopf had with Arlett’s nomination.

“On behalf of the Rob Arlett for U.S. Senate Campaign, we thank Mr. Peter Kopf for his service to the Republican Party and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Justin Arlett, Rob Arlett’s campaign manager, said. He went on to say, “We have no idea what issues Mr. Kopf may have, if any, with our candidate.”

Furthermore, the Arlett campaign believes that they currently have the support of their former opponent. “We genuinely respect our former opponent, Mr. Truono, who shared many if not most of our political views. It’s our impression that we now enjoy Mr. Truono’s support in the Arlett campaign for Senate in the State of Delaware. It’s our impression Mr. Truono wants to see Rob Arlett defeat Sen. Carper for all the reasons that Mr. Truono brought forth in his own primary campaign.”

Kopf has made grave predictions about the current party, writing, “Our state party is dying from the inside out and unless changes are made quickly it will be a non-force in this state very soon.”

These recent developments appear to not have changed the course for the Delaware chapter of the College Republicans. “I’m sorry to see Mr. Kopf leave but he ended up doing what he thought was the best course of action for himself,” Daniel Worthington, the current head of the Delaware Federation of College Republicans and a university student, said. “The DFCR isn’t fazed by this at all and is 100 percent focused on winning elections in November,”

Kopf also took issue with members of current state Republican leadership. “I am also troubled by the direction of our current Party Leadership In Delaware,” he wrote. “We have an elected State Vice Chair now acting as a paid Executive Director as well which again, in my opinion, is a clear conflict of interest.” This was apparently in reference to the aforementioned Emily Taylor.

He went on further to call out other members. “Last but not least we now have 2 convicted felons serving in very public positions within the Party. One is running the political operations (and getting paid as a contractor by a 3rd Party) and the other is serving on the Finance Committee.”

While neither individual is mentioned by name in the letter, Kopf has since confirmed that he was referring to former Delaware Secretary of State Michael Harkins and former Wilmington Trust president Robert Harra.

Harkins plead guilty in 2004 to federal mail fraud and tax charges. Harra was convicted in May on federal bank fraud charges, along with three other Wilmington Trust employees. His sentencing hearing is next month.

Kopf ended his letter by going back to Arlett.
“I pray the name at the top of the ticket doesn’t mean disaster for some excellent down ballot candidates.”

Arlett’s campaign appears undeterred by Kopf letter. “We’re confident that if Mr. Kopf had gotten to know Councilman Arlett and his family,” Jason Arlett said. “The would have realized he was a candidate of great merit, the right person who is ready to help Senator Carper into the retirement he deserves after his service to Delaware taxpayers for 42 years.”

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