DE-Sen: Jan Ting vs. Tom Carper

Six years ago, Delaware Democratic Gov. Tom Carper defeated Republican Sen. William V. Roth 56% to 44%. In the end, it obviously didn’t matter that 30-year incumbent Roth was the longest-serving senator in First State history. It also seemed not to count that he had a record of accomplishment that is a part of history as co-sponsor of the 1978 Kemp-Roth across-the-board tax-cut measure that was a key part of improving the economy under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush and also the co-sponsor of the personalized retirement plan that bears his name (Roth-IRA). Bill Roth was 79 years old, spent more time in Washington and less time doing his retail-type campaigning with his signature St. Bernards. When the veteran lawmaker fainted at a public event, the “over-the-fence gossip” spread fast and furiously through the small state.

So Delaware got itself two Democratic senators for the first time since 1943 and no one to cancel out the liberal votes of senior Sen. Joe Biden (lifetime American Conservative rating: 14%). Indeed, the record of one-termer Carper (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 18%) has been almost identical to that of that of Biden, who has now displaced Roth as the Delaware senator with the longest tenure.

“And you name the issue, I’m Tom Carper’s opposite number,” says Republican opponent Jan Ting. “He voted against Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I made speeches urging support of Alito’s confirmation. He voted against drilling in the Alaskan Natural Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). I’m for it. He wants to let illegal immigrants in every night. I have spoken and written on the need to build a border fence and explained why immigration and national security go hand in hand.”

And Ting can say that with authority, as the son of Chinese immigrants who came to the United States in 1937 following the Japanese invasion of China. A graduate of Oberlin College and Harvard Law School (where he studied with Massachusetts Gov.-to-be Mitt Romney and future Associate U.S. Atty. Gen. Jamie Gorelik), Ting went on to private practice and teaching law at Temple University in Philadelphia. During the first Bush Administration, he served as assistant commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and is today regarded as an authority on immigration. (Ting testified its relationship to national security before the 9/11 Commission.) Active in his local community in Delaware, Ting has been chairman of the Delaware State Personnel Commission and a member of the Executive Committee of the Delaware Republican Party.

As state treasurer, congressman, governor and senator, Tom Carper has been in public office for an unbroken 30 years. Jan Ting has spent his life as scholar, educator, lawyer and civic leader, with brief stints out for state and federal appointments. In terms of issues and experience, his candidacy presents one of the most striking contrasts in any Senate race this year.