Running on a platform to make crime illegal again, former judge and legislator Charles Welch announced his campaign to run for state attorney general Sept. 1.
“I am running because every person in Delaware deserves to feel safe and be safe,” said Welch to a crowd of supporters at the CHEER Center in Georgetown, the second stop of a three-county tour. “Every person needs to know when they leave their home to go shopping, go out to dinner, or visit family and friends that they will not be caught in the middle of a riot that is raging out of control. They need to know they will not be an innocent bystander caught in a hail of bullets meant for someone else. Every parent needs to know that when their child goes to school, goes out to play, rides a bike, goes to a basketball court, or even to get a haircut, that they will return home safely.”
Shooting violence in Wilmington and Dover has escalated, he said, and it needs to stop.
“These are not random shootings. These are modern-day gunfights,” he said.
A practicing attorney, Welch earned his law degree from Villanova University after earning an accounting degree from University of Delaware. He began his career as a deputy attorney general before moving into the private sector. He was elected to the state House of Representatives for the 29th District in 1994 and served until 2000 when he was named judge for the Delaware Court of Common Pleas. Welch, 62, lives in Dover with his wife, who is originally from Sussex County, and the couple has two grown children.
Welch is the first Republican candidate to officially announce a challenge to Attorney General Kathleen Jennings, who is up for re-election in 2022.
Welch, who grew up in New Castle, said George Floyd’s death sparked a meaningful discussion about police tactics within the criminal justice system, but the resulting protests also gave criminals an opportunity to destroy private property and businesses with no repercussions.
“Al’s Sporting Goods in Wilmington was totally destroyed by looting that occurred during civil protests,” he said. Video footage taken of a 2020 protest in Wilmington showed looters breaking into stores on Market Street in Wilmington, smashing windows and taking items while police officers stood by and did nothing.
“To my knowledge not one person was prosecuted for any of those crimes … not one,” Welch said. “Doesn’t that speak volumes about Delaware’s criminal justice system today?”
If he is elected, Welch said, rioting and looting will not be tolerated. Those who commit crimes will not be released back onto the streets, and he pledged to support police and law enforcement. “Let’s make crime illegal again,” Welch said.