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Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester readies run for open Delaware Senate seat

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., announced he would retire from the Senate in 2024 and endorsed Blunt Rochester to succeed him.
Lisa Blunt Rochester
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester is preparing to launch a bid for the U.S. Senate. Francis Chung / POLITICO via AP

WASHINGTON — Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., the state's sole House member, is preparing to launch a bid this month for Delaware's open Senate seat, an adviser to the congresswoman said.

Blunt Rochester is broadly seen as the favorite to fill the seat vacated by her longtime mentor, Sen. Tom Carper. He announced last month that he would not seek re-election after four terms in the Senate. In announcing his retirement, he named Blunt Rochester as the person he would like to succeed him. Blunt Rochester previously told NBC News that she was “interested” in the seat.

“For me, I usually have a process of: I think about it, I pray about it and then I plan,” Blunt Rochester said in a late May interview.

Blunt Rochester became the first woman and the first Black person to represent Delaware in Congress when she was elected to a House seat in 2016. If elected to the Senate, she would be the third Black woman to ever serve in the chamber.

Politico was the first to report that Blunt Rochester would launch her Senate bid in June.

Delaware is a Democratic stronghold that hasn't elected a Republican to statewide office since 2018. Blunt Rochester, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is slightly more left-leaning than Carper. But she is also a long-standing supporter of President Joe Biden, who also served as senator for the state.

She serves as a national co-chair of Biden’s re-election campaign and has said she hopes to have Biden’s endorsement if she runs for the Senate seat.

Democratic leaders have already coalesced around Blunt Rochester, though she has not yet announced her candidacy. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Rochester shortly after Carper’s announcement to say “he believes she could be a really good senator” and that he “looks forward to sitting down with her soon,” a spokesperson for Schumer said.

Blunt Rochester previously interned for Carper and served as state labor secretary when he was governor of Delaware. In announcing his retirement, Carper said it was time for Blunt Rochester to take the reins.

“I spoke with her this morning. I said, ‘You’ve been patiently waiting for me to get out of the way, and I’m going to get out of the way. And I hope you will run, and I hope you’ll let me support you in that mission.’ And she said, ‘Yes, I will let you support me.’”