Delaware congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester announces bid for US Senate

FILE - U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., attends a Democratic event at the Capitol in Washington, May 15, 2019. Rochester, Delawares lone representative in the U.S. House, announced Wednesday, June 21, 2023, that she is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Tom Carper. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) (J. Scott Applewhite, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DOVER, Del. – Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, Delaware’s lone representative in the U.S. House, announced Wednesday that she is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Tom Carper.

Blunt Rochester’s announcement came as no surprise, given that Carper said in announcing his retirement last month that he favored her as his replacement.

Blunt Rochester, who once interned for Carper when he was in the House and also served in Carper’s Cabinet when he was governor, was reelected to a fourth term in Congress last November. In a campaign video, Blunt Rochester said she now wants to continue representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate.

“It’s been the greatest honor of my life to represent Delaware, to protect our seniors, our environment, our small businesses and women’s reproductive rights,” she said. “But we’ve got so much more to do.”

Rochester is the only woman and only person of color to represent Delaware in Washington. She is the first person to announce a bid to succeed Carper in the Senate.

There are no Black women currently serving in the Senate, and, if elected, Blunt Rochester would be only the third Black woman to have served in the chamber, after Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois and Kamala Harris of California.

The last time Delaware voters sent a Republican to Washington was 2008. Delaware remains a deeply blue state, with roughly 358,000 registered Democrats almost equaling the combined total of some 209,000 registered Republicans and 173,000 unaffiliated voters.

Blunt Rochester is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

According to the Congressional Record, she has sponsored 89 bills and resolutions during her House tenure, many aimed at improving or expanding access to health care, especially for women and minorities. The only measure sponsored by Blunt Rochester to become law is a resolution naming a Wilmington post office in honor of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, a 19th-century anti-slavery activist and publisher.

Before being elected to Congress, Blunt Rochester served as state personnel director in Delaware, as well as labor secretary. She also is a former Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League member.