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Blunt Rochester enters race for Senate seat in Delaware

Four-term House member endorsed by retiring Democratic senator

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., is launching a bid for Senate, hoping to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper.
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., is launching a bid for Senate, hoping to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester announced a run for Delaware’s open Senate seat Wednesday, officially launching an expected campaign and simultaneously opening up a race for the state’s sole House seat. 

“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. But we’ve got so much more to do,” Blunt Rochester said in a video announcing her campaign. 

A four-term House member, Blunt Rochester, 61, starts the campaign as a clear favorite. If elected, she would be the third Black woman to serve in the Senate. She has a more clear path than other Black women running this year in California and Maryland, who face competitive primaries. 

Blunt Rochester already has the backing of retiring Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del. And Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has told her “he believes she could be a really good Senator.” She is also a co-chair of President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. 

Blunt Rochester had $408,000 in her House campaign account at the end of March, according to Federal Election Commission filings. She is the first major candidate of either party to announce a run. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race as Solid Democratic.

In her campaign video, she spoke about attending Bright Hope Baptist Church with her grandmother and how that “spirit of resilience” guided her after her husband, Charles, died suddenly when blood clots traveled to his heart and lungs after he tore his Achilles tendon. 

“One thing Charles always said was, ‘You gotta get your mind right.’ So I did. I decided to run for Congress. That’s the thing about Bright Hope. It can make you do crazy things,” she said. 

In the video, she referred to a scarf that belonged to her great-great-great grandfather, who was a freed slave. She had the scarf with her in the House gallery during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. While calling that day the “worst,” she also said it was one of her proudest moments “because we walked back in that House chamber and we completed our work.”

A member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Blunt Rochester has focused on health care policy, as well as workforce modernization and climate issues since coming to Congress. On Tuesday, she introduced legislation with Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., that would authorize $55 million over five years for the Environmental Protection Agency to update and build on technology to monitor air quality. 

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