Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2024, clearing the way for someone new to fill the seat after his four terms of service.
Carper, 76, served as Delaware’s governor before winning four terms as a Delaware senator. His withdrawal could spark a pitched battle among Democrats to win the party’s primary for the deep-blue seat. Carper indicated support for a specific successor on Monday.
“While nothing lasts forever, the Delaware Democratic Party is blessed today with as strong a bench as any I’ve ever seen in the 50 years I’ve called Delaware home,” Carper said at a news conference. “If there was ever an opportune time to step aside and pass the torch to the next generation, it will come and be here on January 3, 2025.
“But until then, God willing, I’ll continue to work 60 hours a week and take the train home most nights as long as Martha keeps the light on for me,” he added.
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Carper says he called Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., Monday morning and said he was “getting out of the way” so she could run. He said he accepted his endorsement, but later declined to say whether he plans to run.
Carper is one of several Democrats who have announced their retirement in 2024. A total of 34 Senate seats – 20 currently held by Democrats, 11 currently held by Republicans and three currently held by independents – will be up for grabs in the next cycle. The three independent senators currently caucus with the Democrats in the Senate, ie Democrats they will be tasked with defending 23 of the 34 seats in 2024 if they are to maintain their majority in the legislature.
However, Carper’s retirement does not pose a significant risk of switching red, as the state’s electorate leans heavily toward Democrats.
Although Carper expressed his support for Rochester on Monday, he may face a Democratic challenger in Delaware Gov. John Carney, who cannot run for re-election in 2024 due to term limits. However, he has not announced what his plans are beyond his current term.
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The Rochester office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
This is a developing story.