Long-term top Democrat Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) has announced he is retiring and will not seek reelection in 2024.
“Some 59 years have passed since I first raised my hand as a 17-year-old naval midshipman, and P3 mission aircraft commander,” Carper said at a press conference on Monday.
Carper continued by rehashing his political and military careers during the presser.
He explained that his final 20 months in office would be a “sprint,” while name-checking environmental and tax policies he would push for in his year-and-two-thirds in office.
Carper has held elected office since 1977 when he became Delaware state treasurer.
He has won 14 statewide elections without a loss.
The senator served in the House of Representatives from 1983-1993 and was governor of the state for two terms.
Carper also served three tours in Vietnam as a National Aviation Officer.
He is also the last veteran of the Vietnam War currently serving in the Senate.
“If I ran for a fifth term in the Senate and won, it would be a record 15 statewide elections,” the senator added.
“After a good deal of prayer and introspection, and more than a few heart-to-heart conversations, we’ve decided we should run through the tape over the next 20 months and finish the important work that my staff and I have begun on a wide range of fronts, many of them begun in partnership with Democrat and Republican colleagues in the Senate and in the House.”
Tune in to hear my announcement live: https://t.co/4p83TdQYhf
— Tom Carper (@TomCarperforDE) May 22, 2023
Carper is the fourth Democrat senator to announce a retirement ahead of the 2024 cycle, joining Ben Cardin of Maryland, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Dianne Feinstein of California.
At the same point in the 2022 cycle, no Senate Democrats had announced their retirement, although five representatives had.
At-large Democrat Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester is the likely favorite to replace Carper in a state that President Joe Biden won in 2020 by 19 points.
A former staffer for Carper, Blunt Rochester won reelection by 12.5 points in 2022.
No Republican has represented the state in the Senate since 1973 when Joe Biden succeeded J. Caleb Boggs.
The last Republican member of Delaware’s congressional delegation, Mike Castle, left office in 2011.
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