Except for Michigan, the states with Democratic vacancies are all heavily Democratic. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., is widely seen as a potential successor to Carper in the Senate, and she said she spoke with him Monday morning.
“I said, ‘You patiently wait for me to get out of the way, and I’ll get out of the way … and I hope you run. And I hope you will allow me to support you in that mission.’ And he said, ‘Yes, I’ll let you support me.’ And so I go,” he said. He noted that reporters had to talk to him to confirm that he was running.
Carper, a one-time political wunderkind who was first elected to statewide office at 29, has held the Senate seat since 2001. He also served five terms in the House and two terms as Delaware’s governor.
In a sign that he is not planning another run, Carper raised just $195,000 between January and March of this year, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The only senators whose terms next year will be slightly extended are Cardin, who announced his retirement earlier this month, and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.
Carper is a centrist, pro-business Democrat. In 2018, he faced a challenge for the Democratic nomination from progressive community activist and Air Force veteran Kerri Evelyn Harris. Carper won the primary 65 percent to 35 percent.