Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester launched her long-anticipated campaign for Delaware’s open Senate seat today. Her announcement video is very good:
Now begins the musical chair race for her House seat. Colleen Davis? Sarah McBride? Eugene Young? Step on up.
A win for LBR would make her both the first woman and first African American to ever represent the First State in the upper chamber. Blunt Rochester would also be only the third Black woman to ever serve in the Senate. The only two people to previously achieve this distinction are Illinois’ Carol Moseley Braun, who was elected to her only term in 1992, and now-Vice President Kamala Harris, who won an open-seat race in California in 2016.
No Black women have held a Senate seat since Harris resigned following the 2020 elections, but several other prominent Democrats are hoping to change that next year, including California’s Barbara Lee, Maryland’s Angela Alsobrooks, and both Pamela Pugh and Leslie Love in Michigan. A victory for Blunt Rochester would also make history in another way: She’d be the very first Black Democratic member of the House to ever make the leap to the Senate, a feat that Lee and Texas Rep. Colin Allred are also hoping to accomplish.
At the moment, Blunt Rochester is the best-positioned to do so of the three. Unlike Lee and Allred, she has no serious opposition in sight in either the primary or general election, and that doesn’t look likely to change. The congresswoman, who is the only House member in reliably blue Delaware, has the backing of retiring Sen. Tom Carper, whom she once interned for. Blunt Rochester also revealed to NBC10 that Joe Biden told her he’d be casting his ballot for her, though the president has not publicly endorsed her.
Blunt Rochester had served in Carper’s cabinet when he was governor in the 1990s and later went on to run the Delaware branch of the Urban League, a storied civil rights organization. She got her chance to return to politics in 2016 when Rep. John Carney left to successfully run for governor. Notably, her decisive wins in that year’s primary and general elections ended Delaware’s status as one of the three states that had yet to send a woman to either chamber of Congress, an unwelcome distinction it had shared with Mississippi and Vermont.