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Tipsheet

Delaware Senator Tom Carper Announces Retirement

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

Democrat U.S. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware announced on Monday that he would not seek a fifth term in the upper chamber come 2024, leaving Democrats with an open seat to deal with in 2024.

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The 76-year-old Carper has been in the U.S. Senate since January 2001 and held public office since 1977, apparently enough time in office for him to "run through the tape" with a retirement before the start of the next Congress in 2025. The decision, Carper said on Monday, was reached through "a good deal of prayer and introspection."

"This seems like a good time just to turn the page and move on," Carper said of the significant shakeup to the First State's politics since then-Senator Joe Biden resigned in 2009 to become Barack Obama's vice president, Axios noted.

Carper's long tenure in politics came despite his own admission that he'd slapped his since-deceased ex-wife during an argument, a revelation from 1998 that was unearthed by our friends at The Washington Free Beacon. "Did I slap my wife 20 years ago? Yes," Carper said at the time despite vehemently denying the accusation during multiple election cycles in which he ultimately won. Democrats didn't care about Carper's admitted violence against his wife then, and they clearly don't care now. 

Schumer reacted to Carper's retirement announcement with a effusive statement praising Carper as "a conscientious, hardworking, honorable, and effective Senator who has done so much for his beloved Delaware and America, particularly in protecting our precious environment and strengthening our transportation systems."

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Already looking toward the next cycle in which he'll be sitting out for the first time in decades, Carper also announced that he was throwing his support behind Democrat Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester as his successor. Showing just how long he's been in elected office, Rochester once interned for then-U.S. Rep. Carper and served in his administration while he was governor of Delaware from 1993 to 2001. 

According to Axios, Carper said he spoke with Rochester earlier on Monday and told her she's "been patient waiting for me to get out of the way" and hopes she decides to "run and...let me support you in that mission." She, according to Carper, said "yes."

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Rochester released a statement Monday praising Carper for his service to Delaware. "I still remember standing on the steps of the Capitol as an intern with then-Congressman Tom Carper," she recalled. "It was his service that helped inspire a journey I could have hardly imagined - as I would go on to serve as his staffer, cabinet member, and eventually, colleague in the United States Congress."

She, however, stopped short of making any announcements about her political future for now. 

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