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Longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Carper says he will not seek reelection

<i>Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images</i><br/>Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware

By Nicky Robertson, CNN

(CNN) — Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware said Monday he will not seek reelection in 2024.

“If there’s ever an opportune time to step aside and pass the torch to the next generation, it’s coming, and it will be here on January 3, 2025 at noon,” he said at a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.

The 76-year-old Democrat has served for over 20 years in the US Senate. Before being elected to the Senate, Carper served as Delaware’s governor and was Delaware’s sole representative in the US House for five terms. Carper was first elected in Delaware at the age of 29 as the state treasurer.

Carper is the fourth Democratic senator to announce he will not seek reelection this cycle.

He spoke about his relationship with former Delaware senator President Joe Biden, and how Biden encouraged him to run for the Senate.

“It’s been my privilege to support Joe Biden’s reelection for the senate many times, as well as his election to the Vice Presidency and to the Presidency, and meanwhile he has encouraged me every step of the way,” Carper said.

Carper is the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and he previously chaired the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

He is the currently the last veteran of the Vietnam War in the Senate.

It will likely be a crowded Democratic primary for a safe Democratic seat. Biden won Delaware by almost 20 points in the last Presidential election, and the state has had Democratic governors since the early 1990s.

Carper said that he spoke with Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware and that he would support her if she ran for his seat.

“We love Lisa, and I spoke with her this morning and I said you’ve been patiently waiting for me to get out the way, and I’m gonna get out of the way, and I hope you run, and I hope you will let me support you and support you in that mission, and she said, ‘Yes I will let you support me,’” Carper told reporters.

Blunt Rochester told CNN on Tuesday that she’s “still very much interested” in running for the seat, and while she didn’t indicate a timeframe for announcing a run, she suggested she’s in her final stages of deliberations.

The congresswoman said she had a “great conversation” with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has encouraged her to run, and has spoken in the past with Biden about a potential Senate bid.

“He’s always been supportive,” she said of the president.

The congresswoman would fill a void in a Senate with no Black women senators and would likely be viewed as a frontrunner for her party’s nomination for the seat.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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