Wed. Jul 17th, 2024
Lisa Blunt Rochester with Congresswoman Nanette Barragan. (Credit: Moms Clean Air Force. Image is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.)

This story was originally published by The 19th

By Mel Leonor Barclay, The 19th

Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester is officially running for the open Senate seat in deep-blue Delaware, with a good chance to be the next Black woman elected to a chamber that currently has none.

Lisa Blunt Rochester with Congresswoman Nanette Barragan. (Credit: Moms Clean Air Force. Image is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.)
Lisa Blunt Rochester with Congresswoman Nanette Barragan. (Credit: Moms Clean Air Force. Image is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.)

Blunt Rochester, 61, joined the House in 2017 as the first woman and person of color to represent Delaware in Congress. She is now running to replace longtime Sen. Tom Carper, her mentor, who announced plans to retire last month.

“It’s been the greatest honor of my life to represent Delaware, to protect our seniors, our environment, our small businesses and women’s reproductive rights. But we’ve got so much more to do,” Blunt Rochester said in a video launching her campaign.

The video, titled “Bright Hope,” focuses on hope after dark times, including her husband’s sudden death in 2014 and the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In the video, she wears a scarf imprinted with a voter roll showing her great-great-great-grandfather, who had been enslaved, had voted as a freed person in Reconstruction-era Georgia.

Blunt Rochester, who was once an intern in Carper’s office, has served in several high-profile jobs within Delaware state government, including deputy secretary of health and social services, secretary of labor and state personnel director.

She is a co-chair of President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.

The Senate has had no Black women since Kamala Harris became the vice president; Harris was only the second Black woman to ever serve in the chamber.

Blunt Rochester has described her rise in politics as improbable. “It literally took 30 years before I even ran for Congress. And I did that after the unexpected death of my husband,” Blunt Rochester told Politico this month. “And I ran even though I had never run for anything, as a widow, over 50, Black, woman, and we made history.”