Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester made history as the first woman and first African-American to represent Delaware when she won a seat in Congress in 2017. Now she hopes to make history again, if she’s elected as the state’s first African-American female U.S. senator.
“Representing the First State has been the honor of my life,” Blunt Rochester said. “I look forward to continuing to represent and deliver for all of Delaware from Wilmington and New Castle County,to Kent County, and down to Sussex County in the United States Senate.”
The 61-year-old lawmaker announced her Senate candidacy in a video Wednesday morning. The ad, dubbed “Bright Hope,” centers around her upbringing in a local church where her grandmother worshiped.
“I’m running to represent Delaware in the United States Senate … filled with a Bright Hope for our future,” she says as piano music softly plays. “A more perfect union isn’t a destination. It’s a journey. Let’s go on it together.”
Blunt Rochester reflected on her experience hunched down in prayer in the House gallery on January 6, calling it her “worst day” but one of her “proudest moments”. She also touched on the unexpected loss of her husband, Charles, in 2014. She said his sudden passing after suffering a torn Achilles tendon and blood clots motivated her initial Congressional bid.
“And then he was gone. And for a while, I was gone too,” she recalled. “But one thing Charles always said was, ‘You gotta get your mind right.’ So I did. I decided to run for Congress.”
Promoting a jobs and healthcare agenda, the three-term Democrat is running for the seat that will be vacated by Sen. Tom Carper. Heand endorsed Blunt Rochester, who worked for him when he was a congressman and governor.
He remembers when she approached him at a town hall to inquire about an internship in his office. “(She) was there with her baby daughter with her and she was expecting a baby son,” Carper told CBS News. “She introduced herself.”
Blunt Rochester rose through the ranks to serve as Delaware’s secretary of labor, deputy secretary of Health and Social Services and state personnel director. She currentlyof President Biden’s re-election campaign.
There are no Black women in the U.S Senate. If elected, she would become the third African-American woman in the upper chamber, following Carol Mosley Braun, of Illinois, and Vice President Kamala Harris.
At least three other Black women are running for Senate in Democratic primaries in 2024, including Rep. Barbara Lee, who is seeking to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein in California, Angela Alsobrooks, a county executive in Maryland and Pamela Pugh, a state education board president in Michigan.