The first woman and person of color to represent Delaware in Congress announced Wednesday her bid to replace retiring Sen. Tom Carper (D).
Blunt Rochester, who has held Delaware’s at-large House seat since 2017, is viewed as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in a reliably blue state. Carper has even endorsed Blunt Rochester, his former employee, as his successor.
Blunt Rochester, 61, launched her campaign with a 3.5-minute video centered on the theme of “bright hope,” a nod to the Philadelphia Baptist church Blunt Rochester says she attended with her grandmother. She says that mantra kept her going after her husband’s sudden death in 2014 from blood clots, which resulted from a tear in his Achilles tendon. It also propelled her to launch a 2016 campaign for the House.
“Bright hope keeps America moving forward, and it kept me going through my own darkness,” she says in the video.
She touts her focus on seniors, the environment, small businesses and reproductive rights as a four-term House member, and says there’s more work to do on those fronts as a senator.
Her announcement video also touches on her experience at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. “With the House under siege, I prayed for love over hate, and hope over fear,” she says, a nod to the viral image of her kneeling in prayer as people seeking to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president stormed the building.
“People ask me if Jan. 6 was my worst day. It was. But it was also one of my proudest moments. Because we walked back in that House chamber and we completed our work. The forces of fear did not win and democracy prevailed,” she adds.
Currently, no Black women are serving in the U.S. Senate, highlighting the stark lack of diversity in the chamber. But Blunt is among several Black women vying for open Senate seats next year, including Angela Alsobrooks in Maryland and Barbara Lee in California, who are both facing competitive primaries for the Democratic nomination in their respective states.