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Race heating up to replace Carney in Congress

State Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) wasted little time in launching his campaign for Delaware’s lone congressional seat -- just a day after John Carney announced his bid for governor Wednesday.

Townsend, 34, made his announcement through social media and an email to supporters, saying “Delaware faces a significant challenge: rebuilding an economy that works for all Delawareans and that reverses the inequality spreading across America. That’s why our campaign will champion policies that grow and strengthen the middle class, provide every child with an opportunity to succeed, promote equal justice in the criminal justice system, and ensure retirement security for our seniors."

He’s a relative political newcomer in Delaware, having served only since 2012 after beating then Senate Pro Tem Tony DeLuca in a primary. 

Despite his short tenure at Legislative Hall, he stands by his record in the General Assembly of tackling larger issues like passing legislation allowing for undocumented immigrants to legally drive in Delaware. He also says voters aren’t necessarily swayed more by experience.

“They’re looking for people who are willing to talk about ideas, who aren’t shying away from the tough issues that we face and that’s the way I’ve legislated for three, going on four years,” Townsend said.

Republicans currently control both chambers in Congress -- a stark contrast from the Delaware General Assembly run by Democrats in the House and Senate. Townsend says it will be more challenging to affect change on a national level, but says it's a necessary one.

"We've got to try and find energetic of building consensus in Washington and really overcoming some of the politics that we're seeing."

Townsend fended off a primary challenge last fall, winning another four-year term in the General Assembly.

A corporate lawyer for Morris James in Wilmington, Townsend says he’s taking a leave of absence to focus on the campaign and will resign if elected.

Townsend is likely to face a primary opponent, with Rep. Bryon Short (D-Brandywine Hundred) expected to announce his campaign for the Democratic nomination soon.

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