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Politics & Government

Carper, Blunt Rochester handily defeat Republican challengers

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Democratic incumbents decisively fended off Congressional challenges in Tuesday’s Midterm election.

The state’s senior Senator Tom Carper bested his Republican opponent Rob Arlett, getting just under 60% of the vote to secure a fourth term.

Carper is now 14-0 running for public office in the First State. He would not say for sure if this will be his final term in the U.S. Senate, but says he plans to continue to pick and choose his battles with the Trump administration.

“If there are instances or issues with which we disagree with this administration, with this president, then fight them and fight them hard,” said Carper. “If there are areas where we can work together with him or with other Republicans and Democrats in the Senate or the House, then we want us to work together.”

Carper points to his recently signed bipartisan water infrastructure bill as an example of his willingness, in some instances, to work with the President.

“It’s great for clean water for our state, great for our beaches in our state, great for expanding the Port of Wilmington in our state. So when we have issues like that, folks want us to work together,” he said.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester earned a second term in Delaware’s lone House seat, topping all vote-getters in statewide races and defeating Republican Scott Walker by a 28% margin.

Now part of a Democratic House majority, Blunt Rochester would not commit to backing Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker.

Credit Sophia Schmidt / Delaware Public Media
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester celebrates winning a second term in the U.S. House with fellow Democrats in Wilmington Tuesday.

“We have so many good potential candidates to step up. And so we’re excited to see what comes out of it. I haven’t taken a position. I’m just excited to see what comes before me as an option,” said Blunt Rochester.

Blunt Rochester adds House Democrats need to strike a balance between offering oversight of the Trump Administration and moving forward on key issues like health care, immigration and infrastructure.

She says one of her top priorities when she returns to Capitol Hill will be a criminal justice reform bill she introduced called Clean Slate.

“I want to see us focus on that, and I also have had a really big push on the future of work, and that ties to everything from our education, to how we’re to training people for jobs, to making sure that the benefits are there as we are transforming our economy,” said Blunt Rochester.

Blunt Rochester made history two years ago when she became the first woman and first African American elected to represent Delaware in Congress.

Walker’s homespun campaign drew controversy following a series of racist and sexist social media posts, and when his past as a delinquent landlord resurfaced in the news.

He was disavowed by the state GOP.

Arlett served on Sussex County Council since 2015 and was President Trump’s Delaware State Chairman during the 2016 presidential election.

Delaware Public Media's Sophia Schmidt contributed to this story.