UPDATED: Delaware US Senator Tom Carper Not Seeking 5th Term in US Senate


Delaware US Senator Tom Carper and wife, Martha, on the Riverfront in Wilmington as he announces he will not run for re-election.

Delaware US Senator Tom Carper will not run for re-election. Senator Carper made that announcement this morning along the riverfront in Wilmington. He moved to Delaware towards the end of the Vietnam War, where he served in the US Navy. Just three years later he was elected as Delaware Treasurer and served three terms. That was followed by 5 terms in the US Congress in the House of Representatives. In 1992 Carper became Governor of Delaware and served 8 years and then ran for the US Senate in 2001, where he has been for the last 4 terms. There will not be a 5th term.

Senator Carper said that if he ran for a 5th term and won – that would be a record 15 statewide elections that he’d won. Instead he announced today that he would not run for another term, but take the remaining months of this term and finish the important work that he and his staff have begun. Then he will “ride off into the sunset and call it a day.” 

Senator Coons statement on Senator Carper retirement

WILMINGTON, Del. ­– U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) released the following statement after U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced he would retire from the Senate when his term ends in 2025:

“Tom Carper isn’t just a colleague and a friend, he is a steady, significant leader who has shaped Delaware over decades. Across his more than 50 years of service to our state and nation, he never stopped focusing on economic development, and despite his substantial accomplishments in the Senate, he’s never stopped thinking as a governor — focused on working across the aisle, solving complex problems, and making a lasting difference. Famous for his tireless energy and determination, he set the standard for active engagement and responsive service. As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Carper has protected our lands and waterways and played an instrumental role in the passage of both the landmark, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.  

“Tom Carper has also mentored a generation of Delaware leaders. From my first race for County Council President, he has encouraged and supported my career in service, acting as a source of advice and encouragement when I needed it most, and as a role model for balancing family and service. 

“I look forward to serving together for the remainder of this Congress and to supporting my colleague as he decides on the next chapter in life’s adventure. Annie and I want to express our gratitude to Tom and Martha for their friendship and service, and we wish them and their family all the best in the years to come.”


Statement from Secretary of State Jeff Bullock on Senator Carper’s decision to not seek reelection

Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock issued a statement following Senator Tom Carper’s decision to not seek reelection in 2024:

“Tom Carper has literally bent the arch of Delaware history. Everywhere you look up and down our state, Tom Carper has had an impact. His body of work is unprecedented, and it continues to grow, touching the lives of every Delawarean and improving our quality of life. Tom Caper’s impact has been historic, his contributions to Delaware are second to none, and his legacy to our state will be felt for generations to come.

I started my public service with Tom Carper as a 22-year-old intern. Over the next 17 years, I had the opportunity to serve as his chief of staff in the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and for most of his time as governor. Governor John Carney, Senator Chris Coons, and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, and many other leaders in government and business share important parts of their life stories with Tom Carper.  

He has been an incredible friend and mentor to us all, and I am forever grateful for his leadership.”


Delaware Democratic Party Statement on Senator Tom Carper’s Retirement

Wilmington, DE – Delaware Democratic Party Chair Betsy Maron has released the following statement regarding Senator Tom Carper’s retirement announcement.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Senator Carper for his years of service to the State of Delaware and to our party. For over forty years he has been committed to serving the First State and hundreds of thousands who call it home. From his early days as State Treasurer to today, Senator Carper has helped shape an entire era of Delaware’s politics and policymaking.     

“Tom Carper’s influence on the Delaware Democratic Party is unrivaled. Whether he was advocating for Democratic issues in the halls of government, building our local committees, or developing talent, Senator Carper’s work will leave a lasting legacy on our party. I struggle to think of a Delaware Democrat that has not been influenced by Tom Carper in some way shape or form. 

“In 2024 we plan to continue Tom Carper’s legacy of Democratic leadership by maintaining this Senate seat. With a razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate, it is of the utmost importance that Democrats not cede any ground to Republicans in 2024. As a state party, we plan to do our part to ensure President Biden has allies he can rely upon in the Senate.” 


Governor Carney Releases Statement on Senator Carper’s Retirement

WILMINGTON, Del.–Governor John Carney on Monday released the following statement after U.S. Senator Tom Carper announced he will retire from the U.S. Senate when his term ends in 2025:

“Senator Carper is an institution in our state – and a servant leader who has always put the interests of Delaware families first. He has been a tireless advocate for Delaware. And in a time of increasing divisiveness, Senator Carper continues to work across the aisle to find common ground and get things done.

I was fortunate to serve on then-Governor Carper’s staff, and in his cabinet. For me, the Senator has been a friend, a mentor, and a constant source of good advice. And I know I’m not alone in that respect. Throughout his time in Congress, as Governor, and his four terms in the U.S. Senate, he mentored countless public officials who came behind him.

Senator Carper is one-of-a kind. His leadership in Washington will be sorely missed – but I’m confident he’ll find ways to stay involved for the good of our state.”


Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long Celebrates U.S. Senator Tom Carper’s Honorable Years of Public Service

Dover, DE - Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long released a statement following U.S. Senator Tom Carper’s announcement that he would not be seeking another term to the United States Senate. 

“There’s not a corner in Delaware that has not been shaped and uplifted by Senator Tom Carper’s nearly five decades of passionate service to our state. Beloved for his unique wit, his unparalleled work ethic, and his unofficial record of shaking more hands than any other Delaware elected official, Senator Carper is a servant leader to his core. 

“He first answered the call to serve his country as a Navy flight officer, serving three tours in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. As the wife of a Navy veteran, his military service holds a special place in my heart.  

“He later went on to become the winningest elected official in Delaware history, serving as State Treasurer, Congressman, Governor, and as U.S. Senator. Through it all, the Delawareans and the constituents he’s served have been his North Star. His work to advance the Affordable Care Act, achieve Delaware’s AAA credit rating, and lead the fight against climate change will be felt in Delaware and across the nation for generations to come. I look forward to the years of continued leadership and public service from Senator Carper, and I’m grateful for all he has done to serve our great state. Thank you, Senator Carper.” 


Press Statement from the Delaware Republican Party:  Senator Tom Carper’s Announcement

“The Delaware Republican Party recognizes U.S. Senator Tom Carper for his years of public service.  We salute Senator Carper’s commitment to helping others and his years of service to the Delaware Community even if we did not often agree with his legislative priorities. 

The Democrat Party has changed since Tom was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982.  It is not the party it was when he started his career.  Tom stood for small government, worked across the aisle with Republicans in the U.S. House and the Delaware General Assembly, and occasionally voted independently of the party.  That has changed too! Today, the Democrat Party and Washington D.C. are very different.

We have been preparing to give the Delaware voters a choice between the New Democrat Party and a very different alternative when we elect Tom Carper’s successor.” 

          – Julianne Murray, Chair of the Delaware State Republican Party