U.S. Senator Tom Carper Announces He Will Not Run for Re-Election in 2024

U.S. Senator Tom Carper
U.S. Senator Tom Carper

WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, along the banks of the Wilmington Riverfront, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced his intention not to run for re-election following the end of his term in 2024.

“Some 59 years have passed since I first raised my right hand as a 17-year-old Navy ROTC midshipman and took an oath to defend our country and its Constitution. I never imagined then that I would take the oath again and again as a naval flight officer and P-3 aircraft mission commander in an active duty and reserve career that would span some 23 years before I retired with the rank of captain. Today, I am the last Vietnam veteran serving in the United States Senate.

“With the unwavering support and encouragement of our President over the years, I’ve had the privilege of serving as Delaware’s state treasurer after being elected at the age of 29. I went on to defeat a three-term incumbent congressman, setting the stage to win two terms as Delaware’s governor. Working with Democrats and Republicans in the State Legislature, we focused every day on strengthening the basic building blocks of our society: families. We reformed welfare and our school system, preserved open space, recruited 10,000 mentors, and created more jobs over an eight-year period than any eight-year period in the history of our state. I also served as chairman and vice chairman of the National Governors’ Association, one of only two Delaware governors to ever do so.

“It was Joe Biden who encouraged me to run for the Senate in my last year as governor. Once in the Senate, I sought and won a seat on several committees, including the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. I still remain a senior member of that committee today, and I have the privilege of leading the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, along with my fellow native West Virginian Shelley Capito. I’m also privileged to chair the Trade Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee with ranking member John Cornyn of Texas.

“As last year came to a close and the new one began, Martha and I began to focus on what I should do next. If I ran for a fifth term in the Senate and won, it would be a record 15 statewide elections. After a good deal of prayer and introspection, and more than a few heart-to-heart conversations, we’ve decided we should run through the tape over the next 20 months and finish the important work that my staff and I have begun on a wide range of fronts, many of them begun in partnership with Democrat and Republican colleagues in the Senate and in the House.

“At the top of the list is to oversee the implementation of major portions of our massive Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with its major climate provisions, that I helped to write, along with the transformational clean energy tax provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. Implementation of both laws is indispensable if we are ultimately to win the battle against global warming while creating tens of millions of American jobs in the years to come.

“The great privilege of my life has been the opportunity to serve the people of the First State and of the United States in so many different roles for so many years. I’ve never felt the gratitude and affection of so many Delawareans as I feel today when traveling through our Small Wonder. It is palpable, it is a source of joy, and it is deeply, deeply appreciated.”

Watch or read Senator Carper’s full speech.

Governor John Carney 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 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.” 

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.”

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), issued the following statement following the announcement that Senator Tom Carper will not be running for reelection: “I still remember standing on the steps of the Capitol as an intern with then-Congressman Tom Carper. It was his service that helped inspire a journey I could have hardly imagined – as I would go on to serve as his staffer, cabinet member, and eventually, colleague in the United States Congress.

“It would be impossible to even partially capture the astounding accomplishments that Senator Carper compiled in his over four decades of service to our state and nation. From serving our nation as a Naval Flight Officer in Vietnam, to getting Delaware its first AAA bond rating as our treasurer, fighting the dumping of sludge into our waterways as our Congressman, ushering in an unprecedented period of economic vitality as our Governor, and being on the frontlines of the battle against the climate crisis as our Senator – the list is as long as it is impressive.

“For all of those accomplishments, perhaps the thing that will resonate with most Delawareans were the personal moments they spent with Senator Carper – a passing word in the morning at the YMCA, a handshake at the state fair, an excited high five at the Blue Rocks game. That’s because Senator Carper was always more interested in attending a local Sunday service than doing the Sunday shows, more interested in hearing from his constituents in person than getting clicks online, and more interested in the happenings of the day in Delaware than D.C.

“No one put more miles in than Tom Carper. No one worked harder for Delaware than Tom Carper. And I’m thrilled that he’ll now get to spend more time with Martha and his wonderful sons. After all, I know that the titles of husband and father have always meant more to him than Senator.

“To me, this is Tom Carper’s legacy. That he deeply loved our state of neighbors. That he worked tirelessly every single day to make it a better place. And that in his endeavor, he succeeded

 Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today released the following statement on Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) announcing he will not seek re-election after a successful four terms in office: “Tom Carper has been a conscientious, hardworking, honorable, and effective Senator who has done so much for his beloved Delaware and America, particularly in protecting our precious environment and strengthening our transportation systems. So many important pieces of legislation from postal reform to reducing the poisonous effect of methane in our atmosphere would not have happened without Tom’s diligence and persistence. He has had a long and distinguished career representing the ‘First State’ as a Congressman, Governor, and Senator and deserves a well-earned retirement. I know everyone in the Senate will certainly miss Tom, especially myself. To Tom and his entire family, thank you for everything you have done for our country.”

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.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola, Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, and Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman issued a joint statement today regarding U.S. Sen. Tom Carper’s announcement that he plans to retire at the end of his current term:For more than five decades, Tom Carper has served our state and our nation with distinction.

His tireless dedication and infectious spirit have improved the lives of countless Delawareans across every corner of our state. From the redevelopment of the Wilmington Riverfront, the creation of the First State National Historic Park and the protection of our beaches and inland bays to his work as a champion of the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Post Office and American infrastructure.

As a U.S. Navy veteran, a former state treasurer, a former U.S. Congressman, a recovering governor, as he liked to say, and nearly a quarter century as our U.S. Senator, Tom Carper’s accomplishments are almost too numerous to count, his impact on Delaware too enormous to fathom, and his legacy too great to fully comprehend.

Today, as we reflect on a career unlike any other, we are eternally grateful for Sen. Carper’s leadership, his friendship and, perhaps most of all, his endless enthusiasm for helping the people of Delaware.”

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki also issued a statement regarding U.S. Senator Tom Carper’s upcoming retirement: “I am disappointed to learn that the senator has chosen to retire but at the same time I am grateful for his lifetime of service to our City, state and nation. For a good part of my career, I had the pleasure of being part of the team that transformed the Christina Riverfront. Tom Carper’s leadership and partnership as far as understanding and supporting the potential of the Riverfront District began before he became Governor and has continued to this day. Thank you, Senator, for your support, friendship, and guidance.”