EARLY LINE 2016
Updated: Oct. 13, 2015
The race for Delaware's lone congressional seat looks so wide open, it is hard not to think someone else might get into the field.
Lisa Blunt Rochester, who was a Cabinet member for two Democratic governors, as well as a past president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, is worth watching.
She has feelers out there and is stirring up interest.
Not only is Blunt Rochester a member of a family well-known in the state's political circles, she has caught the attention of EMILY's List, the national organization that backs pro-choice Democratic women for office and puts its money where its list is, as its very name pledges -- Early Money Is Like Yeast (it makes the dough rise.)
"Lisa Blunt Rochester has been a fierce advocate for Delaware families. We are excited to see that she's taking a serious look at this race. She would be a strong leader in Washington who knows how to create equal opportunity for all," said Marcy Stech, the communications director for EMILY.
Blunt Rochester was traveling and could not be reached for comment herself.
If she got in, Blunt Rochester would enter a race that already has two Democrats running for sure (Bryan Townsend, a state senator, and Bryon Short, a state representative), a Democrat who might run (Sean Barney, a past candidate for state treasurer) and two Republicans (Hans Reigle, an ex-mayor of Wyoming, and Rose Izzo, a serial congressional candidate.)
Nobody else has seized the field, except it is only reasonable to think that whoever replaces John Carney, the Democratic congressman now running for governor, will also be a Democrat, coming from a state that has 125,000 more Democratic than Republican voters.
Blunt Rochester comes from a family with politics in its DNA.
Ted Blunt, her father, used to be the Wilmington Council's Democratic president. Marla Blunt-Carter, her sister, has been an aide in Joe Biden's Senate office, the state director for the Obama-Biden campaign and a staffer for Karen Weldin Stewart, the Democratic insurance commissioner.
Blunt Rochester herself was a labor secretary when Tom Carper was the Democratic governor and a personnel director when Ruth Ann Minner was.
In this congressional race, opportunity is knocking and history could be beckoning.
The congressional seat has not been this available in 40 years, not since Pete du Pont took a pass on running for a fourth term in 1976 to get elected as the Republican governor.
It went to Tom Evans, another Republican, that year, and he held it until Carper wrestled it away in 1982 in what turned out to be the last real tussle over it. After Carper ran for governor in 1992, the seat was all but handed off, first to Mike Castle, who spent 18 years as the Republican congressman, and then to Carney, who was elected in 2010.
It is worth noting that Delaware has never had a woman or a minority in its three-member federal delegation, and Blunt Rochester is both.
The only other states that have never elected a woman either to the Senate or the House of Representatives are Vermont and Mississippi.
It is one thing to be in the company of Vermont, another small state that tends to keep its members in office for a very long time, but Mississippi? Yikes.
Incumbents in bold