Tom Carper Fends Off Progressive Wave To Win Delaware Democratic Primary

Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

Democratic Sen. Tom Carper was able to fend off his progressive challenger Thursday to win his party’s primary for Delaware’s U.S. Senate seat.

Edging out a victory over challenger Kerri Evelyn Harris, Carper won 65 percent of the total vote.

Harris was a first-time political candidate, representing the progressive wing of the Democratic party. Running on a more radical platform of eliminating student debt, implementing universal health care and increasing the minimum wage to $15, Carper considered her platform to be largely unrealistic. (RELATED: Senate Democrats Want To Add A New Census Question Of Their Own)

“I don’t have a magic wand that would enable us to do that,” Carper said during the primary debate. “It would cost a pretty penny.”

The incumbent senator has been a staple in Delaware politics for decades. Beginning his statewide career as treasurer in 1977, he later held the position of Delaware’s U.S. representative for the at-large district. Carper was governor of the state for almost a decade before entering the senate in 2001. He has never lost an election.

In the final days leading up to the election, progressives pushed to flip the already-blue seat farther to the left. Harris received an endorsement from Democratic socialist and New York congressional hopeful Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“My gut tells me that they believe that Kerri is the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and they believe that I’m somehow the next Joe Crowley,” Carper said, acknowledging the progressive push to oust him.

Carper will face Sussex County councilman and former Trump state campaign chair Rob Arlett in November’s midterm election.

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