(WASHINGTON) -- Longtime Delaware Sen. Tom Carper announced Monday he's calling it quits this election cycle and won't seek a fifth term, becoming the latest Senate Democrat to retire.Carper, an enduring figure in Delaware politics, made his plans known Monday along the banks of his beloved Wilmington waterfront park with his wife of 37 years at his side.
"If there was ever an opportune time to step aside and pass the torch to the next generation, it’s coming, and in fact, it will be here on January 3, 2025, right around noon," he said.
Carper joins a growing list of colleagues from the Democratic conference not seeking reelection, including Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Maryland's Ben Cardin.
Carper's move opens up a safe seat for Democrats in an otherwise difficult year for the party in the Senate majority.
The state's lone congresswoman -- Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester -- is favored to succeed him.
Currently chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Carper has been in public office since 1977, serving as a state official, then as a House member in Congress, before winning two terms as governor and then taking his current Senate seat in 2001.
He has said in the past that he nearly retired in 2018 but reconsidered with then-President Donald Trump in the White House.
Carper spent 23 years in the U.S. military before entering politics, serving three tours in Vietnam.
On Monday, the senator noted that he's that last Vietnam vet serving in the Senate.