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Delaware Rep. John Carney Running for Governor

Carney won't run for a fourth term in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three-term Delaware Rep. John Carney has filed paperwork to run for governor.  

In a statement Wednesday, Carney said he had planned to back the state's late attorney general, Beau Biden, for governor and stay in the House. But after Biden passed away in May from brain cancer, Carney reconsidered.  

"Beau knew there are big challenges facing our state -- and he would have been the man to meet them. Like so many across our state, I wish he'd had that chance," Carney said.  

"Yet, a season after Beau's passing, we're confronted with the fact that those same challenges Beau was ready to face still loom large along our state's horizon. And someone has to step up to meet them."  

Carney said he does not plan to start actively campaigning until next year. But establishing a campaign committee allows him to begin raising money for his gubernatorial bid.  

This will be Carney's second gubernatorial bid. He lost the 2008 primary to now-Gov. Jack Markell, who is term-limited and has said he will support Carney's campaign. Sen. Tom Carper put out a statement Wednesday afternoon endorsing Carney's candidacy. And Carney told the Delaware News Journal that Vice President Biden had encouraged him to run.  

Carney represents Delaware's only congressional district, and it's a safe seat for Democrats. Party operatives mentioned several possible successors to Carney in the House. But as it's still early, they expect many more names to emerge in the coming months.  

State Sen. Bryan Townsend, a corporate lawyer in Wilmington, had been considering a campaign since the summer. "If there's a vacancy, I'm strongly considering seeking the office," he told local reporters in June.  

State Rep. Bryon Short, a small-business owner who chairs the House Economic Development Committee, has also openly talked about his interest, telling the Delaware News Journal earlier this year that if Carney decided to run, the seat would be "something that we have an interest in."  

Given Delaware's small size, any state legislator represents a relatively small fraction of the electorate and thus doesn't start with a significant base, one mid-Atlantic Democratic operative cautioned.  

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