Beau Biden Passes on Senate Race

Posted January 25, 2010 at 9:09am

Updated: 11:23 a.m.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (D) will not run for Senate this year, a serious setback to Democratic hopes of retaining a seat that was long held by Biden’s father, Vice President Joseph Biden.

“I have a duty to fulfill as Attorney General — and the immediate need to focus on a case of great consequence. And that is what I must do. Therefore I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010. I will run for re-election as Attorney General,— Beau Biden said in a statement released Monday morning.

The announcement came one day after a veteran Delaware columnist reported on a recent conversation with Vice President Biden, who telegraphed his son wouldn’t run by saying he didn’t think interim Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), a longtime family friend and former aide who was appointed last year to succeed the elder Biden, could be convinced to run in this year’s election.

Kaufman released a statement Monday saying he is sticking to his plan to retire at the end of this year.

“Serving the people of Delaware in the U.S. Senate is as fulfilling, challenging, and humbling as I imagined when I was appointed,— Kaufman said in a statement Monday. “But as I said at the time, I will not seek election for the balance of the term.—

Democratic officials had long expected a candidacy from Beau Biden, who said in mid-October — shortly after serving in Iraq with his National Guard unit — that he was “absolutely— considering a run for the seat.

But he is forgoing what would have been a difficult campaign against Rep. Mike Castle (R), a dominant figure in Delaware politics for decades.

It’s not clear yet who would seek the Democratic nomination. One possibility is Chris Coons, the elected executive of New Castle County, which includes Wilmington.