Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver that nominated his father for VP.
I think I'm going to stop beginning my blog posts with, "Well, I never saw this coming." I'm finding myself using that phrase more and more lately. And it happened again this morning. I'll just get to the news.
Beau Biden, the state Attorney General in Delaware who has long been envisioned as the successor to the Senate seat his father held for six terms -- until his election as vice president last year -- said today in an e-mail to supporters that he will not run for the post and will instead seek re-election as AG. Young Biden, who is 40, was considered a likely choice to get the Senate appointment after the Obama-Joe Biden ticket won in 2008. But, as a member of the Army National Guard, he was about to be deployed to Iraq for a year. So the governor at the time chose Ted Kaufman, a longtime Joe Biden loyalist to serve as the interim appointee -- a seat warmer, if you will, until Beau returned.
Well, Beau Biden has returned from Iraq, safe and sound. But now he's not running.
The decision is great news for the GOP, which has a top-notch candidate in the race, Congressman Mike Castle. Castle, 70, is a moderate Republican who has been elected statewide 12 times -- nine as Delaware's at-large House member (since 1992), twice as governor (1984 & 1988) and once as lt. gov. (1980). Even with Joe Biden on the ballot in Delaware twice last year -- as a candidate for both vice president and senator, Castle won re-election with 61 percent of the vote.
For the record, back in October, when Castle jumped into the race, I offered readers a "who wins?" question on this blog; 65 percent of those responding said they expected Biden to defeat Castle. (But that's ok: the same "who wins?" question posed to readers about last week's Massachusetts Senate race found 56 percent predicting a Martha Coakley victory.)
Democrats had begun to whisper about whether Beau Biden was really going to run for the Senate. Some thought an announcement of candidacy should have come by now, though others insisted that with his name i.d., he still had plenty of time.
His stated reason for skipping the race centered on a case his office was working on, involving Delaware pediatrician Earl Bradley, who has been charged with sexually assaulting several of his patients. The battle against sexual predators had been a key campaign issue during his campaign for AG.
Now Delaware Dems find themselves scrambling for a candidate. Kaufman says he won't run. Former Lt. Gov. John Carney, who wanted the Senate appointment -- but who wouldn't have given way for Beau -- is running for Castle's open House seat and is favored to take it. One name mentioned is Chris Coons, the New Castle County chief executive.
Wow, I never saw this coming.