ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Arnab Datta Report: ABC News has learned that Delaware’s newly elected Democratic governor is planning to take the oath of office at 12:01 a.m. ET on Jan. 20, 2009, making it possible for him to name Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s replacement to the United States Senate.
Whether Governor-elect Jack Markell (D) gets to name Biden’s Senate replacement will ultimately turn on whether the Vice President-elect makes good on his stated intention to wait until the moment he becomes Vice President to resign from the U.S. Senate.
Delaware law provides that when a U.S. senator resigns before the end of his term, the state’s governor appoints a replacement who remains in office until the next election which, in this case, is 2010.
The midnight swearing-in will take place in Newark, Del., on the campus of the University of Delaware. Markell will be sworn into office by one of the state’s Supreme Court justices. While Markell will take the oath of office and officially become governor on January 20, he will re-enact the swearing-in and deliver his inaugural address on January 21, at the state capitol in Dover, Del. Markell opted for a midnight swearing-in to accommodate Delawareans who wanted to attend the Obama-Biden inauguration in Washington, D.C., as well as the inauguration of the new governor, while simultaneously complying with the state constitution’s requirement that the new governor be sworn in on January 20.
Markell thought it would be more feasible to hold a re-enactment on January 21 than it would be to hold a daytime swearing-in on January 20.
A number of Delaware state officials have been mentioned as possibile Biden replacements including Lt. Gov. Jack Carney, Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron Steele, and Secretary of State Harriet Smith Windsor.
Attorney General Beau Biden, the vice president-elect’s son, sent an email to reporters on Tuesday saying that he does not want to be considered as a possible replacement for his father in the Senate. The younger Biden is a member of the state’s National Guard and has been training in Texas for a year-long deployment to Iraq.
Markell is planning formally to announce his plans on Wednesday.