UPDATE: Kaufman this morning put out a statement saying that he’s still not going to seek a full term. "Serving the people of Delaware in the U.S. Senate is as fulfilling, challenging, and humbling as I imagined when I was appointed. But as I said at the time, I will not seek election for the balance of the term. I will continue to spend my time as Senator serving the people of Delaware and our nation and not running for office. It is a commitment I made when appointed, and one I will fulfill."
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced today that he’s not running for the Senate seat formerly held by his father — blowing a hole in the Democratic Senate lineup for this year, and giving Republicans a prime opportunity for a 2010 pick-up in a blue state.
Biden, D-Del., said in an e-mail sent to supporters that his work as attorney general — particularly in new ventures aimed at protecting children — is too important to leave room for a Senate run.
“My first responsibilities are here in Delaware,” he wrote. “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 reelection as Attorney General.”
Beau Biden was widely considered by far the strongest candidate to succeed his father, Vice President Joe Biden, who resigned his seat to become vice president after cruising to reelection in 2008.
The vice president was erroneously quoted by a Delaware newspaper yesterday as saying he knew that his son didn’t want to run; in fact, he was referring to Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., who was named as Biden’s Senate replacement, in making that observation.
National and local Democrats are likely to press Kaufman, a former top Biden Senate aide, to re-consider his commitment not to run for a full term in light of Beau Biden’s announcement.
Republicans already have a top-tier candidate in the race in Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., a former governor who has also been elected state-wide nine times as the state’s sole House member.
The full statement e-mailed by Beau Biden to supporters this morning follows:
As many of you know, since returning home from Iraq, I have been giving serious consideration to running for the United States Senate. I have received strong encouragement both here in Delaware and all across the country to undertake this effort – and this outpouring of support has truly been humbling.
I understand why people care so deeply about this election. The challenges we’re facing as a country are extraordinarily difficult. The economy. Jobs. Health care. Energy. Education. Climate change. Financial regulation. Foreign policy. These are not only the issues of the moment – they’re the issues that will determine our children’s future. And as someone who has had the privilege of serving with the bravest men and women on this planet, I care deeply about how we treat our returning veterans and how we resolve our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I feel strongly about these issues. However, my first responsibilities are here in Delaware. 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 reelection as Attorney General.
One of the primary reasons I ran for Attorney General was to protect the most vulnerable among us: children. As the father of two young children, I can think of no worse crime than those committed by child predators. It is why one of my first actions and top priorities as Attorney General was the creation of the Child Predator Task Force.
The idea that any child can be a victim of abuse is horrific. The fact that it has engulfed an entire community is unspeakable. The pain and trauma suffered by the children, their parents, and the families, can’t be measured. But justice can be done. And I am determined to see that it is.
I have a job to finish. And that’s what I must do.
Thank you for all your support,