Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., announced Monday morning he will not run for the Senate seat his father used to hold, greatly increasing the odds that Republicans will capture the seat this fall.
The younger Mr. Biden said he will instead run for re-election as attorney general.
"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," he said in an e-mail to supporters Monday. "Therefore I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010."
Popular Rep. Michael N. Castle, Delaware Republican, is seeking the seat, and Mr. Biden's decision makes his path easier. Polls showed them running competitively, while no other state Democrat runs nearly as strongly against the moderate Mr. Castle, a former governor.
The seat currently is held by Sen. Ted Kaufman, a Democrat and aide to the former Sen. Biden who was installed as a placeholder in case the vice president's son wanted to seek the seat. When Mr. Kaufman was appointed in 2008 by Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, Mr. Kaufman said he would hold the seat for only two years and would not run in 2010.
Democrats have suffered a string of blows to their Senate hopes in recent weeks, including Sen. Byron Dorgan's decision not to run for re-election in North Dakota and candidate Martha Coakley's defeat in a special election in Massachusetts, which already has given Republicans the critical 41st vote they need to sustain filibusters.
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