- The Washington Times - Monday, January 25, 2010

DOVER, Del. — Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced Monday that he will not seek election to the U.S. Senate seat once held by his father, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The younger Mr. Biden told supporters in an e-mail that he will run for re-election as attorney general rather than seek the Senate seat his father held for 36 years.

Mr. Biden’s decision comes on the heels of a GOP upset in Massachusetts last week that ended the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. It leaves Rep. Michael N. Castle, a veteran Republican lawmaker and former two-term governor who is one of the most successful politicians in Delaware history, still waiting for a Democratic opponent.

“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,” Mr. Biden, 40, wrote. “Therefore I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010. I will run for re-election as Attorney General.”

The Senate seat is now held by Ted Kaufman, the vice president’s longtime confidante and former Senate chief of staff, who was appointed by Delaware’s then-governor to serve in an interim capacity until the 2010 election. Mr. Kaufman last week reiterated the pledge he made upon being appointed that he would not be a candidate in 2010.

Since returning home in September after a yearlong deployment to Iraq with his National Guard unit, Beau Biden has been focused on his family and his job as attorney general.

In recent weeks, his agency has been enmeshed in the case of a Delaware pediatrician charged with sexually assaulting several of his patients. Prosecutors believe Dr. Earl Bradley, who was arrested in December, may have molested more than 100 children over the past decade.

Mr. Biden vowed while campaigning for attorney general in 2006 that he would crack down on child predators, and he made the creation of a separate child predator unit within the state Justice Department his top priority after winning office. Had he turned his attention from the Bradley prosecution to running for Senate, he likely would have faced criticism from some voters.

“One of the primary reasons I ran for attorney general was to protect the most vulnerable among us: children,” wrote Mr. Biden, who described the impact of Dr. Bradley’s alleged crimes on the community where he worked as “unspeakable.”

Officials with the Delaware Democratic Party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have declined in recent days to discuss who might represent the party in the event Mr. Biden chose not to run.

One Democrat mentioned as a possible alternative to Mr. Biden is Chris Coons, chief executive of New Castle County, the most populous of Delaware’s three counties. Mr. Coons was noncommittal last week when asked whether he would seek the nomination if Mr. Biden bows out, saying only that he looked forward to supporting Mr. Biden.

Mr. Castle, 70, announced in October that he would not seek a 10th term in the House but would run for this fall’s special election to fill the remaining four years of the Senate term the elder Mr. Biden won in 2008.

Mr. Castle, a leader of GOP centrists who has demonstrated crossover appeal among Democrats as well as unaffiliated voters in Delaware, has a significant head start over the Democrats in fundraising. He has taken in more than $1 million since announcing his Senate bid in October, ending 2009 with about $1.7 million in his campaign chest.

Mr. Biden ended 2009 with slightly less than $100,000 in his attorney general campaign fund, having raised only about $6,500 in cash contributions during the year.

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