Biden Tells Paper He Doesn’t Think Son Wants to Run for Senate

Posted January 24, 2010 at 3:40pm

Vice President Joseph Biden told a Delaware political columnist that he doesn’t think his son, state Attorney General Beau Biden (D), wants to run for his old Senate seat.

Biden also said his successor, interim Sen. Ted Kaufman (D), will not run in the special election this year if his son does not.

The vice president telegraphed his thoughts about the Senate race in a conversation this past week with veteran Delaware columnist Harry Themal, who told the elder Biden that he didn’t think Beau Biden wants to run for the Senate.

But there was some confusion about the conversation, which was published as part of a Themal’s column in Sunday’s Wilmington News Journal. Themal apparently interpreted Biden’s remarks to mean that his son did not want to run for Senate this year. But the vice president’s office released a transcript of their conversation to refute that notion. In the transcript, Biden says that he doesn’t think his son wants to run — but was emphatic in his belief that Kaufman will not.

Beau Biden sitting out the Senate race would be a blow to national Democratic strategists who have long expected him to seek the seat.

Some risks would attach to a Beau Biden candidacy. The political environment probably will not be as favorable to Democrats in 2010 as it was in 2006, when Biden was narrowly elected state Attorney General, or in 2008. Biden is 40 years old and will have other opportunities to run for the Senate.

And Republicans fielded their best possible Senate candidate in Rep. Mike Castle (R), who announced his candidacy in early October, shortly after the younger Biden finished fulfilling a military obligation in Iraq as a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard.

Democrats have no obvious back-up Senate candidate if Beau Biden doesn’t run, and the seat becomes a major pick-up opportunity for the GOP if he stays on the sidelines. The race could prove embarrassing for Democrats, who have held the seat since Joseph Biden was first elected in 1972.