Tales from the Trail

Republican Mike Castle seeks Biden’s old Senate seat; Will Biden’s son run too?

October 6, 2009

Republican Mike Castle ended months of speculation on Tuesday by saying he will run to fill U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s unexpired Senate term from Delaware. USA-POLITICS/

The announcement raised again the questions: Will Biden’s son, Beau, run for it, too? And if so, when will Beau announce?

Beau Biden recently returned from a nearly year-long deployment in Iraq as a member of the Delaware National Guard. He is back at his job as Delaware’s elected attorney general.

The younger Biden has been widely expected to seek the Senate seat ever since his dad vacated it to become vice president. The seat is now held by Ted Kaufman, a former Joe Biden staffer, who has said he will not run to finish the term that expires in 2014.

A campaign between Beau Biden and Castle — a nine-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a former Delaware governor — would likely set up one of the most hotly contested and expensive Senate races in the nation.

Stakes are high.

The contest will help determine if Democrats retain their 60-vote majority in the 100-member Senate — one big enough to clear Republican procedural hurdles.

Thirty-eight Senate seats are up for re-election next year, 19 now held by Republicans, the other 19 by Democrats.

In announcing his intention to run, Castle said: “It has never been more important for Delaware to have the strongest and most experienced leadership to represent us in Washington.”

The non-partisan Cook Political Report lists the Senate race as a “tossup.”

But the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report, following Castle’s announcement, moved its classification of the contest from “safe for Democrats” to “lean takeover” by Republicans.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Biden at hearing when he was chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2007)

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