The upshot of the news that Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden–son of the vice president–won’t run for the state’s open Senate seat is that Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) is now prohibitively likely to take the seat over for Republicans. Delaware Democrats, who have dominated the state for the better part of a decade, have a bench of second-tier candidates to draw on. But Castle, who’s held statewide office in Delaware since the 1980s, is the most popular politician in the state. And Biden’s pass on the race will be national news, an indication that Democrats are panicking about bad polls and bad economic numbers and don’t want to stake their careers on the whims of 2010 midterm voters.
A secondary effect of Biden’s decision may come when Tea Party activists–they’ve got a strong presence in Delaware–take a second look at Castle and decide whether it’s worth backing a primary challenger to protest his vote for cap-and-trade legislation. GOP activist Christine O’Donnell had been considering a race; with the stakes considerably lowered, expect to hear more about a possible challenge there.
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