Senate Democrats now officially have a candidate for the Senate seat formerly held by Vice President Joe Biden, to run against long-time Republican Rep. Mike Castle. New Castle County Executive Chris Coons declared today that he is in the race.
After Biden resigned in order to become vice president, his former aide Ted Kaufman was appointed as a caretaker who would serve in the Senate and not run for election in 2010. Much attention was focused on state Attorney General Beau Biden, one of the vice president’s sons, as a potential candidate. However, Beau Biden announced last week that he would not run.
On paper, Coons would appear to be a major candidate who could make the race. New Castle County is home to about 60% of the state’s population, so he does begin with a clear geographic base. He will nevertheless have his work cut out for him, as a recent Rasmussen poll put Castle ahead of Coons by 56%-27%.Yesterday, Vice President Biden was promoting Coons during an interview on MSNBC. “We have a first-rate candidate now,” Biden said. “We have a county executive, a young guy named Chris Coons who has two graduate degrees… The fact of the matter is that I predict to you that Chris Coons is going to surprise the devil out of them.”
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, put out this statement today promoting Coons’s entry into the race:
“Chris Coons has an impressive record of shaking-up government, cutting wasteful spending, and working with local businesses to create jobs. With Chris’s entrance into the race, Delawareans will face a choice between a proven reformer who has created an engine of economic growth and a longtime Washington insider who has voted with the special interests. This will be a race about who is positioned to lead Delaware into the future, and given his accomplishments, Chris Coons is well-positioned as an outsider to make that argument.”
The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee was quick with this statement attacking the new candidate:
“As the last-minute choice of the Democrat establishment in Washington, Chris Coons represents nothing more than another loyal foot-soldier for the increasingly unpopular Democrat agenda of higher taxes, out-of-control spending, increasing deficits, and government-run health care.
“Throughout his career as New Castle County Executive, Coons has pushed for a wide variety of tax hikes – including higher property taxes, hotel taxes, sewer taxes, and even taxes on 911 calls. During these uncertain economic times, we simply cannot afford another elected official committed to raising taxes on the hardworking families, seniors and small business owners in Delaware.
“For his entire career, Mike Castle has served as an independent voice for the people of Delaware and worked across the aisle to come up with real solutions for voters in his state. The unwillingness of the Vice President’s son to run for the seat formerly held by his father for nearly four decades highlights the incredibly toxic political environment facing Democrat candidates this fall, and we’re confident that voters will reject Chris Coons’ tax-and-spend agenda and elect Mike Castle to the U.S. Senate in November.”