Republican Rep. Castle running for Biden's old job

Republicans have a real shot at picking up one of Delaware's two Senate seats next year

By Alex Koppelman

Published October 6, 2009 5:01PM (EDT)

The Republican Party got some good news Tuesday. Rep. Mike Castle, a popular Republican, has decided to run for the Delaware Senate seat that Joe Biden left to become vice president. And he has a good shot at winning one for the GOP.

Castle's currently his state's lone member of the House of Representatives. He's had that job since 1993; before that he served two terms as governor and one as lieutenant governor. And during his time in the House, he's cruised to victory every time he's run for re-election; even in 2006 and 2008, terrible years for Republicans nationwide, he took 57 percent and 61 percent of the vote, respectively.

The Republican's entry into the race immediately makes the race too close to call. The man who currently occupies the seat is Democrat Ted Kaufman, who has said he won't run again. Kaufman is a veteran Biden aide who's generally considered someone who took the job in order to serve as a placeholder for Biden's son Beau, who's the state's attorney general.

If he does get in, Beau Biden seems ready to give Castle a real race. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, says he believes that "as long as Beau Biden still runs now that Mike Castle is in the race, Democrats will hold onto the Senate seat in Delaware." In March, a PPP poll found Castle ahead of Biden 44-36. But Jensen says this is "largely a function of name recognition, and given his nearly 30 years in statewide office [his early polling leads] really aren't that substantial."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2010 Elections Joe Biden U.s. Senate War Room