Beau Biden running for Delaware governor



Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced this morning he will not run for reelection this fall because he intends to run for governor in 2016, ending months of speculation. 

In a letter sent to his supporters, Biden thanked them for the privilege of serving as the state’s Attorney General for the past eight years. 

“As your Attorney General I have done my best to remain true to the core values I believe define public service – honesty, integrity, and doing right by the people I serve,” Biden stated. “Part of doing right by you is being straight with you about my future plans.”

Biden said he had been planning to run for reelection, but that the “very persistent thought,” of running for governor could no longer be ignored.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“The Office of Attorney General is a four-year commitment. Its responsibilities are too significant, and the voters’ trust too important not to give it my complete and undivided attention. It should not be, nor can it become, a two-year staging ground for another elected office,” he said.

Poltical Director Molly Magarik said while Biden is obviously excited, the campaign to be Delaware’s next governor is on pause until Biden’s committment in the AG’s office ends in January 2015, when a new Attorney General is sworn in. 

“After my term is completed, I look forward to meeting with Delawareans and continuing to discuss my plans as a candidate for Governor,” Biden said.

Delaware Democratic Party Chair John Daniello said while he’s sad to see Biden leave the office at the end of his term, Daniello admires Biden’s giving other people the opportunity to run for Attorney General.

“I admire the Attorney General for being forthright about his intentions to run for governor,” Daniello said, adding the state Democratic party’s focus remains on the 2014 election. “Over the next few days and weeks we will work to recruit a qualified candidate for Attorney General and continue to support our current slate of Democratic candidates.”

Delaware Senator Chris Coons issued a statement following today’s announcement. 

“I’m sorry to see him leave this critical law enforcement office. He has a lot to offer our state and I think he has a bright future ahead of him,” Sen. Coons, D-Del, said.

“I think most Delawareans have suspected that Beau Biden is interested in public service in a way that would go beyond his tenure as Attorney General,” said Dr. Sam Hoff, George Washington Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science at Delaware State University.

Health concerns

While Beau Biden, 45, is relatively young, questions remain about his health. 

Last summer, he underwent an undisclosed medical procedure at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. No specifics were given between then and now about what Biden suffered from or what the procedure entailed.

Biden maintained a low profile for a couple of months after returning home in late August, and when he resurfaced in November at Legislative Hall in Dover, Biden’s perfectly coiffed hair was shorn into a high and tight. A noticeably fresh scar was also visible on the left side of his head.

Since that initial appearance, Biden has iterated and reiterated that he has a clean bill of health, divulging little else, adding the new ‘do was for the Delaware National Guard. Biden is a major in the Delaware Army Guard. 

Biden also suffered a mild stroke in May 2010. 

“I think there will have to be some, a little bit more transparency for where [Biden’s] at to assure the prospective voters of his health at this time,” said Hoff.

Health issues notwithstanding, Hoff said Biden is well-positioned to win in 2016. With a sizeable war chest and name recognition on his side, Hoff said it’s now on Delaware Republicans to find a suitable candidate to not just be a sacrificial lamb, but a viable candidate who can compete.

Multiple calls to Delaware Republican Party Chair Charlie Copeland have not been returned. 

Joe and Beau

It’s not known yet whether Vice President Joe Biden will run for President in 2016, but if he does, then both father and son would be campaigning simultaneously.

“We would have to say everything is waiting for Hillary [Clinton] here in terms of seeing where she’s at, although Joe [Biden] hasn’t said that he absolutely would not run even if Hillary does run,” Hoff said. “Regardless of whether Joe runs or not, he will have an influence, whether covert or overt, in his son’s campaign. I’m sure there’ll be, at the very least, some guest appearances together.”

Hoff mentioned the only thing the Biden’s might have to worry about is “Biden fatigue.”

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal