The mercurial rise of Chris Coons from New Castle County executive to U.S. Senator is now complete
as the 47-year-old Delaware Democrat was sworn in just after 4pm Monday at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Coons was sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden. Coons is serving the remaining four years of Biden’s term. Biden was re-elected to the senate in 2008 just as he won a term as President Obama’s Vice-President. He resigned his Delaware seat. Ted Kaufman was appointed as U.S. Senator. Kaufman resigned today to make way for Coons. Kaufman and Delaware’s senior Senator Tom Carper escorted Coons on the senate floor as he was sworn-in. Coons shared today’s lime light with West Virginia senator Joe Manchin. Manchin, a democrat, was elected to fill the remainder of Senator Robert Byrd’s term.
Coons defeated Republican and Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell by 16 points in the November 2nd general election to win the right to fill the remaining four years of Vice President Joe Biden’s term. Because it was a special election, Coons will get to work immediately, two months ahead of most freshman Senators.
Some of the items on the post-election agenda, which begins today, include tackling the historically high national debt, getting people back to work and discussing whether to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts.
In an interview that aired on PBS’ News Hour, Coons said he would be willing to compromise on extending those income tax cuts.
“I think we need to look hard at all of them as a group because every extension of a tax cut will add to our deficit and add to our debt,” he said. “The best way to fix our deficit is to grow new jobs and I’m looking for information about how we can best accomplish that with tax incentives.”
Coons’ unlikely journey to the U.S. Senate began in January when he got into the race after Biden’s son, Attorney General Beau Biden, took himself out of the running.
Coons was considered a heavy underdog against popular Congressman and two-time Delaware Governor Mike Castle. But O’Donnell, boosted by the financial backing of the Tea Party and voter discontent, stunned Castle in the September GOP primary.
“I was confident I had a strong chance against Congressman Castle,” Coons said. “In the general election I had a quite different type of opponent.”
Delaware’s Senate race became the most scrutinized and lampooned race in the nation as old TV clips resurfaced of O’Donnell speaking out against masturbation and talking about dabbling in witchcraft. O’Donnell then tried to sweep the controversy under the rug by declaring in a TV campaign ad “I’m not a witch.”