Biden welcomes son home from war

September 30, 2009 3:52:53 PM PDT
Having been welcomed home by his father, Vice President Joe Biden, Delaware's attorney general traded hugs and handshakes Wednesday with other members of his Army National Guard unit after a yearlong deployment in Iraq. However, Beau Biden gave no hint as to whether he'll be shaking hands with voters next year in a bid for the U.S. Senate seat once held by his father.

Biden, 40, a captain and military lawyer in the 261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, stood with other members of the unit as they were welcomed home by a crowd of about 1,000 people gathered in front of Legislative Hall.

"It's good to be home," is all Beau Biden said in response to a reporter's questions as his young son and daughter crawled all over him.

That leaves observers from across the political spectrum continuing to speculate on whether Beau Biden will seek the Democratic nomination for the Senate post his father held for 36 years.

The seat is now held by Ted Kaufman, a longtime aide to Joe Biden who has said he will not run for re-election in 2010.

If the younger Biden does run for the Senate seat, he could find himself in a tough fight against Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Castle, a former two-term governor and the longest-serving U.S. representative in Delaware history. Castle, 70, hasn't lost a political race since being elected to the state House in 1966.

Samuel Hoff, a political science professor at Delaware State University, said both Biden and Castle have name recognition and likely would draw plenty of money from their respective parties.

"Obviously, Castle's decision is going to mean a lot to the dynamics of that race," Hoff said.

However, Beau Biden faces possible political fallout for missteps by his agency that led to charges being dismissed against a man accused of killing a Delaware State student. The shooting captured national attention on the heels of the Virginia Tech massacre.

The state's recent decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in an unsuccessful legal battle with professional sports leagues and the NCAA over Delaware's new sports betting lottery also could come back to haunt Biden.

"I think any attorney in the attorney general's office with any contract training should have been able to handle that," Hoff said, adding that Biden may find it easier to run for Senate than re-election as attorney general.

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