(USA Today) WILMINGTON, Del. — The vice president's son set his sights on the Delaware governor's office Thursday, saying he will not seek a third term as Delaware's attorney general in November.
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who has battled health problems in the past year, made the announcement in a written statement without making himself available for interviews or scheduling a press conference. Biden's statement did not indicate whether his decision to skip a third attorney general term was because of his health.
In August, Biden was hospitalized at a Texas cancer center, where he underwent a procedure to remove a "small lesion" from his brain. He has remained mostly away from the public eye since, appearing at few public events while working from his office here.
Biden, 45, also was away from his office for several weeks in 2010 after suffering what was described as a mild stroke. Beau Biden and his wife, Hallie, have two children.
Biden's announcement Thursday that he will pursue the governor's office in 2016 will have ripple effects on the First State's politics. Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, a Democrat, and Rep. John Carney, who lost a Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2008 to now-Gov. Jack Markell, also have been seen as potential gubernatorial candidates.
Biden, the eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, was first elected attorney general in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010, dedicating significant time last year to fundraising. He raised more than $1.4 million through his campaign and political action committees in 2013 and had more than $900,000 in cash on hand at the end of the year.
As recently as two weeks ago, Biden's political director, Molly Magarik, said Beau Biden intended to seek a third term. He had been widely expected to seek the governor's office while serving as attorney general.
In some ways, Beau Biden's two terms in office have been marked by interruption and speculation about his political future.
He spent a year in Iraq during his first term, deploying in October 2008 as a member of the Delaware National Guard. In January 2010, he passed on running for the U.S. Senate, a seat his father held for 36 years. The younger Biden said a Senate campaign would take his focus away from the prosecution of pedophile pediatrician Earl Bradley, now serving 14 consecutive life terms plus 165 years after being convicted on more than 500 charges of molesting and exploiting 103 patients.
Beau Biden's statement Thursday indicated that he didn't want the Office of Attorney General to become a staging ground for another elected office.
Some excerpts from his statement:
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. Part of doing right by you is being straight with you about my future plans.Over the past few months, as I've been planning to run for re-election, I have also been giving a great deal of thought to running for governor in 2016. What started as a thought — a very persistent thought — has now become a course of action that I wish to pursue.After careful consideration, I have concluded that it is not right to ask for your support in 2014, knowing that my focus would be divided between doing my job as attorney general while at the same time running as a candidate for governor.