DE-Sen: Will Mike Castle and Beau Biden Play Chicken?

Nearly a month-and-a-half ago, 70-year-old Republican Rep. Mike Castle said the following:

“I have a responsibility, primarily to the Republican Party of Delaware, to make it relatively soon. And relatively means in the next month or so.”

So what is holding up Castle’s decision?  Most likely, he is waiting to see what Delaware’s Democratic Attorney General, Beau Biden (son of Vice President Joe Biden), will do.  Keep in mind:

A return to civilian life is three weeks away for some soldiers in the Delaware Army National Guard after almost a year in Iraq. In the case of JAG Capt. Beau Biden, the homecoming also will catapult him back into an intensifying political life. …The return is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 1 p.m., in Dover on Legislative Mall in front of the John Haslet Armory. …

It leaves the Senate seat beckoning for Beau Biden.

Once Attorney General Biden resumes his official elective duties in less than a month, will he take steps toward a 2010 Senate bid?  Keep in mind that two polls from this past Spring showed Castle leading Biden by varying amounts: Public Policy Polling put the race at 44-36, while Susquehanna Polling and Research put the race at 55-34.

So, Castle has the nominal baseline edge, and would be more likely to go for the Senate seat if it was an easy race, but might prefer retirement to a tough slog against Biden.  Meanwhile, Biden is widely expected to run and would enjoy a Party registration advantage in deep blue Delaware (along with a fairly popular last name in a state that went for Obama-Biden over McCain-Palin last year by a 62-37 margin), but might be daunted by these early poll numbers, and would rather pass on 2010 (and an uphill battle against Castle) and wait for 2014, when a then-75-year-old Castle would likely retire (assuming he’s already on the brink of retirement as is).

We could potentially have a situation where both Biden and Castle would want to run for Senate, but Castle wouldn’t want to tangle with Biden and Biden wouldn’t want to wrangle with Castle.  In short, we may soon see a game of political chicken, where the first poker player to bet big would force the other to fold his hand, but neither wants to push their chips in first.  Stay tuned.

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