A former aide to Vice President-elect Joe Biden was named Monday by Delaware's governor to fill the Senate seat Biden is leaving for his new post.
Edward "Ted" Kaufman, co-chair of Biden's transition team and an Obama-Biden transition project advisory board member, plans to serve until the 2010 election, when a new senator from the state is elected. He said he is comfortable stepping down after two years in office.
"I don't think Delaware's appointed senator should spend the next two years running for office," Kaufman said. "I will do this job to the fullest of my ability, and spend my days focused on one thing and one thing only: serving Delaware."
Speculation on Biden's successor had centered in recent weeks on his son, Attorney General Beau Biden. But last week the younger Biden announced that he planned to fulfill his duties with the National Guard military auxiliary and wouldn't accept an appointment to his father's U.S. Senate seat.
Biden is a prosecutor for the 261st Signal Brigade, which left for Iraq last week. The unit is due back in September 2009, in time for Biden to run for his father's Senate seat.
Just before announcing Kaufman as the appointee, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner acknowledged speculation about the younger Biden being picked for the post and said she would have strongly considered him.
Biden will be sworn in on Jan. 6, but in mid-January he will step down and Kaufman will be sworn in, Kaufman said.
Kaufman held a senior position in all of Biden's federal campaigns. He served on Biden's Senate staff from 1973 to 1994, including 19 years as chief of staff.
He is a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University and has served by presidential appointment since 1995 as a charter member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He also heads a political and management consulting firm based in Wilmington, Delaware, and previously worked for the DuPont Co.