Ted Kaufman, a Delaware Democrat who for decades has been a political adviser to Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., was sworn in Friday to fill the Senate seat Biden relinquished to become vice president.
Kaufman, 69, has made clear that his emergence into the public spotlight will be brief: he has said he does not intend to stay in the Senate beyond 2010.
Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, who appointed Kaufman to fill Biden's vacated Senate seat, joined Biden in watching the swearing-in from the visitors' gallery. Biden, who will become vice president next Tuesday, formally resigned Thursday after 36 years in the Senate.
Kaufman served on Biden's Senate staff from 1973 to 1994, including 19 years as chief of staff, and has held senior positions in all of Biden's national campaigns.
A graduate of Duke University and the MBA program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Kaufman is a senior lecturing fellow at Duke and since 1995 has served by presidential appointment as a charter member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He also heads a political and management consulting firm based in Wilmington, Del., and previously worked for the DuPont Co.
Kaufman was escorted into the Senate chamber by Biden and Delaware Sen. Joe Carper, and was sworn in by Vice President Dick Cheney, who is also president of the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in introducing the new senator, said, "No one ever will fill the shoes of Joe Biden." Kaufman, he said, "knows he has to be Ted Kaufman, not Joe Biden, and he will do that."
Reid added that one reason Biden "has had the strength that he has had over these years is because his back was always protected by Ted Kaufman."
Many had predicted that Minner would choose Biden's son Beau, Delaware's attorney general, to succeed him. That option disappeared when Beau Biden's National Guard unit was sent to Iraq, but he would be in position to run for the Senate seat in 2010 if Kaufman steps aside.
The ceremony for Kaufman came a day after the Senate swore in Roland Burris to take the Illinois seat of soon-to-be President Barack Obama. Senate Democratic leaders initially resisted seating Burris because he was appointed by the state's embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Senate turnover will continue when Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet takes over the seat now held by Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., Obama's pick to be interior secretary, and when New York Gov. David Paterson selects someone to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., the nominee to be secretary of state.
Democrats hold a 58-41 advantage in the Senate. The one undecided seat is in Minnesota, where GOP incumbent Norm Coleman is contesting a re-count that narrowly put Democratic challenger Al Franken ahead.