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Beau won't run; neither will Kaufman

From NBC's Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro
After this weekend's mini frenzy over whether Beau Biden will run for his father's old Senate seat, Beau Biden has now announced -- in an e-mail to supporters and on his Web site -- that he will not run for the seat in 2010. He announced he's running for re-election as attorney general instead. 

This decision all but makes GOP Congressman Mike Castle the front-runner for Delaware's Senate seat, giving the GOP a clear pick-up opportunity here.

The decision also raises the question why then-Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (D) appointed Ted Kaufman as a caretaker for the Senate seat (with the assumption that Beau would run), rather than someone like state Lt. Gov. John Carney

Here's the e-mail, entitled, "My Duty":

As many of you know, since returning home from Iraq, I have been giving serious consideration to running for the United States Senate. I have received strong encouragement both here in Delaware and all across the country to undertake this effort – and this outpouring of support has truly been humbling.

I understand why people care so deeply about this election. The challenges we're facing as a country are extraordinarily difficult. The economy. Jobs. Health care. Energy.  Education. Climate change. Financial regulation. Foreign policy. These are not only the issues of the moment – they're the issues that will determine our children's future.  And as someone who has had the privilege of serving with the bravest men and women on this planet, I care deeply about how we treat our returning veterans and how we resolve our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I feel strongly about these issues. However, my first responsibilities are here in Delaware. I have a duty to fulfill as Attorney General – and the immediate need to focus on a case of great consequence. And that is what I must do. Therefore I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010. I will run for reelection as Attorney General.

One of the primary reasons I ran for Attorney General was to protect the most vulnerable among us: children. As the father of two young children, I can think of no worse crime than those committed by child predators. It is why one of my first actions and top priorities as Attorney General was the creation of the Child Predator Task Force.

The idea that any child can be a victim of abuse is horrific. The fact that it has engulfed an entire community is unspeakable. The pain and trauma suffered by the children, their parents, and the families, can't be measured. But justice can be done. And I am determined to see that it is.

I have a job to finish. And that's what I must do.

Thank you for all your support,

Beau Biden

*** UPDATE *** Per msnbc.com's Carrie Dann... Ted Kaufman will not run in 2010 either for the Delaware seat he currently holds.

That's what observers expected, though Vice President Biden seemed to hold out a glimmer of hope that Kaufman might be convinced if his son, Beau, decided not to run.

From Kaufman's Senate page after the news that Beau Biden would not run:

Kaufman Statement on Delaware Senate Seat
January 25, 2010
WILMINGTON, DE - Senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) released the following statement today:

"Serving the people of Delaware in the U.S. Senate is as fulfilling, challenging, and humbling as I imagined when I was appointed. But as I said at the time, I will not seek election for the balance of the term. I will continue to spend my time as Senator serving the people of Delaware and our nation and not running for office. It is a commitment I made when appointed, and one I will fulfill."