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Midterm Buzz: Biden his time

From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Liberal and conservative bloggers reach similar conclusions when writing about Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden's decision not to run for the Senate seat vacated by his father, Vice President Joe Biden: the announcement doesn't bode well for Democrats, as the seat will most likely now go to popular Republican Rep. Mike Castle. And a few conservative bloggers are buzzing about Rep. Mark Kirk's (slipping?) fortunes in the Illinois Senate race.

As Beau Biden becomes the latest in a series of political progeny whose Senate fortunes are extinguished or diminished, NRO's Jim Geraghty has this to say of other political dynasties:  "This may be the first cycle in a long time where you don't want your father to have been a political legend." Citing dropouts and poor poll numbers, he notes: "The Kennedy Mystique can't get a Democrat elected in Massachusetts, Beau Biden decides not to run for Senate in Delaware, and Chris Dodd calls it quits in Connecticut.

And now, in Indiana, Evan Bayh trails Rep. Mike Pence in a hypothetical match-up, by three percentage points. What's more, Bayh is only ahead by 3 against former Republican congressman, John Hostettler."

TownHall's Jillian Bandes posts on the circumstances surrounding Biden's decision not to run for Senate: "Things started to heat up. Scott Brown got elected. U.S. Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) is looking really good as a potential Senator — poised to push Delaware further into Republican territory, after Democrats have dominated the First State for over a decade. Beau thinks the Attorney General's seat is more comfortable. So he's not running for Senator. Wimp."

The Washington Independent's David Weigel on Biden's announcement: "Biden's pass on the race will be national news, an indication that Democrats are panicking about bad polls and bad economic numbers and don't want to stake their careers on the whims of 2010 midterm voters." Weigel also looks at a "secondary effect" of Beau Biden's decision not to run for the Delaware Senate seat, writes that Tea Party conservatives—who have a strong presence in Delaware—may be compelled to stage a primary challenge to now-favored winner Rep. Mike Castle (R) on the grounds of his vote for cap-and-trade legislation. "GOP activist Christine O'Donnell had been considering a race; with the stakes considerably lowered, expect to hear more about a possible challenge there," Weigel writes.

Do conservative bloggers think Illinois might be the next Ground Zero for a longshot takeover? NRO's Geraghty also at an internal poll commissioned by Republican Illinois Senate candidate and businessman Patrick Hughes which "shows a massive jump" in support for him over the past few weeks. Hughes is running as a primary challenger to incumbent Republican representative Mark Kirk, whose vote in favor of cap-and-trade legislation cost him the support of many Republicans in his district. But Geraghty expresses doubt that Hughes can win the seat, citing Kirk's persistent lead and an already-crowded Republican primary: "In a world where Scott Brown is a senator, we can't count anything out. But I wonder if a vote for a cap-and-trade bill that looks dead, along with deviation from conservative orthodoxy on a few other issues, will be enough to surmount a lead that is, even by the Hughes poll, almost 20 percentage points. (It also doesn't help to have four other candidates on the ballot, each one touting themselves as "the real conservative alternative.")

Perhaps seconding the sentiment that Kirk just isn't conservative enough, GOP12's Christian Heinze pokes fun at Kirk's courting Sarah Palin's endorsement a few months ago for her endorsement as a way to enhance his bona fides with the right. Linking to news that Palin will head to Illinois in April for a speech, Heinze asks, "Do you think Rep. Mark Kirk's going to stop by and ask for a nice word?"