(CNN) - Nine days after Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced he wouldn't make a bid for his father's old senate seat, the Democrats have landed a candidate.
New Castle County Executive Chris Coons officially announced Wednesday that he's challenging Republican Rep. Mike Castle for the open senate seat this November.
"People here in Delaware are hurting, and Congress has failed to deliver the change we voted for in 2008. I'm running to bring new energy and a new approach to Washington," Coons said in a news release.
Beau Biden announced on Jan. 26 that he would run for re-election as attorney general, ending months of speculation that he would make a bid for the seat held for 36 years by his father Vice President Joe Biden. The elder Biden stepped down from the Senate after his election in November 2008 as vice president. Former Biden aide Ted Kaufman was named as an interim replacement. After Beau Biden's announcement, Kaufman said that he would not seek a full term.
After Beau Biden decided against running for the senate, speculation shifted to Coons, who is in the middle of his second term as a county executive and prevented from seeking re-election. Coons Wednesday filed papers with the Federal Elections commission to run for the senate.
"Before I was elected in 2004, the county government was mired in scandal. I restored integrity and confidence in county government. I cut wasteful spending, helped businesses to create jobs, and made our communities safer. I want to take my strong track record of getting real results to the U.S. Senate because the people of Delaware deserve leadership that represents their values," added Coons.
Castle, the likely Republican nominee, is Delaware's 9-term at-large congressman and a former 2-term governor of the state. With the younger Biden out of the race, and before Coon's announcement, political analysts considered the contest a good opportunity for the GOP to pick up a seat.
Tuesday, Vice President Biden predicted in a cable news television interview that Coons would "surprise the devil out of" election watchers if he ran.
Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement Wednesday that "Chris Coons has an impressive record of shaking-up government, cutting wasteful spending, and working with local businesses to create jobs. With Chris's entrance into the race, Delawareans will face a choice between a proven reformer who has created an engine of economic growth and a longtime Washington insider who has voted with the special interests."
It's a very different story from the other side of the aisle:
"As the last-minute choice of the Democrat establishment in Washington, Chris Coons represents nothing more than another loyal foot-soldier for the increasingly unpopular Democrat agenda of higher taxes, out-of-control spending, increasing deficits, and government-run health care," responded National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Colin Reed.
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