Posted: May 14, 2003
BEAU KNOWS POLITICS
Beau Biden is making his way in the family
business. Where he expects it to take him, he is not telling.
Biden spoke Tuesday evening to about 20
members of the Delaware Young Democrats, gathered at party
headquarters in Newport. From all appearances he was there to
discuss his role in the successful 2002 campaign of his father, but
the talk is that he is out and about because the next Biden campaign
in Delaware will be his own.
Beau Biden -- formally Joseph R. Biden III --
is 34. A former federal prosecutor in Philadelphia, he is newly
married and practicing law in Wilmington at the firm of Monzack &
Monaco. Whenever political speculation turns to the next election
for state attorney general in 2006, his name always pops up.
Not that Biden himself is saying. "I'm focused
on building my family and building my law practice," he said. "'06
is three years away."
Attorney General M. Jane Brady, a Republican,
will be up for a fourth term in 2006. If she runs and Biden does,
too, there would be a certain symmetry to it. Brady's first try for
office was a race against Joe Biden in 1990 when the senator was
going for his fourth term.
Interestingly, both Joe Biden and Jane Brady
were winged as they looked toward a possible fourth term. Biden was
coming off the meltdown of his campaign for the 1988 Democratic
presidential nomination, when charges of plagiarism and similar
foibles doomed him. Brady is coming off her worst showing for
attorney general, a 2002 win with only 48 percent of the vote and
further evidence that she is out of the Tonya Harding-Mike Tyson
school of campaigning.
Beau Biden brings to politics that well-known
name, the Biden smile and no reported sightings of the Biden temper,
if he has it at all. Painfully precise, he immediately corrected the
record when someone mentioned Tuesday evening that he had run his
father's campaign, pointing out it was Valerie Biden Owens, his aunt
and Joe's sister, who was in charge.
"I did not run it. My aunt would first go
after me, then after you," he said. "I helped my aunt."
Beau Biden has to be regarded as one of the
young Democratic guns who are on their way or would like to be. That
also includes Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr., Treasurer Jack A. Markell,
New Castle County Council President Christopher A. Coons and Matthew
P. Denn, the governor's legal counsel who has his sights set on the
2004 insurance commissioner's race.
At the core of Biden's talk Tuesday evening
was the reason so many Democrats are jostling for position -- and
without a comparable Republican lineup to go against them.
Biden displayed a map of northern New Castle
County depicting the arc of Brandywine Hundred, Greenville and Pike
Creek Valley as politically "persuadable" territory, populated by
ticket-splitters receptive to Democrats.
It is a mind-bending development. This is an
area that used to be reliably Republican, about as open to Democrats
as the Augusta National Golf Club is to women. They can come
occasionally as guests but ought not to try to make themselves at
It is a key reason why Thomas R. Carper, then
the Democratic governor, ousted Republican William V. Roth Jr. from
the U.S. Senate in 2000. It is also a key reason why political
observers increasingly consider Delaware to be a Democratic state,
instead of the swing state it has been.
Biden approvingly quoted Glenn C. Kenton, a
Republican strategist and ex-secretary of state, who recently said,
"We will not elect another statewide Republican who is not an
incumbent for a long time -- unless George Bush turns out to be the
next George Washington."
As Biden spoke, his brother Hunter showed up.
Robert Hunter Biden, who is a year younger at 33, is a lawyer with
the firm of Oldaker Biden & Belair in Washington. He previously
worked in the U.S. Commerce Department during the Clinton
Hunter Biden looked a lot like Valerie Biden
Owens keeping an eye on her brother-the-candidate. It is, after all,
the family business.
# # #
"I DO" IN DAGSBORO
The bride wore white, and the groom wore a
kilt, and they paraded into their wedding reception under a huge
party tent to the wails of a bagpiper leading the way.
The occasion was as much political as
matrimonial. The groom was David S. Swayze, a political playmaker
who is a lawyer and lobbyist, a Democrat who nevertheless was the
chief of staff for Republican Gov. Pierre S. du Pont. The bride was
Carolyn H. DePew, an administrator at Delaware Technical & Community
College with her own political credentials from her work as an aide
to Dale E. Wolf, a Republican lieutenant governor.
They were married Saturday at their vacation
home in Dagsboro, their connections as well as Swayze's knees on
display, as shown by clicking on a smuggled photograph
The guests included Supreme Court Justice
Myron T. Steele, regarded as likely to become the next chief
justice, along with Chancellor William B. Chandler III and Superior
Court President Judge Henry duPont Ridgely, the ranking judges on
Delaware's leading courts.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner was not there, but it
hardly mattered. Robert L. Byrd, Gary B. Patterson and Edward R.
"Ned" Davis, lobbyists who constitute a shadow Cabinet for the
Democratic governor, were.
Legislators were present, too. Prime among
them were Thurman G. Adams Jr., the Senate's Democratic president
pro tem, and Sen. Nancy W. Cook and Joseph G. DiPinto, the
Democratic and Republican tag team who co-chair the Joint Finance
Ridgely, a close friend, officiated at the
ceremony. It was an act vastly appreciated by one wedding-goer, who
could not help quipping, "As long as he's marrying people, he's not
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