Gov. Ruth Ann Minner announced Monday afternoon that she will appoint Edward E. “Ted” Kaufman to succeed Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner pulled a surprise out of her hat Monday afternoon with the news she will appoint Edward E. “Ted” Kaufman to succeed Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Kaufman is co-chair of Biden’s vice presidential transition team and a member of the advisory board of the Obama-Biden transition project.
“I believe Ted Kaufman meets every test I set for this appointment,” Minner said. “I have known him for more than 30 years and he has superb qualifications. He has a proven record of putting the interests of Delaware first. He shares Delaware’s values. His political views are close to Sen. Biden’s, and he doesn’t need any on-the-job training. He’ll be an effective senator for Delaware from day one.”
Kaufman will take up his new duties in early to mid-January, following Biden’s eventual resignation from the Senate. His term will last until 2010, when a general election will be held to complete the remainder of Biden’s six-year term.
During the press conference announcing Kaufman’s appointment, Minner said Biden first will be sworn in to a seventh term as Delaware’s senator on Jan. 6, but will resign shortly afterward. He will be sworn in as vice president Jan. 20.
Kaufman is senior adviser to Biden on the Obama-Biden presidential campaign and held a senior position in all of Biden’s federal campaigns. He operated Public Strategies, a political and management consulting firm based in Wilmington, from 1995 through 2008. He has been a senior lecturing fellow at the Duke University of Law since 1991 and in 1995 he was appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be a charter member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
He was on Biden’s U.S. Senate staff from 1973 to 1994, serving for 19 years as chief of staff. From 1997 to 2001 he was the Democratic National Committeeperson for Delaware. He previously worked for DuPont in a variety of finance, technical and marketing positions. He has a BSME from Duke University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
In a prepared statement, Biden praised Minner’s choice.
“There is no one who knows more about how the United States Senate works and no one who is more ready to do this job for Delaware than Ted Kaufman,” Sen. Biden said. Biden also addressed speculation Minner had considered selecting his son, Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, to fill the seat.
“But Beau has made it clear from the moment he entered public life that any office he sought, he would earn on his own,” Biden said.
The younger Biden had issued a statement earlier this month that he did not wish Minner to appoint him to the seat.
In the Senate, Kaufmann will work with Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) who now becomes the state’s senior senator, and Rep. Mike Castle (R-Delaware), Carper and Biden often have talked about how they work together despite party labels.
That attitude came through with Castle’s statement upon the news of Kaufman’s pending appointment.
“As a long time confidant and chief of staff to Sen. Biden, Ted has the expertise to allow for a very smooth transition and the ability to serve Delawareans with distinction,” he said. “In addition, I will make it a priority to work with Ted and his staff to make sure the needs of Delawareans come first.”
“It’s hard to imagine anyone better prepared that Ted Kaufman to serve in this role until the next election,” Carper said, also in a prepared statement. “I’ve been privileged to know and work closely with Ted for a quarter of a century. He is one terrific human being.”