2008 United States Senate election in Delaware

The 2008 United States Senate election in Delaware was held on November 4, 2008. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Biden won re-election to a seventh term and won the Vice Presidency of the United States on the same day. Biden took his oath of office in the Senate chamber with the rest of his colleagues on January 3, 2009,[1] but resigned his seat on January 15, 2009, and assumed the Vice Presidency five days later.

2008 United States Senate election in Delaware

← 2002 November 4, 2008 2010 (special) →
  Joe Biden, official photo portrait, 111th Congress.jpg Christine O'Donnell by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Nominee Joe Biden Christine O'Donnell
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 257,539 140,595
Percentage 64.7% 35.3%

2008 United States Senate election in Delaware results map by county.svg
County results
Biden:      50–60%      70–80%

U.S. senator before election

Joe Biden

Elected U.S. Senator

Joe Biden


The candidates were:[2]




After ending his 2008 presidential bid in January 2008, Biden focused instead on running for a seventh Senate term. He was unopposed within his party.[3]

O'Donnell faced businessman Tim Smith at the Republican state party convention and won with more than 60 percent of the delegate vote.[4]

On August 23, 2008, Democratic Party presidential nominee Barack Obama announced that he had selected Biden to serve as his vice presidential candidate.[5] Under Delaware law, Biden could run simultaneously for both his Senate seat and for Vice President, which he decided to do.[6][7]

The statewide party primary elections were held September 9, 2008.[8] O'Donnell was uncontested in the Republican primary, as was Biden in the Democratic primary.[3]

O'Donnell tried to make an issue of Biden's dual campaigns, claiming that serving his constituents was not important to him, and criticized his unwillingness to participate in debates and candidate forums.[9] Nevertheless, she was heavily outspent by Biden and her campaign failed to gain traction. Her campaign ended with $23,000 in debt.[10]

Minutes after the polls closed on November 4, NBC called the race for Biden, with other news organizations soon following.[11]


Source Ranking As of
The Cook Political Report[12] Safe D October 23, 2008
CQ Politics[13] Safe D October 31, 2008
Rothenberg Political Report[14] Safe D November 2, 2008


Poll Source Date Joe
Biden (D)
O'Donnell (R)
Survey USA September 22–23, 2008 64% 32%
West Chester University/WHYY October 6–8, 2008 65% 29%
Survey USA October 27–28, 2008 66% 32%


United States Senate election in Delaware, 2008[15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Biden (incumbent) 257,539 64.69% +6.47%
Republican Christine O'Donnell 140,595 35.31% -5.49%
Majority 116,944 29.37% +11.96%
Turnout 398,134
Democratic hold Swing

Subsequent eventsEdit

After being sworn in on 6 January, Biden resigned as senator on 15 January in order to become vice president on 20 January. The governor of Delaware appointed Ted Kaufman (D) to fill the vacant seat, and Chris Coons (D) was elected in the 2010 special election.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Levi, Michelle (January 6, 2009). "Biden Sworn In (As a Senator)". CBS News. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  2. ^ elections.delaware.gov
  3. ^ a b Giroux, Greg (September 10, 2008). "Franken Primary Win One of Many Key Results From Tuesday's Primaries". CQ Today Online News. Archived from the original on September 12, 2008. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
  4. ^ NPR and NewHour staff (September 18, 2008). "Joseph Biden (D) is seeking a seventh term". NPR and NewsHour 2008 Election Map US Senate:Delaware. PBS. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  5. ^ Silverstein, Stuart and Johanna Neuman (August 23, 2008). "Joe Biden is Obama's running mate". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  6. ^ "Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr." Archived October 31, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, CQ Politics
  7. ^ Chase, Randall (August 24, 2008). "Biden Wages 2 Campaigns At Once". Associated Press. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  8. ^ Calendar of Election Events Archived August 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Delaware Commissioner of Elections
  9. ^ Libit, Daniel (October 4, 2008). "Joe Biden's other female foe". The Politico. Retrieved November 1, 2008.
  10. ^ Gibson, Ginger (March 20, 2010). "Delaware politics: O'Donnell faces campaign debt, back-tax issues". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  11. ^ Nuckols, Ben (November 4, 2008). "Biden wins 7th Senate term but may not serve". Associated Press. Retrieved November 4, 2008.[dead link]
  12. ^ "2008 Senate Race ratings for October 23, 2008". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  13. ^ Race Ratings Chart: Senate Archived October 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine CQ Politics
  14. ^ "2008 Senate ratings". Inside Elections. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  15. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2008/2008Stat.htm#stateDE

External linksEdit