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Beau Biden exit: another blow for Democrats in midterms

Beau Biden, son of the vice president, announced Monday he won't run for the Senate. Every departure of a strong Democrat from the fall midterms takes the GOP one step closer to big gains.

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For Republicans, two more pieces of the Big Win scenario for November have fallen into place. Beau Biden, the Democratic attorney general of Delaware and son of the vice president, announced Monday he’s not running for the Senate. And seven-term Rep. Marion Berry of Arkansas, a conservative Democrat in a red state, announced he is retiring.

Both decisions are a big blow to the Democrats. In Delaware, Mr. Biden was seen as the only Democrat with a shot at holding onto the seat held by his father until last January. In Arkansas, Congressman Berry’s retirement – the 12th by a House Democrat so far this cycle – makes that seat ripe for Republican takeover.

Every departure of a strong Democrat from the race this fall takes the Republicans one step closer to big gains in November. If the Obama White House keeps struggling – and unemployment remains high – there’s an outside shot that the Republicans could take over the House, political analysts say. The Senate is an even bigger throw, with the Democrats enjoying a 59-41 majority, but the Republican victory in Massachusetts last week is encouraging other Republicans to consider running against presumably safe Democrats.

As the number of competitive races grows, the Democrats’ sure-thing majority looks slightly less sure.

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