Senator Edward E. (Ted) Kaufman had a long and unusual career with the Senate, having served for 22 years on the staff of Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and then succeeding him to spend two years as a United States senator from Delaware. Those experiences gave him a unique perspective on the Senate as an institution. When Biden entered the Senate in 1973, Kaufman joined his staff in the home state office. In 1976 Kaufman became Senator Biden’s chief of staff, commuting to Washington, D.C., regularly with the senator. Over the years, as Biden advanced in seniority on the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees, Kaufman became immersed in a multitude of issues, from Supreme Court nominations to matters of war and peace. In 1994 Kaufman retired from the Senate staff and took a variety of positions, including appointment to the Broadcasting Board of Governors and teaching a course on Congress at the Duke University School of Law.
On November 24, 2008, following Biden’s election to the vice presidency, Delaware governor Ruth Ann Minner announced that she was appointing Ted Kaufman to fill the vacancy created by Senator Biden’s resignation. Kaufman took the oath of office on January 15, 2009. In his oral history, Senator Kaufman recounts the ways in which the Senate operates, the relationships between senators, and the influence of civility and partisanship on the institution. He also discusses the rules and procedures of the Senate that were so much in contention during the 111th Congress.