Biden congratulates accused child rapist who withdrew from Delaware state Senate race

David Martosko Executive Editor
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There he goes again.

Vice President Joe Biden, fresh from a re-election campaign that featured gaffes and goofs galore, made what might be the more cringe-inducing blunder of the year on Nov. 19, sending a congratulatory letter to a Republican state Senate candidate who withdrew from his race in October.

Worse, Delaware’s Eric Bodenweiser didn’t just have a change of heart: He was indicted on 113 felony counts related to accusations he raped a boy 39 times between 1987 and 1990 — beginning when the victim, now in his 30s, was 13 years old.

The News Journal reproduced Biden’s cheerful letter to the accused pedophile in his home state.

“I encourage you to reflect on the extraordinary moment we’re living in … The President and I remain confident that with your help, America’s best days lie ahead,” Biden wrote.

After Bodenweiser withdrew his candidacy, citing “personal reasons,” former Georgetown, Del. Mayor Brian Pettyjohn launched a write-in campaign — which he won with 59.8 percent of the vote.

A court order before the Nov. 6 election granted the Republicans’ spot on the ballot to Pettyjohn. But Delaware’s computerized system, including the Commissioner of Elections website, was legally required to list Bodenweiser’s name as the Republican candidate, since he had originally been nominated.

The Delaware state government explained the odd turn of events in bright red letters at the top of the election results Web page.

“[V]oting machines show the name of Brian Pettyjohn … The Election Management System, however, still has the name of Eric Bodenweiser,” the notice read. “The machine votes reported here as Bodenweiser, therefore, are actually votes for Pettyjohn.”

In a statement reminiscent of convicted child rapist Jerry Sandusky’s history mentoring teens, Bodenweiser wrote in a published letter to the Coastal Point newspaper in August that he was “an active member of the Sussex County Bible Church, and I’m a dedicated husband, father and grandfather.”

“I volunteer as a mentor in a middle school, and I’ve mentored for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, as well,” he wrote.

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