Delaware Lt. Gov. Matt Denn has announced plans to run for state attorney general.

Acting only days after current Attorney General Beau Biden announced a decision not to seek re-election, Lt. Gov. Matt Denn on Monday said he would be running to replace Biden when elections are held in November.

Denn, 48, said Biden’s decision to run for governor in 2016 prompted his decision. The announcement came as a complete surprise, he added.

“I had no reason to believe before Thursday that Beau would not be our candidate for attorney general,” Denn said Tuesday afternoon.

The decision was not an easy one.

“I am proud of the work I have done as Delaware's lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner, working to help small businesses, improve our schools, protect consumers and to look out for Delaware's children, and I hope that the state is better for my time in those offices,” he said in announcing his decision to run.

The state’s top law enforcement official must be someone with the judgment, impartiality and will to prosecute and punish people who violate the law, Denn said. That individual also must have compassion, respect for all and a vision to prevent crimes from occurring, he said.

“I believe that I possess these traits. That's why I filed the necessary papers this morning to be the Democratic candidate for attorney general of Delaware in 2014.”

Denn disagrees with some assertions that one needs experience as a prosecutor to be a successful attorney general.

“I think that anyone running that office, given the extraordinary number of cases being processed, has to rely on front-line prosecutors who are very good at making judgments and who are doing their jobs well,” he said.

“There are judgment calls to be made, and I’m very prepared to make those calls.

“There are management issues that need to be taken on when you’re talking about a staff of more than 400 people,” he added. “I have experience with that as insurance commissioner.”

If elected, Denn would resign his position as lieutenant governor; his current term ends in 2016.

The lieutenant governor said he spoke to Gov. Jack Markell on Thursday.

“He gave me some very good advice about what I should consider − first and foremost, whether I would do a good job and would add something to the office if elected,” Denn said. “The governor left town before I made my final decision to run, but I spoke to him today and he is very enthusiastic about my campaign. 

“I will continue serving as lieutenant governor while I am running for attorney general,” he added. “I am working on some projects involving children and small business that are very important to me and that I intend to see through to completion.”

Denn said he would be working on plans for the office as the campaign unfolds.

If elected, he said, “. . . my top priority will be helping the state deal with its unacceptably high crime rate.”

Denn holds a law degree from Yale University, and has nine years of private practice law experience. He spent two years representing low income clients after earning his degree and two years as legal advisor to former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner before being elected insurance commissioner in 2005.