No other Democrat wanted to run against Boggs besides Biden, a New Castle County Councilman. Biden's campaign had virtually no money and was given no chance of winning. It was managed by his sister Valerie Biden Owens (who would go on to manage his future campaigns as well) and staffed by other members of his family, and relied upon handed-out newsprint position papers. Biden did receive some assistance from the AFL-CIO and Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell. Biden's campaign issues focused on withdrawal from Vietnam, the environment, civil rights, mass transit, more equitable taxation, health care, the public's dissatisfaction with politics-as-usual, and "change".
During the summer Biden trailed by almost 30 percentage points, but his energy level, his attractive young family, and his ability to connect with voters' emotions gave the surging Biden an advantage over the ready-to-retire Boggs. Biden won the November 7, 1972 election in an upset by a margin of 3,162 votes.
At the time of the election Biden was a little less than 30 years old; age 30 is a constitutional requirement for the U.S. Senate, and he reached that on November 20, in time for the Senate term beginning January 3. After his election he became the sixth-youngest Senator in history.