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Christine O'Donnell, Tea Party Favorite, Stuns Mike Castle in Delaware

5 years ago
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Christine O'Donnell, an insurgent Tea Party candidate and Sarah Palin protege, stunned nine-term Rep. Mike Castle and the Republican Party establishment Tuesday night when she trounced the former two-term governor, 53 percent to 47 percent. Not only is the Delaware Senate seat seen as crucial for control of the Senate, it is also the seat formerly occupied by Vice President Joe Biden.

Castle addressed his supporters moments after the results came in. "The voters in the Republican primary have spoken and I respect that decision," he said. As his wife cried by his side, Castle said they had a long discussion about whether he should run run for Senate, and joked, "We'll have another discussion tonight about whether that was the right decision."

But the Castle loss was no laughing matter for national Republicans, who had heavily backed the moderate congressman throughout his candidacy. State Republicans had also pushed Castle strongly over O'Donnell, with party Chairman Tom Ross once warning that O'Donnell "could not be elected dog catcher."

Christine O'Donnell On Tuesday night, the National Republican Senatorial Committee put out a terse, one-sentence statement only congratulating O'Donnell on "a hard-fought campaign." Sources also indicated that the NRSC would not help O'Donnell fund her campaign in the fall.

Democrats, meanwhile, were thrilled with the O'Donnell victory, since they had been eager to face her instead of Castle in November. While O'Donnell is popular with conservative Republicans, the congressman had wide, bi-partisan appeal in the state where Democrats and independents outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.

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A Public Policy Poll taken over the weekend showed Chris Coons, the New Castle County executive and Democratic nominee, 26 points ahead of O'Donnell in a head-to-head match-up.

DNC chairman Tim Kaine said the O'Donnell victory is a sign of things to come for the GOP. "Today the Republican Party has shown just how far right it has moved."

In the weeks leading up to the election, O'Donnell rose steadily in the polls even as she endured a stream of withering attacks from fellow Republicans, including a Castle campaign radio ad that called her "a financial nightmare" because of her problematic personal finances, including a law suit filed by her college for $4,000 in unpaid tuition nearly 20 years after she graduated.

She responded to the ad on CBS News saying she had learned from her mistakes. "Of course in this economy I've fallen on hard times," she said. "But I worked hard. I sacrificed. I made the decision that I needed to make things right."

Over the weekend, O'Donnell's former campaign manager recorded a robocall for the Delaware Republican Party accusing her of using campaign funds to pay her rent and personal expenses while failing to pay staffers' salaries and of being a "professional candidate." O'Donnell has run for the Senate two times before, including once against then-Sen. Joe Biden.

Beyond the internal GOP fire, O'Donnell also took plenty of heat from media across the political spectrum. As MSNBC ran old footage of her denouncing masturbation in the 1990s, the conservative Weekly Standard reported on the details of a law suit O'Donnell filed against a former employer, alleging sexual discrimination and asking for nearly $7 million for "mental anguish" after she was fired from her job.

With so much noise surrounding her candidacy, GOP guru Karl Rove predicted Tuesday night what Democrats are hoping for: that O'Donnell will lose the general election in November when Democratic and independent voters get into the voting booths. "There's just a lot of nutty things she's been saying," Rove said in an appearance on Fox News. "This is not a race we're going to be able to win."

Castle is now the eighth candidate favored by the national Republican Party establishment to fall in a Senate primary this year. More conservative insurgents also knocked off moderates in Florida, Nevada, Kentucky and Colorado and incumbents in Utah, Alaska and Pennsylvania.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has backed all of the nominees to go down so far, downplayed the turmoil in his party in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday. "We'll get behind the nominees of the party," he said. "I'm confident I'll be the leader of a larger group than I am right now."

With chants of "Yes we can!" filling up the Dover, Delaware ballroom where she held her victory party, O'Donnell thanked Sarah Palin and the Tea Party groups that helped elect her and promised to unite with Republicans in Washington.

But she added, "Don't underestimate the power of 'we the people.'"
Filed Under: The Capitolist

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I'm a democrat but I know what it's like to not have a candidate you can really get behind. I feel bad for republicans in Delaware who are now in this position. The truth is, no matter how angry and right wing she may appear, if elected she will be in office for 6 years, and will have to move to the center to get anything done.

October 18 2010 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sigh! here we go! except that now instead of going too far to the left we'll be getting shoved too far to the right and more time wasted being paralyzed by partisan politics, meanwhile we just get tamped further and further into the hole. Americans agree on a lot more then they disagree on, why can't politicians do what they are supposed to do, which is represent US in DC instead of working on their own personal 'agendas' trying to turn this country into something that it is not? The whole thing is sickening. And ALL of us that are just trying to live our lives and keep our money without getting screwed at every turn, it's like they (politicians, right and left), just go and try to figure out how to get more of our paychecks while they themselves make themselves super rich.

October 12 2010 at 3:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Explain the four parties system please. The Democrats , a registered party The Republicans, a registered party The Independents, 1968 formed by Gov George C Wallace The Tea Party? Explain who and when founded please... Thank you....

October 04 2010 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope she wins ONLY because the establishments, all of them meaning the news media, the rubs and the dems, don't want her in. To me, that's a clear sign she is the right one for the job! REAL CHANGE

September 29 2010 at 11:59 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply


September 27 2010 at 12:03 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
George & Nancy

get educated and attend a TEA Party PATRIOT meeting. You will learn a lot about our founding fathers and the US Constitution. You will learn about the principles that make America great. This country is losing its direction. We will no longer be the great America if we allow too many anti americans onto her shores.

September 18 2010 at 8:34 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply


September 18 2010 at 11:54 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

“Thank you,” Mr. President, “Independent” voters have watched the last twenty-two months “Hoping” that “Change” would be good for America. Americans, 53%, voted you into office; you were going to turn our country away from war and make America a better place to live. We digested your positive message… of hope and change, even though health care was shoved down our throats. We believed your “Party” would create jobs; but instead they pushed the “cap and tax” agenda. We were tolerant as you delayed the closing of prisons at Guantanamo, you did not. Only “your” Party passed hundreds of billions of dollars of debt to our children and grandchildren, but they NEVER read the bill. These bills have yet to create any new sustainable jobs. You once said, that you were five days away from “Fundamentally changing America”…we regret being so naïve. As the November election approaches, many voters have lost homes, jobs, retirement, savings and their businesses. Many Americans are fearful their current jobs will not be there for them. You forced new government bureaucracies, restrictions and mandates on the private sector. You have ignored the dissenting majority of Americans; instead of listening… you have vilified them. You trample on American ideals, because your early childhood roots were not in this country. Your naivety supports “government solutions and socialist agendas”…even for “illegal” immigrants. Now, God fearing, gun toting, Americans are challenging your power. All races, religions and genders will vote and we thank you for bringing us together. We reject your vision to “Fundamentally change America” and we choose to stop you November 3rd. Independent, nonpartisan Americans will decide this election, not the established Party’s. We are taking back our power, “Thank you” Mr. President, we learned a valuable lesson from you; we are Americans not socialists.

September 15 2010 at 10:52 PM Report abuse +22 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dr4body's comment

You are sure behind in political news and updates. President Obama has accomplished more good in the short time he has been in office than most American President have in their whole term. You are right about bush accomplishing a lot. Yes, he paid off all his wealthy supportors, reversed all the good policies of Clinton and destroyed our Economy in the process. He also created a dumber America. Just look at the fools the Tea people are supporting in Election. They don't know anything about American History or our Constitution. They are dangerious with their gun toting. They are bully-outlaws.

September 24 2010 at 10:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I can't wait to find out that Tea Party candidates are just as corrupt and incompetent as the incumbents. Wasn't Brown a Tea Party choice? He didn't exactly live up to their expectations did he? As long as our elections are held like a popularity contest we will have the government we deserve.

September 15 2010 at 7:58 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

Why should I vote for a Republican who votes like a Democrat?...

September 15 2010 at 12:49 PM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply

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