Christine O’Donnell is challenging Rep. Mike Castle in the September 14th Delaware Republican primary for the U.S. Senate nomination. Her candidacy has received favorable attention from Tea Party groups across the nation, and a new poll shows her within 5 points of Castle. The Tea Party Express which spent over $600,000 promoting Senate candidates Sharron Angle (R-NV) and Joe Miller (R-AK) is now threatening to do the same thing in Delaware, but informed sources are skeptical of the claim. They have spent $46,000 on an initial ad buy and their spending could reach $250,000. This is a real boost to her campaign but at the same time O’Donnell is receiving increased media scrutiny.
In fact, it now appears the O’Donnell campaign is imploding in some respects. An August Rasmussen poll has Castle leading Chris Coons (D) 49% to 37%, while O’Donnell was trailing Coons 36% to 46%. Congressman Castle is the most liberal Republican running this year, and Delaware is a Blue State. Castle was elected to the House in 1992 and previously served as Governor. If Castle is nominated he would easily capture this seat which was held by Vice President Joe Biden for almost 35 years. Democrat Coons is the New Castle (Wilmington) County Executive.
O’Donnell has been endorsed by the Gun Owners of America and the Family Research Council, but concerns have now led some prominent conservatives to reexamine their previous support of her candidacy. The Republican website Red State this morning strongly criticized O’Donnell by saying:
What has ultimately set me off is the “Mike Castle is gay” stuff. The failure of the O’Donnell campaign to deal swiftly with this tells me all I need to know. . . The launch day spectacular at Liberty.com was to announce that Mike Castle is having a gay affair on his wife with no proof whatsoever. When it was pointed out that all the people behind the accusation were O’Donnell campaign staffers, the response was “not any more.” After a year of direct and indirect advocacy for Christine O’Donnell, it is pretty doggone hard to now stand apart and say “Nope, not campaign related.” Baloney. . . It’s amateur hour. . . I cannot bring myself to spend an ounce of energy more to help [Christine O’Donnell] when there are other candidates out there with better chances who need our help.
Today’s National Review is also tough on O’Donnell and notes:
A candidate who doesn’t like the questions she’s being asked should always tell the host that there are rumors he’s taking bribes from the other campaign. When she says she won two out of three counties, no one should acknowledge that she lost both, one by 14 percentage points. . . Looking at that Weekly Standard interview…
Asked about a financial disclosure showing that O’Donnell only had $5,800 of earned income last year, O’Donnell told me that she actually made more but didn’t have to and wouldn’t disclose how much. “The only thing they can use against me is that I’m not a multi-millionaire,” said O’Donnell.
“The O’Donnell campaign’s response to Rasmussen polls showing her losing to the Democrat quite badly: ’O’Donnell’s campaign manager Matt Moran thinks that this poll isn’t accurate, calling it “more of a push poll.” “Scott Rasmussen has to pay his bills,” says Moran. “We understand that the RNC and NRSC have long tentacles.”’ I see. You’re suggesting RNC and NRSC pressure prompted Scott Rasmussen to change hisresults. If O’Donnell is losing, it must mean the numbers have been fudged.”
The Chairman of the Delaware Republican Party, Tom Ross, told The Daily Caller that while Castle is quite moderate, he has the best chance to win, which will help the conservative cause in the long run:
Castle is pretty moderate on some issues, but if you look at polling in Delaware you see that it is one of the most liberal to moderate states,” Ross said. “The mot important vote Castle is ever going to cast, in my estimation, is for leadership. In order for conservatives like DeMint to be heads of committees we are going to need to win some seats in the northeast to ensure that people with a more conservative outlook have a bigger voice.. .
“O’Donnell has a lot of baggage that makes her candidacy unviable. She is just not taken seriously among even most conservatives here in the state. And I consider myself a conservative,” he said. “But it goes all the way back to Christine working for the conservative ISI [Intercollegiate Studies Institute] here in Delaware and then suing them after they dismissed her.
Virtually none of her contributors in this run are repeat donors. Last quarter she only had five contributors from the state of Delaware. We have first time candidates for state rep that do better than that….Christine would just be a lot better focusing on Christine and getting herself in order.
Correction: Seventeen years after she attended the school and two weeks before the Republican primary, Christine O’Donnell has officially earned her college degree. She was awarded her bachelor of arts degree in English literature on Wednesday from Fairleigh Dickinson University.