After four decades in elective office, Congressman Mike Castle’s fate will be determined in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. A Public Policy Poll released on Sunday night has him running slightly behind conservative activist Christine O’Donnell. Castle was won 12 statewide elections and would not have a problem winning Vice President Joe Biden’s old Senate seat in a general election. However, he has to first survive the primary.
The Congressman is not a social conservative, but claims to be a fiscal conservative. He often refers to himself as a moderate, but right wing critics castigate him as a liberal Republican. They also say there is no difference between a liberal Republican and a liberal Democrat. Castle is not hiding from his four decades as a moderate, but strongly objects to being lumped in with liberal Democrats.
His campaign is emphasizing many aspects of his career which appeal to conservatives. As Governor, he cut income taxes three times, balanced eight state budgets and his business friendly policies created tens of thousands of new jobs. Castle had a high profile role on some of the conservative movements signature issues such as welfare reform, the Balanced Budget Act, and national security. He supports the U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and voted for the Patriot Act. He opposes the Barney Frank/Ron Paul bill to cut the Pentagon budget. He has a perfect 100 percent GOP support score on foreign policy, national security, trade and international economic issues. He not only supports key ethics reforms but he has been the author of many of them.
He says there is a vast difference between himself and Democratic nominee Chris Coons, the New Castle (Wilmington) County Executive. Coons has endorsed President Obama’s economic plan which includes massive tax hikes and a second Stimulus Bill, and the Congressman says “It is typical that Chris Coons would immediately rubber stamp the Obama administration as he repeatedly raised taxes, refused to rule out voting for higher taxes if elected to the Senate, and supported the first stimulus package that has failed to fulfill its promise of keeping unemployment below 8% or create long-term job growth.” Castle is responding to the right wing attacks by saying:
I am a fiscal conservative and I always have been. On Tuesday, Delaware Republicans will face a choice between my proven record of fighting higher taxes and out-of-control spending — or a perennial candidate who has personally failed to meet the basic standards of fiscal responsibility and has let Republicans down every time she has carried our banner.I am the only candidate in this race who will stand-up to the Democrats’ plan to impose the largest tax hike in American history on the middle class during the lame duck session. Raising taxes on anyone during a recession will kill jobs and block our path to economic recovery.This vote will be scheduled during the lame-duck session of Congress and before newly elected Members are sworn-in; however the winner of Delaware’s election will be seated immediately to fill the remainder of Vice President Biden’s unexpired Senate term. Now is the worst time to consider raising taxes on any American. With our country facing near double digit unemployment and an economy struggling through the worst downturn in decades, increasing taxes at any level will kill jobs and slow down our recovery. Now is the time when families and investors need stability, not more debt or higher taxes. Delawareans know that I am the only candidate in this race who has a proven record of opposing government spending and higher taxes, and this is a fight I will continue in the U.S. Senate.