Ignoring conventional wisdom and turning out in record numbers, primary voters in Delaware chose Christine O’Donnell as their candidate for U.S. Senate on Tuesday by a 53%-46% margin. Endorsed by Governor Sarah Palin, Senator Jim DeMint, and Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, O’Donnell was also endorsed by the Tea Party Express, which donated $ 250,000 to her campaign.
Republican leaders, who declared O’Donnell “unelectable” and who insist that she is unable to win in November, seem slow to grasp the fact that voters prefer principled representation – even if it means the loss of a seat. Just how “Republican” is Representative Mike Castle? When it comes to conservative rankings, Club for Growth lists Castle as the most liberal Republican in the entire 175+ member caucus. The Delaware Congressman has received an “F” from the NRA and a “0” from National Right to Life. And yet the Republican elites wanted him back.
Clearly voters in Delaware, no doubt inspired by upsets in Alaska and Nevada, have decided that the GOP establishment has not been listening. Representative Castle is the 7th incumbent Republican to be defeated during this tumultuous primary season.
During O’Donnell’s victory speech on Tuesday night, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), led by Texas Senator John Cornyn, issued a press release stating that it would not be providing support to O’Donnell’s campaign. White House alum and GOP strategist Karl Rove, appearing on FoxNews’ The Sean Hannity Show, declared O’Donnell’s campaign a lost cause. Senator Castle’s campaign also has declined to support O’Donnell in November.
In an appearance on Fox and Friends on Wednesday morning, Ms. O’Donnell promised to work hard to earn the support of Reagan Democrats and Independents to counter the “Obama Republicans.”
In an abrupt about-face on Wednesday, the NRSC pledged its support to O’Donnell along with a $ 42,000 campaign contribution. This race will, no doubt, garner national attention from now until Election Day. Can a small-government, tea-party-funded, outside-the-establishment, conservative Republican win in a traditionally blue state? According to Karl Rove, the answer is a resounding “No.” Stay tuned.