Tales from the Trail

Castle vs. O’Donnell

September 14, 2010

USA-ELECTION/The fate of another Republican lawmaker lies in the balance Tuesday in tiny Delaware, where the insurgent Tea Party movement is hoping to pull off another big primary  upset.

This time the target is Michael Castle, a nine-term Congressman who is pursuing the  Republican Senate nomination. The GOP establishment is behind Castle, a former governor and popular moderate (and said to be a direct descendant of  Benjamin Franklin) in a race Delawareonline.com reports  “hinges on character.”

Challenger Christine O’Donnell, a marketing consultant and little-known conservative, hadn’t been considered much of a threat — until she picked up support from the Tea Party Express and endorsements from Tea Party favorites former Alaska governor  Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

And we learn on CNN’s  Politics blog that O’Donnell says she’d love to land the endorsement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, too. “I admire Hillary Clinton,” O’Donnell said. “When I saw her presidential ads I said: ‘You go girl.’”

Tom Ross, chairman of the Republican Party of Delaware is not too happy about the outsider interest in the First State race. Ross sounds off in a Washington Post article and questions their goal.

“It is just unbelievable that you would have folks from out of state who know nothing about Delaware, nothing about Christine O’Donnell and nothing about the dynamics of this state to come in and associate themselves with this person,” said Ross, one of O’Donnell’s most outspoken critics.

Team O’Donnell is hoping for a repeat of what happened in Alaska, where Tea Party and Palin-backed newcomer attorney Joe Miller  toppled incumbent  Senator Lisa Murkowski in that state’s Republican Senate primary. Tea Party favorites also have ousted Republican incumbents in primaries in Kansas and Nevada.

Whoever wins the Republican nomination in Delaware will face Democrat Chris Coons in November to fill the seat formerly held by Vice President Joe Biden.

It’s primary day in several other states Tuesday, including New York, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

Photo credit: Reuters/Tim Shaffer (three people crowd in a voting booth in Delaware in 2008 presidential election)

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