Latest Update News About Christine O Donnell, Christine O Donnell Wiki, Christine O Donnell For Senate, Christine O Donnell Married, Christine O Donnell Bio: Tea Party upstarts rock Delaware and New Hampshire. Mark McKinnon on a GOP establishment on the run, what voters want—and the coming Republican identity crisis.
Voters grabbed their pitchforks Tuesday night and came over the ramparts. The revolution has arrived. Republican primary voters Tuesday night in key contests in Delaware and New Hampshire and New York sent a clear message, in case anyone had missed it up until now: If you are part of the establishment, you better grab your goodies and get out of the castle while you can.
Tea Party upstart Christine O’Donnell upset Mike Castle in the Delaware GOP primary. In New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte, the establishment candidate, was battling for survival before being declared the chosen candidate over Ovide Lamontagne in the Senate race there. Voters in both places voted with their hearts and not their heads, with passion more than pragmatism—as the losing candidates were considered far more likely to win the general election.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (the Establishment) has now backed eight losing candidates. In other words, this grass-roots anti-establishment wave actually threatens the GOP’s chances of taking control of the Senate.
The attacks on O’Donnell were personal; she was “nuts.” The attacks on Castle were on his record; he was too liberal for some. The bitter GOP battle in Delaware for the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden was a doozy. But it was a proxy war between the Tea Party and establishment GOP writ large in this small state.
O’Donnell, the perceived outsider, ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2006 and 2008. In this race, she was backed by some in the Tea Party movement and by both former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who were attracted by her social and economic conservatism. Though she did not have the compelling personal bio of other welcome GOP upstarts like congressional candidates Joe Miller of Alaska, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah or Marco Rubio of Florida, O’Donnell’s more conservative platform positions appealed to those on the right wary of Castle’s commitment to the cause.
O’Donnell’s other major endorsements included The National Rifle Association, The Susan B. Anthony List and radio host Mark Levin. But with no public record and an imperfect and troubling personal record, the marketing consultant and activist became an easy target for fair and unfair personal attacks by the local Republican establishment and national conservative media.
As the mood in the country became less patient, Rep. Castle’s popularity dropped. A survey by Public Policy Polling last week showed O’Donnell leading Castle 47 percent to 44 percent for a dead heat. But in a hypothetical general election poll conducted over the past month, the uncontested Democratic candidate Chris Coons trailed Castle but led O’Donnell.
The sound and the fury in Delaware are not signs of a party in disarray — they are signs of an engaged electorate who want to make a statement. GOP voter turnout was much higher than expected. While a RINO head mounted on the wall may be a trophy, a RINO seated in a chair in the Senate could have helped make a Republican majority. But voters were unwilling to settle.
By electing O’Donnell, voters in Delaware proved the Tea Party is now more than a movement — it’s become the driving force and voice of Republican voters.
Delaware is undeniably a blue state. Though Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) won the GOP nomination easily, President Barack Obama won over 62 percent of the popular vote here in 2008. Registered Democrats still outnumber Republicans by roughly 329,000 to 179,000. And the state bird is even the Blue Hen Chicken – not an actual breed but a nod to the cock-fighting spirit of the state’s Revolutionary War heroes.