Latest Update News About Delaware Secretary Of State, Primary Results, Delaware Online, Mike Castle, Chase Website Problems: It’s tea time in America. Conservative Christine O’Donnell pulled off a stunning upset over nine-term Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware Tuesday, propelled by tea party activists into a November showdown with Democrat Chris Coons.
After a primary season shaped by economic pain and exasperated voters, the grass-roots, anti-establishment movement can claim wins in at least seven GOP Senate races, a handful of Republican gubernatorial contests and dozens of House primary campaigns, and it influenced many others.
In the fight for New Hampshire’s Republican Senate nomination, a second insurgent trailed in vote counting that was still going on Wednesday. After lagging in early returns, former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte moved ahead of Ovide Lamontagne with a lead of roughly 1,000 votes, with results tallied from 85 percent of precincts. Ayotte was backed by establishment Republicans and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; Lamontagne, a former chairman of the state Board of Education, campaigned with the support of tea party activists.
In New York, tea party ally Carl Paladino dealt another shock to the GOP establishment, defeating former Rep. Rick Lazio in the race for the party’s nomination for governor. Paladino will face state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the prohibitive favorite.
The Delaware outcome reflected the energy and enthusiasm of the tea partiers, but O’Donnell also enters the race against Coons as an underdog, putting GOP control of the Senate further out of reach. Former George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove told Fox News Channel, “This is not a race we’re going to be able to win.”
Speaking at an Elks Lodge in Dover, Del., O’Donnell thanked Sarah Palin for her endorsement as well as the Tea Party Express, a California political committee that spent at least $237,000 to help her defeat Castle, a moderate and a fixture in Delaware politics for a generation.
“Never underestimate the power of ‘We the People,'” said O’Donnell, who predicted the general election campaign would focus on jobs and rising national debt. “‘We the People’ will have our voice heard once again in Washington, D.C.”
Her victory set off a round of accusations and fingerpointing inside and outside the GOP.
Republican Party officials who saw Castle as their only hope for winning the Delaware seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden made clear they will not provide funding for O’Donnell in the general election. The Republican state chairman, Tom Ross, has said O’Donnell “could not be elected dogcatcher,” and records surfaced during the campaign showing that the IRS had once slapped a lien against her and that her house had been headed for foreclosure. She also claimed – falsely – to have carried two of the state’s counties in a race against Biden six years ago.