I met Delaware blogger Chris Slavens from Slavens Says at BlogCon in Washington DC earlier this month. Chris contributed this post on the senate race everyone is watching between Christine O’Donnell and the Bearded Marxist.
Castle write-in campaign would mean victory for Coons
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In the days leading up to Delaware’s primary election, I commented to more than one individual, “For Mike Castle to lose would be like the sky falling.” It was difficult to imagine; Castle has never lost an election in my state since he first ran for State Representative in 1966. He has served in nearly every other elected office since, and was considered a shoo-in when he announced his candidacy for the Senate seat formerly held by Vice President Biden.
On September 14, the sky fell. The impossible happened. The Castle crumbled, booted into early retirement by Christine O’Donnell, a conservative Republican who was virtually unknown outside of the First State, and not well-liked by her own party’s leadership. GOP State Chairman Tom Ross’s pre-election line sums up the establishment’s attitude towards O’Donnell: “She could not be elected dog catcher.”
To call O’Donnell’s victory an upset would be the understatement of the decade; the local GOP has been rocked to its core, and Delaware politics will never be quite the same. Yet, despite O’Donnell’s impressive 6% margin of victory, questions remain about how much support she can expect from the party establishment that she took on and defeated. Comments about dog catchers aside, Ross grudgingly announced that the party supports her, though only after a number of prominent conservatives called for his resignation. Castle, however, refuses to endorse O’Donnell, and there has been some speculation about what role he will play in the remainder of this race. Will he remain neutral? Will he endorse the Democratic candidate, self-described Marxist Chris Coons? Or will he run a write-in campaign, like Lisa Murkowski in Alaska?
Asked about the possibility of a write-in run, Castle responded, “I will consider it right up until the final moment but I’m not headed in that direction right now.” The final moment is September 30, the deadline for Castle to officially declare his write-in candidacy, if he chooses to do so.
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Even with statewide name recognition and a plump campaign account, Castle has no chance of winning a write-in campaign. It’s simply not going to happen. O’Donnell ran a write-in campaign for the same office in 2006, and received 4.3% of the vote, and it is conceivable that Castle could receive at least twice that, but the result would be inevitable:
1. Castle would not win.
2. Neither would O’Donnell.
Some O’Donnell supporters have argued that Castle would attract support from moderate Democrats, and cause Coons to lose, but this is very unlikely. True, 53% of Republicans favored O’Donnell in the primary, but of the remaining 47%, many are disgruntled enough to write in Castle’s name if presented with the opportunity. Independents are expected to support O’Donnell, but this is a blue state; she cannot afford to lose the support of both moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats. If Castle runs a write-in campaign, Coons will win the election, and Castle knows it.
Perhaps it would give Castle some small amount of personal satisfaction to cause O’Donnell to lose to Coons, but it would also place a black mark on his already tarnished record. The voters have spoken, and it is time for him to retire. No political games, no write-in campaign, and certainly no endorsing of Democratic candidates — getting out of the way, and allowing O’Donnell to succeed or fail without outside interference, is simply the right thing to do.
The real question is who will Rove and Krauthammer bash now if Castle enters the race?