I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Delaware politics lately because Maryland is so busy right now.
But when a leading national Tea Party organization takes notice of a particular candidate, that is pretty big news. So it was yesterday when I got this notice from the TEA Party Express endorsing GOP Senate challenger Christine O’Donnell.
The Tea Party Express is pleased to announce its endorsement of Christine O’Donnell for U.S. Senate in Delaware.
O’Donnell is battling liberal Republican Congressman Mike Castle for the GOP nomination.
“Christine O’Donnell has established a reputation as a strong voice for conservative constitutionalist principles consistent with the ideals of the tea party movement,” said Amy Kremer, Chairman of the Tea Party Express and one of the founding activists of the modern tea party movement.
In contrast, Mike Castle has proven himself to be one of the most liberal establishment Republicans who has repeatedly turned against conservatives and those in the tea party movement.
“We’re so excited to see the strength behind Christine O’Donnell’s campaign,” said Joe Wierzbicki, Coordinator for the Tea Party Express.
“We long ago announced our intention to hold Mike Castle accountable for his failed record in Congress, and now we have an excellent shot to make sure he is defeated by a solid conservative candidate,” Wierzbicki said.
A recent Rasmussen Reports poll shows O’Donnell polling ahead of Democrat candidate, Chris Coons by a 41%-39% margin.
During the Tea Party Express’ first national bus tour, Wierzbicki declared to CNN and other media outlets that Castle was one of the worst-offenders who needed to be defeated by the tea party movement.
One specialty of the TEA Party Express is raising money. They count among their successes Nevada Senate challenger Sharron Angle, for whom they spent $550,000 on her behalf, and Scott Brown of Massachusetts, where the TEA Party Express spent $350,000. Other candidates they claim as political scalps include Utah Senator Bob Bennett, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia Congressman Allan Mollohan. They also brag about scaring Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak out of a re-election bid with their threat to raise $250,000 against him.
But the TEA Party Express support is derived from that recent Rasmussen Poll cited, which had O’Donnell leading Coons and putting the lie to establishment First State Republicans who claim only Castle can win the “Biden seat.”
Considering the vast difference in resources between the two GOP hopefuls (Castle has $2.6 million on hand compared to just a shade under $70,000 for O’Donnell) it’s clear that Christine has a big hill to climb. Luckily, Delaware is a small state and the media dynamics are unique because Delaware shares television markets with adjacent states which are also busy with spirited electoral races. This makes retail campaigning a bit more effective. (It’s also worth pointing out that Democrat Chris Coons has about $950,000 on hand, which in terms of funding means he’s an easier target than Castle.) Putting national resources behind her may make O’Donnell enough of a candidate to turn that seat over to a conservative Republican – only time will tell.
And if we can get a close-by TEA Party Express 4 stop out of it I’ll be a happy man.