I was watching with some interest last night as the races in DE, NH, and a couple of other places got reported and called. Delaware’s GOP primary was of particular interest because a solid conservative with the backing of the Tea Party organizations in DE was running against a longtime party fixture whose decisions over the past couple of years have certainly left me cold. I was curious to see whether DE’s Republicans would go with the less conservative but more known quantity or put their principles first. O’Donnell won the primary 53-47%, a solid, convincing margin.
The national GOP has had serious revenue-generation problems over the last year. In spite of a massive uprising of discontent regarding the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda and the Democrats’ mishandling of the economic response, they can’t seem to convert that clear disapproval into donations. If you’ve ever questioned why that is, you may read this report of their response to O’Donnell’s victory and wonder no more:
Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell, a perennial candidate with no government experience, soundly defeated veteran politician Mike Castle for the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware Tuesday — posing a major upset to the political establishment on the last big day of primaries.
With all precincts reporting, O’Donnell beat Castle 53-47 percent.
O’Donnell’s win stands as the latest sign of Tea Party strength but also the latest test of whether that movement helps or hinders the Republican Party, with an open seat and perhaps a GOP Senate majority at stake.
Party fractures on full display, Republican aides told Fox News Tuesday that O’Donnell would not be getting national fundraising support. State party leaders had warned that O’Donnell cannot compete against Democrat Chris Coons and vigorously backed Castle, a nine-term congressman and former governor.
That snarling little rejoinder that they just wouldn’t provide any fundraising support drew me up short and my eyebrows shot up pretty high. I believe my exact comment when I heard of this was, “I beg your pardon?” After years of supporting candidates wearing an elephant on their lapel but voting along with liberal Democrats on program after program, the national GOP is going to refuse to support someone whose stances and values more closely align with Republicans as a whole than the guy she beat? I’m already leery of sending money in to the national GOP because they’re sending my cash to Olympia Snowe, et al., but this was going to seal it for me, permanently. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air captured my sense of this pretty well:
They [national GOP] stuck with a liberal, establishment candidate in a cycle where liberals and establishment figures are uniquely unpopular. Had the Republican leadership been in touch with Delaware Republican voters, they might have found a more suitable candidate for the popular mood, and would not have had to deal with Christine O’Donnell and her outsider bid. They have no one to blame but themselves.
Instead of pouting, Republican leaders in Delaware and around the country need to unite around the nominee, who was chosen by the Republicans in Delaware. Had Castle won the nomination, they would have demanded unity themselves, and rightly so. If they want to continue to issue snarky, anonymous asides and in essence take their ball and go home, don’t expect the electorate to follow them into battle in the future. Rarely have I seen such childishness from the supposed leaders of a political establishment, who set the very rules and customs they now want to ignore because they just got embarrassed on a national stage.
Grow up, shut up, and get to work.
Indeed. After a night to absorb commentary like that and the avalanche of Republicans like me who left comments everywhere it was being reported that they would never send another check into the NRSC, choosing to send our money directly to the candidates we support, it appears that the GOP had a change of heart.
In a clear sign of the grassroots pressure on Republican leaders, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn just put out a statement embracing Christine O’Donnell — a dramatic contrast with his group’s curt response last night — and writing her a big check.
Read Sen. Cornyn’s statement here but it comes down to this: Cornyn and the NRSC supports O’Donnell in her campaign and the NRSC will send a check for the maximum contribution allowed by law, just as they would have done for Castle had he won the primary. That’s a good thing and I commend Senator Cornyn for his swift action on this. Calls for unity and support of the winner would have been loud and long had Castle won and they need to be just as loud for O’Donnell. Well done, Senator.