Three Reasons Christine O’Donnell Might Actually Win
Posted on September 16, 2010
I got caught up in the moment Tuesday night, and expressed my disgust with the primary victory in Delaware of Christine O’Donnell.
I didn’t (and don’t) think she is qualified to be a United States Senator. I bought into the notion that Delaware is a traditionally blue state and that it required a moderate like Mike Castle to win. And I expressed, in fairly tough terms, how frustrated I was with conservative activists who seemingly would rather lose elections on purpose than have candidates that they agree with 60 percent of the time win.
My principle frustration has to do, though, with Christine O’Donnell. I might agree with her position on all of the big issues (I am pro-life, anti-tax increase, pro-spending cuts), but I still don’t think she has exhibited the character necessary to occupy a Senate office. I think you have to pay your bills, pay your taxes, pay your tuition, and generally be a good citizen who keeps your financial commitments to be qualified to be a United States Senator. O’Donnell has a spotty track record on all counts, from what I hear.
I disagree with Mike Castle on many of his positions and votes, but I think he is a good person and a great public servant. I think he voted wrong on Cap and Trade, and his efforts on the Disclose Act were wrong-headed and anti-Republican. So, I can see why conservatives wanted to vote against him. Believe me, I get it.
All that being said, the primary is over, and now we have to look at the election ahead of us. Here are four reasons, O’Donnell, despite all of her flaws, might very well win.
1) Her opponent: Chris Coons is terrible. He has been terrible when it comes to protecting the taxpayers and the fiscal integrity of the county that he currently runs. According to a Republican Senatorial analysis: “As New Castle County’s spending skyrocketed by 10 percent under Coons’ leadership, he shifted the burden for his irresponsibility to taxpayers with three massive property tax hikes of 5 percent, 17.5 percent and 25 percent respectively. In 2008, Fitch Ratings downgraded the county’s “rating outlook” from stable to negative because the county’s cash balances were decreasing under Coons’ reckless stewardship. As New Castle County’s spending skyrocketed by 10 percent under Coons’ leadership, he shifted the burden for his irresponsibility to taxpayers with three massive property tax hikes of 5 percent, 17.5 percent and 25 percent respectively. In 2008, Fitch Ratings downgraded the county’s “rating outlook” from stable to negative because the county’s cash balances were decreasing under Coons’ reckless stewardship.”
2) Her supporters: O’Donnell has become the newest media superstar and that has helped her big time get the money necessary to run a decent campaign. The NRSC changed course and gave her the maximum donation allowed under law, and most Republican Senators and Presidential candidates will follow suit. In fact, she reportedly raised more than $500,000 that day after her primary win, with some reports say she raised close to a million. That is a pretty impressive take for a woman who has no chance of winning.
3) Her State: Yes, Delaware has been a blue state, but it is not clear if that is because of the politicians or because of the voters themselves. Tom Carper, for example, is one of the most moderate Democrats out there. He is not from the Bernie Sanders school of Democrats, because he know he can’t be. And while Mike Castle has been a very moderate Republican, his moderation came not because he had to vote that way, but because, as a former Governor, he wanted to vote that way. Sure, Joe Biden had been unchallenged for a generation, but that doesn’t mean the State is deep blue. It just means that Biden had been around for a long time. Delaware has one big city (Wilmington) and the rest is as rural as Alabama. The rural voters, given the choice, will vote like Alabamans. And as they showed in this election, they are motivated to vote, more so than the moderates.
4) The Times: This is one of those elections where no incumbent is safe, and nobody with a record of raising taxes and raising spending is the favorite. This midterm election is a referendum on President Obama, and those who dislike him are much more likely to come out to vote. As Dick Morris points out in The Hill today, because fiscal issues are front and center in this election, conservatives are much more likely to do better, because people trust conservatives not to raise their taxes or cut spending.
O’Donnell has a real shot at winning this thing. I don’t know if she will, given her flaws as a candidate, but I do know that my instant analysis that this seat was a goner was hasty and premature. This ain’t over till it’s over. And this year, who knows what will happen.