Tuesday is Primary Day in many states across the country and we shall be studying many races to try to evaluate the impact of the Tea Party Movement on mainstream GOP and on the upcoming November elections. In many ways, this post is a continuation of yesterday’s essay about the billionaire Koch brothers and their influence on conservative American politics because of their very deep financial pockets.
The most intriguing election to watch is the one in Delaware for the Republican Senate candidacy. That spot is Joe Biden’s old seat which he won again in 2008, but gave up to assume the Vice Presidency. Ted Kaufman was appointed and has ably represented Delaware for the last two years. When Kaufman was appointed, he vowed not to run again in 2010. (It’s a shame. He’s been a strong liberal voice.)
All the pundits expected that the Republican nominee for that seat would be Mike Castle, a well-known and popular Delaware political figure who had been a term-limited, two-term Governor of Delaware and currently is a nine-term Congressman. However, into the Republican political mix stepped Tea Partier Christine McDonnell. Ahem.
Running for the Senate from Delaware has become almost a vocation for McDonnell. In fact, she has been doing it every two years since 2006. [Here] She first tried running in 2006 against incumbent Democratic Senator Thomas Carper. She came in third in the Republican primary, gaining only 17% of the votes behind Jan Ting who won the nomination and Michael Protack, who came in second. But that didn’t stop our Christine, who never blinked. She went ahead and ran on a write-in campaign, winning only 4% of the votes.
Two years later, when ever-popular Joe Biden’s term came up and he decided to run for both his Senate seat as well as the Vice-Presidency, O’Donnell rose to the challenge. She ran unopposed in the Republican primary, but then lost to Biden in the general election with 35.3% of the vote. [Here] But I guess she figured it was better than the 4% she had gotten two years before in that other Senate campaign.
Undeterred by defeat(s), O’Donnell is running again and has gotten a great deal of national attention and gobs of Tea Party money. What has drawn the media to her race is some of her ideas about sex which are decidedly retro. (Chastity before marriage is in, according to Christine, and masturbation--self-lust, you know--is out.) The media has loved it and has had a field day coyly talking about the latter without actually spelling anything out. In the meantime, our Christine has gotten loads of free publicity.
What has been overlooked is her personal finances which are in a state of chaos. She has lost her house, but is now living in a townhouse that is also her campaign headquarters. (We’ll let the IRS sort that one out after Tuesday’s primary.) And the Tea Party money has rolled in... (Wouldn’t you like to see the accounting of that money?
In the meantime, Sarah Palin, the ever-ready Moma Grizzly, has blessed Christine with a Tea Party endorsement.
What about Mike Castle, the loyal, mainstream Republican, you ask? We’ll all know more when the primary polls close on Tuesday evening.
But one wonders if the Republican Party will be marginalized and swallowed by the Tea Party or the Tea Party will be subsumed by the GOP which appears more and more like a Party run by a bunch of ambitious second lieutenants with their generals hidden in some subterranean undisclosed location. I guess this can happen when your money bags are hidden in Wichita, Kansas.