The national Republicans who whispered for weeks that Christine O’Donnell was unelectable are done with Delaware.
A National Republican Senatorial Committee source told TPM tonight that the party will be sending money and support elsewhere since O’Donnell, not moderate Rep. Mike Castle (R), is the nominee. O’Donnell, a perennial candidate who has never held political office, trails Democratic nominee Chris Coons.
NRSC officials say that if O’Donnell proves she is viable as a candidate in what is considered to be a blue state, “we would hope Sen. Jim DeMint and the Tea Party Express would invest in her race.” If that happens, the NRSC would consider spending for O’Donnell.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O’Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]The Tea Party Express hit back, calling it a “rash” decision and reminding supporters the NRSC attempted to help Sen. Lisa Murkowski during a close vote in the Alaska Senate primary she lost last month.
“It is because of inexcusable conduct in Delaware and Alaska that so many conservatives have turned to the Tea Party Express, offering their support and their donations,” Tea Party Express officials told reporters. “These people have lost faith in the NRSC as just another big-government, Washington, D.C.-based organization that has contributed to the problems this country currently faces.”
They added that if the NRSC doesn’t support GOP candidates, “they can expect millions of conservatives to continue to steer their donations and volunteer hours elsewhere.”
They added, “You tried to force through the most liberal Republican in Congress on the voters of Delaware and they rejected you. Wake up, you are defying your own base, and will end up an irrelevant and impotent organization that serves to only amuse the corrupt political establishment in Washington, D.C.”
But the NRSC said it’s a big playing field and they will pick and choose their best chances at victory this fall.
“We reserve the right to invest resources in any Senate race at any time just as the Democrats do — as evidenced by the fact that in states like Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Arkansas and Ohio, they have not yet offered financial support for their candidates,” the NRSC source said.
The party remains confident they have the Democrats on the defensive, since they are standing either in the lead, tied or within the margin of error in 12 seats now controlled by Democrats. There are several seats the Democrats haven’t yet invested in given their candidates are in the dumps, including Arkansas and Indiana. (See the charts here.)