Tea Party Express ‘Moneybomb’ For O’Donnell Includes Just One Delaware Donor

September 8, 2010 4:37 a.m.

The Tea Party Express has attacked Rep. Mike Castle for raising campaign cash from out-of-state in his bid to be Delaware’s next senator — but what do you know, they have done the exact same thing for their candidate.

Castle faces Christine O’Donnell on Tuesday’s Republican primary ballot. O’Donnell backers say polls are suggesting she’s within striking distance of defeating Castle, a longtime member of Congress who has never lost an election. His decades-long career is one reason Open Secrets has him ranked as No. 7 on its list of the Top 10 candidates based on how many of their donations come from outside of their home state.

Castle has raised $852,963, or 51.4% of his total, from donors not living in Delaware.Tea Party Express organizers told supporters that Castle was “caught” in a “controversy” about the donations. “It turns out Mike Castle is not only a hypocrite, but he is bought and paid for by the corrupted special interests who pushed for the government bailouts of private industry sectors,” spokesman Levi Russell said in a release.

But just a few days later, in one of the group’s many fundraising appeals for O’Donnell’s candidacy, the Tea Party Express revealed they, too, aren’t taking in donations from strictly Delaware voters. Explaining they are in the middle of a $250,000 “moneybomb” to match Castle’s television spending, Tea Party Express organizers wrote that 571 “patriots” contributed, and highlighted 56 people who have contributed more than $250.

“Philip of Wilmington, DE” was the lone resident of the First State on the list. He gave $250. The rest mostly hailed from the San Francisco Bay Area, Texas, Ohio and Florida.

Gannett reported recently on O’Donnell’s appeal to out of staters:

The three-time candidate, endorsed by the Tea Party Express, raised $88,989 during the last eight weeks, with just over $10,000 coming from Delawareans, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. O’Donnell ended the July-August reporting period with $20,374 in the bank and $9,950 in debts, a $1,800 reduction in her debt as of June 30.

O’Donnell is poised to receive more out-of-state assistance before the Sept. 14 primary. The Tea Party Express has pledged an independent expenditure campaign of about $250,000 and recently announced its first expenditures of about $46,000.

The share of out-of-state contributions to O’Donnell increased sharply in the most recent eight-week period.

For all fundraising prior to July 1, O’Donnell collected $100,750 in donations from individuals, not political action committees. She collected $8,000, or 8 percent, from Delaware donors. The state with the highest contribution level for O’Donnell was Pennsylvania, which accounted for 43 percent of contributors.

For the same period, 50 percent of Castle’s individual donors listed a Delaware address, and Democrat [Chris] Coons pulled 62 percent of his donations from in-state contributors.

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