Monday, August 30, 2010

A Misguided Siege?

The Hill, Politico, and others are reporting that the Tea Party Express is taking aim at Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), as he campaigns for the Republican nomination for Senate in Delaware. As the Hill puts it,
The Tea Party Express, which spent some $600,000 on Alaska Republican Joe Miller's primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), says it's preparing to do the same on behalf of Christine O'Donnell (R) in Delaware.

O'Donnell is challenging Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) from the right in the state's Sept. 14 Senate primary, but she has yet to capture the same kind of attention from conservative activists as other Tea Party-backed candidates have this cycle.

Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell said Monday that his organization is already cutting TV and radio ads in Delaware and expects to be on the air by the end of the week. Russell said he hopes to match the support the group offered in GOP primaries in Utah, Nevada and Alaska this year.

This may not be the most strategic spending on behalf of the Tea Party Express. Delaware ain't Alaska or Utah or Nevada. Alaska and Utah are about as Republican as you get, and Nevada isn't too far behind. The last time Delaware voted for a Republican presidential contender was 1988. Delaware is a territory where centrism is a key political qualifier for Republican aspirants to statewide office.

And Mike Castle has a record of proven success in Delaware. He's been winning statewide elections since the 1980s, and has served since 1993 as the state's only member in the House. Though his record might not be what some of the most conservative Republicans in the country dream about, Castle has proven a fairly loyal Republican and has stood with the party on many (not all) big issues.

Do you know who Mike Castle would be a lot more conservative than? Democratic nominee Chris Coons. Castle has led Coons in polls taken throughout the year with huge margins.

O'Donnell? Most polls have shown her double digits behind Coons.

There's definitely a place for O'Donnell in Delaware Republican politics, but gambling on her candidacy may be too big a risk for Republicans in 2010. With Castle, this seat could be close to a guaranteed pickup. With O'Donnell, this race would definitely lean heavily in the favor of Democrats. If Republicans were going into this election with close to fifty seats, it would be one thing to think about gambling in Delaware. But right now Republicans have a long, long way to go to 51 seats. They are in no position to turn their backs on a relatively safe candidate.

(One wrinkle: Erick Erickson claims that Castle has made a deal to switch to the Democratic party once he gains the Senate seat and vacate this seat in favor of Beau Biden. He says that Delaware "party regulars" have told him this. If this deal has been made, these "regulars" have a responsibility to tell this to the world---and not just be whispering this to Erickson. If this deal is a reality, the Tea Party Express and Republicans nationwide would be well within their rights to work as hard as possible to ensure Castle's defeat in the primary. Otherwise, they might be better off saving their money and spending it to help tip a general election race---like Angle's in Nevada---the Republicans' way.)

UPDATE: In response to some comments and a few emails, a few points. I'm, shall we say, far from convinced that the parenthetical wrinkle above is a completely credible one. More shocking things have happened, but I'm still pretty skeptical. But I thought I should at least acknowledge that the rumor is there, since some anti-Castle activists talk about it now and then.

On accusations that Castle is a RINO, etc.: It's a free country, and the Republicans of Delaware can support whomever they like for senator. But it should be noted that Castle's American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 52 (in 2009, it was 56) does not make him the least "conservative" Republican in Congress. His score is ahead of that of both of the Republican Maine senators. You can ask Mitch McConnell---you can even ask Jim DeMint---if he's glad to have their votes in the Senate. This "progressive" rating system of members of Congress also finds that Mike Castle is not the most "progressive" Republican in the House. And he's most likely to vote with Republicans from other moderate districts---not the Democratic leadership.


  1. So Erick Erickson believes that a career politician will reach the US Senate and voluntarily resign? Riiiight.

    I agree with Fred, Delaware is not a red state. We're better off supporting the winner of the Republican primary to replace Castle and trying to keep that seat from the Dems.

  2. Castle is one of only two surviving Republican Congressmen (out of 5) to have introduced a law to resurrect the Clinton "assault weapons ban." The other is Mark Kirk (RINO-IL)

    There is no reason to support either of them in any way.

    Andrew Frechtling
    Major, USAF (retired)

  3. "One wrinkle"?

    Dude, that's one huge-ass wrinkle.

    What are you thinking?

  4. It is a bit of a twisted story. Christine O'Donnell will never beat Chris Coons. However, if Coons wins, he will not just sit there and be a placeholder for Beau Biden; Coons has ambitions of hiw own. So, if Castle wins, BEau Biden may well get the seat at some point by appointment. If Coons wins, Beau Biden would have to challenge him in a Democrat primary in six years. It's hard to guess what the Dem,ocrats in Delaware would prefer.

  5. I registered Republican for the first time in my life when I moved to Newark, DE in 2007. I'll be voting for O'Donnell in the primary. If she loses the primary, I'll be voting for Coons in the general. Since we're strategizing for Republicans, let me help. If Republicans win both the houses of Congress, Obama will come out with a heavy-handed dose of the "Party of NO" and force Republicans to vote NO on a long string of measures intended to help the poor, children, elderly, and widows (you know the drill). Castle is good at getting re-elected because he has been a political coward. He doesn't have the intestinal fortitude for the upcoming fight. So, I'd rather have a Democrat-led Senate than a Republican led Senate that folds under the President's pressure.

  6. Primary season is the time when the rank and file get some say in how they are to be represented. Considering the insular operating mode of the Delaware Republican party, this could be the only chance. At the very least, someone besides the party elite could be heard. If we are going by polling and polling only, then there is no reason for the primary. Have him annointed by our Betters and install him.
    Also. I'd have a bit more sympathy for the party machine if it did a better job of filling the House seat that Castle is vacating. The Dem is known, but this is a year when a single, well supported candidate could keep the seat, instead of letting it go, ala conventional wisdom. To we peasants, it smacks of a quid pro quo; we reach for the Senate and they get the House.

  7. This speculation about Castle switching parties seems absurd. Given all we know about false flag operations by Democrats when it comes to Tea Party candidates, isn't it possible that Erickson is being played? Could it be that these anonymous Democrats fed false information to Erickson knowing he would make it public, and inflame the Tea Party enough to take out Castle in the primary and clear the way for the Democrat candidate?

  8. Ah, the old question: do you vote for the perfect candidate in the primary, or the most electable?

    Anyone who wants to get elected in Delaware's general election has to be centrist enough to get blue-state independents to vote for him. Delaware is a blue state: Electing any Republican to the Senate here, even if he is not as conservative as you might like, is a victory.

  9. I live in DE and am active in the pro-life movement, so a few years ago when Christine O'Donnell was running for office I took interest and listened to her radio debate. She did not do very well. Every question, budget, law enforcement, whatever, she answered with a religious answer. ie: I would be guided by my faith and religious principles. And half of the time she turned the response to a pro-life answer. She really came off as a one note candidate. Hopefully she has improved, but I can't imagine her winning here.

  10. Conservatives have had it with supporting republicans because the R candidate is 'not as bad' as the D candidate. If republicans want conservatives to donate, turn out to vote, etc then the candidate had better be a conservative. Personally, if we can't get real small government candidates in office then let the progressives have it so we can get to rebuilding from the ashes phase that much quicker.

  11. I'd need to hear that insider step forward, identify himself and tell how he knows what he knows. Sure, this wouldn't be the first time a moderate Republican sandbagged the party right after an election, but switch parties just to resign? What's Castle's motivation?

  12. Why shouldn't we go after Mike Castle? He was one of 7 GOP Congressmen to vote YES on Cap n Tax, he also was one of the co-authors of the "Disclose Act" which actively undermines the First Amendment of the Constitution as well as circumvents the ruling of the United States Supreme Court. We've yet to hear any statements at all from this clown as to why he voted the way he voted and why on earth he would have decided to co-author such a ridiculous piece of legislation.
    I feel that even though Castle would enable the GOP to move closer to a possible majority in the US Senate during this Senate cycle that in the long run, he will be far more detrimental to the cause of righting the political ship than beneficial. Just my 2 cents...

  13. Why would any Delaware Republican vote for Mike Castle?

    - He voted for Cap&Trade, which will raise homeowners energy bills by $2-3k annually?
    - He voted three times against the missile defense shield (2007,2008,2009). Don't you think this is needed given the unfortunate volatile world we live in?
    - He voted for the financial regulation bill will will cause financial consumers more pain for every bank transaction AND eliminate Delaware's competitive advantage for incorporations here in Delaware.
    - He is for gun control and has a F rating from the NRA
    - He is pro-choice and has a 100% rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood.

    I am sorry, but Castle must go. We cannot afford to have him in DC.

    And since he votes with Obama-Pelosi 70% of time, it is not out of reach to state he would switch parties. He is more comfortable being a Democrat.

  14. Ok. A lot of people here just don't understand the U.S. Senate.

    We have a chance at gaining the majority this year, but we won't do it if Castle does not win. Once we have the majority, Castle is meaningless 95% of the time -- mostly because the majority leader decides what goes to the floor.

    So, even though his record is crap some of the time, we need Mike Castle for one vote -- majority leader. We will have him for that vote.

    BTW -- Christine O'Donnell is a horrible candidate who has a 0% chance of winning the general election.

  15. Come on and think, people!

    DE is a blue state. Regardless of whether Castle is red enough for our liking, we need to be rid of Harry Reid (or, in the case of his defeat, Schumer or Durbin) as Senate Majority Leader. Even if Castle votes with the Dems 95% of the time, he WILL vote for McConnell as Senate Majority Leader. Even Stinkin' Lincoln Chaffee voted Republican on that matter!

    If you don't like Castle, fine. But please, stop and think about how your nose and face get along with each other before spite talks you into performing a nasalectomy!

  16. "Dear Tea Party,

    Please don't hurt us anymore.


    The RNSC"

    Hahahahahahahaha...yah, get used to it. Better a (D) in office fouling their nest, than a (R) fouling ours. There needs to be a VERY CLEAR distinction between R's & D's, and it can't happen so long as there are R's like Castle blurring that distinction. RINO's are an endangered species, and hunting season has only just begun...

  17. I too am a Delawarean and agree that we have zero good options here. Castle is indeed a political coward and his only principles are whatever gets him re-elected. He is no friend of the Tea Party. On th other hand, Christine O'Donnell is a one note candidate, horribly unqualified for office and will be a disaster. If the Tea Party wants to run against Castle I'm all for it so long as they find someone who is not Christine O'Donnell.

    Either that or hold your nose and vote for Castle. Lastly, I beg my fellow First Staters to never vote for anyone named Biden again. PLEASE!

  18. It all comes down to principle. the problem with the GOP is that expediency has come to trump honor and truth. We have to stop voting for the one "who can win" and vote for the one who will do what is right. Bottom line: I know Castle's history. He does what he can to fit in with the powerful. He does not stand for what is right. He must go.

  19. Just talked to my parents who live in Dover.. they and their friends are voting O'Donnell...Castle is and R in name only... If the Dem wins, they said so be it...nothing gained and nothing lost

  20. I am of the camp that believes it is better to elect a Democrat than a Republican that votes as a Democrat, pollutes the brand and undermines the GOP nationally.

    We don't need to win the whole Senate back this year, if in doing so we are required to elect GOPers whose only qualification is "I don't have a (D) next to my name". We've seen what the likes of Snowe and Spectre can do. The GOP has to firmly and unequivocally establish itself as a truly different different party than the Democrats.

    Remember, the center is defined by it's fringes. Time to start pushing the rightward fringe back and redefining what the center of American politics needs to be.

  21. Erick Erickson is an absolute joke. He is the reason I stopped reading Redstate. The post about Castle switching parties is complete and total garbage and doesn't even remotely pass the smell test. How do I know? His claim that O'Donnell is ahead in the polls and Castle isn't. Funny, I checked and they show the exact opposite. In fact, Castle has had a double-digit lead throughout the entire race.

    And can we please quit with the "we have do what's right and not what's expedient" garbage? For this who can't figure this out on their own: O'DONNELL HAS NO CHANCE, AT ALL, OF WINNING IN A GENERAL ELECTION IN DELAWARE. I would rather have someone who votes against Obama 50%-60-% of the time, heck even 40%, than someone who rubberstamps the Democrat agenda, like everyone knows Coons will. Some of the people have to wise up to the fact that parts of this country are not as conservative as they are. Delaware is not Idaho.

    Bottom line: If you can't figure out that this is a last-ditch desperate attempt to get Republicans to back O'Donnell, you are an idiot, and that is being charitable.

  22. Did this guy vote for the bailouts? I believe he voted for the 2nd bailout. If so, I'd rather vote for Dr. Earl Bradley than this schnook. If the Tea Party is to coopt the Republicans, perhaps it's by forcing all these squishy Big-Government RINOs out of office first.

  23. Tea Partiers need to keep their powder dry in Delaware, and spend their money and energy in close races where it matters, like Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Washington state, or closer to home in PA, where Toomey is leading but could use some Tea Party enthusiasm to overcome hordes of knee-jerk liberals in Philly.

    Castle might not be conservatives' cup of tea, but he's the best we can get out of Delaware. It's better to have a Delaware Senator vote conservatively half the time than none of the time. Politics is the art of the possible. You want to take out RINOs, go after Lindsay Graham in SC, where a solid conservative like Jim DeMint can win a landslide.

  24. Look folks, we each can vote for who we believe best represents our principles and values. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves to make an informed decision. I refuse to discard this individual freedom just because others have calculations and percentages. Look for guidance from above, and stand on your principles.

  25. It depends on what issue this conservative fight is over. The comments about O'Donnel mainly campaigning on abortion is ominous to me. If the main difference between O'Donnel and Castle is abortion and other social isxsues, then I would prefer Castle, especially in a dem leaning state like Deleware.

    I am sick of repubs winning primaries by crowing over their conservative credentials on social issues like abortion, then selling us out on fiscal issues after they are elected. If Castle is also unreliable on fiscal issues and size of government issues, then we should oppose him, but if it is mainly abortion, I dont give a hoot, and would prefer to stick with somebody who can beat the dems.

  26. Which of the contenders will fight the bailouts and corporate corruption/welfare? Which will demand mark-to-market, return to Glass-Steagall? Who will drain the f--king swamp?

    If none of them will, then none of them deserve your vote. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!!!

  27. Unfortunately, I am conservative in Delaware where the Republican Party is very weak and tightly controlled. While I would love to vote for Christine O'Donnell, that would guarantee a win for Chris Coons. So, despite Mike Castle being a RINO, I will vote for Castle in order to hold the Republican seat. If Castle wins and resigns, the Democrat governor will appoint Beau Biden but, if O'Donnell gets the nod, she will lose and we have a Dem from day one. Please don't encourage a vote against Castle!


    Scott Brown HAS NO CHANCE, AT ALL, OF WINNING IN A GENERAL ELECTION IN Mass. To replace Ted Kennedy, no less.


    " Don't argue in favor of the difficulties. They will argue for themselves"
    -Winston S. Churchill

    I said it before, and will say it again. If we are to go strictly by polls, then our Betters in the party should cancel the primary and annoint Castle. Then perhaps they could pay some slight atention to the House seat which is currently held by this oh so wonderful centrist/moderate/fiscally conservative fellow, instead of another round of Delaware political musical chairs. They are about to hand this seat over to a seat warmer that has done nothing to deserve it other than register as a Democrat. And it's people who fail to realize the beauty that is Castle that aren't interested in success?

    Between the blatant behind the scenes agreements to contest or not contest offices, to marginalizing anyone who varies from a bland opinion poll, is it any wonder that Delaware politics is in the state its in? Insiders only; we got it. Surrender major issues, from the right to bear arms to abortion, we understand that too. Why aren't you donating more? See above.

  29. There are two battles to be fought in a state like Delaware and the first is for control of the Republican party. Are you conservative? Then why is your name not on the roles of new precinct captains?

    The first battle is to utterly destroy the old guard Republican apparatus that would continue to shove us into bondage to sleazy candidates like Mike Castle. Becoming a precinct captain - most posts are VACANT - is the way to take control of your Republican party apparatus.

    Mike Castle, the apparatus that supports him, and all of the RINO's of the world, are not long for this earth, politically speaking. If you're a true conservative you ABSOLUTELY would rather have Chris Coons win than Mike Castle. Chris Coons would at least demonstrate what is the opposite of your philosophy. Mike Castle just insures that people confuse his big government, corporate croneyism for your own beliefs. Mike Castle is the problem, not the answer to the problem. Buh bye Mike, we won't miss you.

    Time to clean HOUSE people. And it starts with the small cadre of leftist clowns that have taken over the DE Republican party. Send these people running for cover. Destroy their nominee. There's not a votes worth of difference between Coons and Castle. Make the Democrats live with those policies, and don't give them ammunition against the party your going to take over. And yes - we ARE going to take it over. (Party hacks, start packing your desk.)

  30. Here in Maine, i've decided that its time for Snow and Collins to go. Yes they vote with Republicans on some issues but not the important issues. They last few election cycles have seen them challenged by some highly qualified and likable conservation republicans but the challenges have failed. I think that is about to change. Can republicans other than Snow/Collins win in a general election in Maine? I don't know but its worth a try as these two have done all the damage that one country can stand.

  31. As for my vote, there is no way I can cast another vote for Mike Castle. If he wins the primary, then I will vote for Mr. Coons. At least, Mr Coons is what he says he is. Mike Castle casts votes and then hides from them. He ignores the people he represents. I think because he's held power for so long, he thinks he's above having to answer to the voters.

  32. I cannot believe I am reading all of the defeatist comments on this blog. A vote for Christine O'Donnell is a vote for liberty AND she can beat Chris Coons.

    A vote for Mike Castle is a vote for continued enslavement to party elites who are incestuously married to corrupt big government socialists.

    Chris Coons can be beat, as he is an unpopular no-name candidate.

    The drumbeat that Christine cannot win the general is coming from the party brass whose jobs may be in jeopardy.

    If you believe in this country, you must vote for Christine!

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  34. Utah, Nevada and Alaska-all have low population densities.

    Those states have by their very nature attracted a different, more radical type of Republican-which unfortunately can get a disproportionate amount of influence in a primary- again because of the low population density.

    Sharon Angle ran most of her ads outside of Las Vegas proper.

    I really doubt that the same can be done in Delaware. Unfortunately even in Nevada when the more evenly distributed population of Las Vegas votes in the general election the neo cool kids so desperate to hang on to their anti-Establishment cred-the Tea Party- will be swamped.

    Even a politician as unlikeable as Harry Reid will be likely to pull it out.

    In fact one huge factor in Reid's favor will be the claim that he will maintain his status as majority leader-by going after Mike Castle who has had great poll numbers so far-the Tea Party only helps to further aid Harry Reid.

    With "friends" like that who needs Democrats?

  35. "Dreams That (You'll) Never See"

    Great song title ... fitting for those here showing their cowardice/RINO/Seat-at-the-Table Republican Party membership ....

    We Are Coming 4 U on November 2!