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O’Donnell Win Confounds Establishment and Media Experts

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As news came in that Christine O’Donnell had pulled off a major upset in the Republican primary in Delaware, experts who had predicted her defeat and Republican party leaders who had supported establishment favorite Mike Castle against her were embarrassed, confounded and ultimately angry.

Despite predictions of low turnout and a close race, and despite her own state party leader leading a very dirty campaign against her and despite the mdeia writing her off, O’Donnell won by a solid 6% and turnout was double what had been predicted.

Immediately, media experts began declaring that this was a disaster for the Republican Party because pre-primary polling showed O’Donnell running much less well than Castle against Democrat nominee Chris Coons. The talking point has become that Castle was a winner and O’Donnell is a guaranteed loser and that the Tea Party which had supported her had now cost the GOP an easy seat gain in the Senate.

In keeping with their disastrous record of supporting all the wrong candidates in this year’s primaries, the National Republican Senatorial Committee was right out in front of this issue with exactly the wrong response, declaring through the Wall Street Journal that they had no intention of spending any money to support O’Donnell, writing her off as a loser.

As results came in, pundits were pointing to a recent Rasmussen poll and declaring that 44% of the Republicans who voted for Castle are going to switch parties in the general election and vote for Coons and that is going to cost O’Donnell the race. It’s on this trend that they base their prediction of a hard loss for O’Donnell.

But someone in the political/media establishment is either lying or not very good at math. This calculation seems to have been based on the assumption that if O’Donnell loses all those hardcore Republican votes that will doom her, but the math does not support that conclusion. It does not take into consideration the disparity of Republican and Democrat voter turnout. In fact, if the same number of voters turn out who voted in the primary in both parties and 44% of the Republicans who voted for Castle switch to Coons, O’Donnell will actually win the election by about 2000 votes and 2 percentage points.

What’s more, the primaries in Delaware are closed primaries where only registered party members can vote. That means that there are tens of thousands of independent voters who will be voting in the general election who did not vote in the primary, and independent voters tend to vote Republican by almost a 2 to 1 margin and are particularly motivated by outsider, anti-establishment candidates like O’Donnell and may turn out in even larger numbers as a result. Add them in and things look very different.

By my analysis from national trends it seems likely that even without party money, Tea Party momentum and the independent vote will push O’Donnell to a winning margin somewhere between 6% and 8%. Just as the experts and the insiders were wrong in writing her off as they were still doing up until a few days ago they are likely to be just as wrong about her prospects in the general election.

Of course, this still leaves open the question of whether O’Donnell is well qualified for the job and whether the allegations raised against her in the primary will hurt her in the general election. Some of the accusations against her have at least some substance, while others are silly. Her past discussion of masturbation as a sin on MTV is just a silly smear. Her ambiguous educational background and poor financial history are more serious.

O’Donnell is mainly running on personal charisma and the ability to make a great speech, qualities which both Castle and Coons lack. Her status as a political outsider is like gold in the current environment and as we’ve seen with Sharon Angle in Nevada and Nikki Haley in South Carolina, being targeted for smear campaigns by the establishment seems to turn into an asset rather than a liability. It makes you an underdog and the voters are eating that up, especially when it seems to be the old, white, male establishment picking on a younger, charismatic female candidate.

Today we saw a primary upset which sent the political and media establishment reeling. In November I suspect they will get another shock from Delaware and it will just be one of many nationwide.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • I have told you twice, Jeannie: the title is “Unprecedented.” See my #86.

  • Handyguy,

    Do you know what film I’m talking about? Did you see the Florida election workers find the bags of absentee ballots out in back of the building they were working in?

    I’m going nuts trying to find it for Baronius.

  • Unprecedented is a good film. But it is definitely presented with a leftist viewpoint. So Baronius is not likely to be convinced by it. It’s available through Netflix for rental, and you can buy a copy for $5 or less on Amazon [it’s less than an hour long].

  • I’ll look in Democracy___Now! 😀

  • I watched it years ago, and I’m the one that’s claiming it here. So, I guess I’m believing myself.

    We are both on the same side.

  • Baronius

    That’s not it. That’s about 2004. And I have looked. If I’m being fussy about this, it’s because of what I was talking about earlier, your tendency to accept any claim made by your side without verifying it.

  • Baronius,

    I think this might be it. This clip is dealing with Diebold. Recount

  • Baronius- You have to watch each successive clip, I think. Let me find something else out here. You could also look. 😀

  • Baronius

    Jeannie – YouTube only seems to have the first 10 minutes of it, along with a couple of other clips. Nothing about ballots in the garbage.

  • Baronius

    You guys hadn’t heard about this stuff?

  • Here’s the way I see the Delaware Republican Primary results.


  • Here it is, Baronius, Unprecedented,YouTube,50 minutes.

    Please tell me what you think after you watch this, if you have time.

    JD 😀

  • Cannonshop

    Handy, it’s not nice to talk about your fellow Progressives like that…

  • Perhaps they were experiments that went horribly awry…

  • El Bicho

    Christine may be right about the stem cells, Handy. Some commentors appear to be humans with fully functioning mice brains

  • More of Christine’s greatest hits:

    “American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”
    — Christine O’Donnell’s warning on the O’Reilly Factor, in a “discussion” on cloning and stem cells and such, in 2007

    “And then there’s also the issue of murder with Vincent Foster. That’s a much more serious charge than failing to seek legal advice, and yet we’re all just blowing that off, and everybody’s trying to focus on Newt Gingrich like a witch hunt, to bring him to the stake and burn him, because they don’t like the policy that he’s behind.”
    — accusing the President of the United States of murder [and offering fascinating insights into the hunting of witches] on C-SPAN in 1996

  • Rachel Maddow pointed out that O’Donnell is the latest Republican Senate nominee this year to take a particularly extreme position on abortion:

    No exceptions for rape or incest.

    These candidates include:

    Sharron Angle
    Joe Miller
    Rand Paul
    Ken Buck

    I don’t know Marco Rubio’s position, but I’d be surprised if it differs.

  • Baronius,

    Do you have some deep seated anxiety about crazy people? Surely, you mean “rationally and/or perceptually challenged.”

    In any event, compared to what?

    Besides, if we weren’t all crazy we would all go insane.

    Dan(Miller) or something.

  • Baronius

    That’s crazy. You don’t publish a 352-page book on September 13th predicting an alien invasion on October 13th. You effectively guarantee a one-month window of book sales. And some people will hear about the book in the next few weeks and not buy it because they don’t have time to read it.

  • This will be the October Surprise. But don’t worry, the space aliens will save us.

    Those global warming, er I mean fluctuations or cooling, deniers, had better watch out!


  • Those creaky machines were produced in my hometown. Neither of us are there now.

  • Was it about the election from a more left point of view? Then, that was it… I cried my bleeding-liberal-heart-out.

  • Jeannie, perhaps you mean the film “Unprecedented”? It’s not “unbiased,” but it is very well done.

  • Clavos

    Clavos –


    Of course…

  • After using the same creaky mechanical voting machines for nearly 50 years, in NY this year we got the more or less ideal system: paper ballots that you yourself place in a scanner to be counted, with the paper serving as backup for recounts if necessary.

    There were reports of poor training of poll workers and machines that failed to work, but it went really smoothly at my polling place.

  • Yes, Baronius, I watched a documentary about the 2000 election. I’ll try to find it for you (unless you complain).


  • Jordan, that was a reference to an ongoing complaint.

    God, I hope it wasn’t formal. lol is this me?

  • Baronius

    I don’t see any reference to #59 online, Jeannie. Is that real?

  • 😀 Hello Glenn. I’m not sure why, but I’m in a good mood about the Teas now. Perhaps it’s because they are weakening the GOP’s stranglehold on the system.

  • @#54:

    That’s a good idea, unless your ballot ended up in one of the garbage bags found outside of a building in Fla. after Gore/Bush.

    Hell of a way to treat a precious vote, people die for them…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie –

    You’re right – thanks!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    WRONG! Your solution is nice IF everyone does it – for instance, that’s what we do in Washington state – all voting is done by mail.

    But your solution will not work for states where the vast majority of the people vote in the traditional way – at polling places. The solution cannot start at the bottom with every single person asking the state for an absentee ballot – the solution has to start at the top with proper regulation and oversight of the system as a whole.

  • Glenn,

    Don’t you mean #40?

  • Baronius

    Jordan, that was a reference to an ongoing complaint.

  • Clavos


    Easy enough to solve, and you don’t even the need to have the incompetent government change anything:

    Vote absentee.

    Been doing it for years. I started out of not wanting to stand in line, now I continue so as to ensure I have it on paper; I even photocopy the ballot before I mail it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    To all –

    The POINT to comment #43 above was that the voting results on UNVERIFIABLE voting machines were almost completely opposite the results on VERIFIABLE paper ballots.

    Should this not raise a big red flag in a country supposedly governed by democracy?

    This is not the first questionable performance by UNVERIFIABLE voting machines. Conservatives like them, but progressives like myself want VERIFIABLE balloting.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Baronius, what about that link wasn’t “true?”

  • She is doing one thing, Baronius, her and her friends are guaranteeing Obama a second term.

  • I do and did! lol

  • Baronius

    Please, please, please read what I actually write.

  • You didn’t have a clue to who she was, yesterday. Now she’s an angel sent down from the sky…

    Wishing for a Theocracy?

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I’m not in lock-step with anyone. I decide things on my own. Most of those ten statements you linked to were silly, so I treated them that way. You might want to start looking at the things you link to yourself and deciding whether they are credible and make sense, rather than automatically posting things because you hope that they’re true.

  • The GOP has been exploiting us for years, why are you so shocked?

  • Baronius looks like he lock-stepped behind this woman. Big change from yesterday…

  • Baronius

    Britney is irresponsible!? Psychics exploit people!?!? What is this madness!?!?!?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Wow…just wow.

    People vote for this weirdo?

  • Top ten quotes by the woman who is against everything.

    And you all think I’m a stick in the mud?

    😀 lol!

  • Glenn Contrarian


    Did O’Donnell really win?

    Verifiable Paper-Based Absentee Results:
    CASTLE: 54.7% – O’DONNELL: 45.3%

    Unverifiable Election Day E-Voting Machine Results:
    CASTLE: 46.7% – O’DONNELL: 53.3%

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    That’s reich, even priceless!

  • …pre-martial sex…

    Almost as good as the guy in my American Lit class who wrote about Jefferson and the Deceleration of Independence…!

  • Coons doesn’t have to overemphasize details or individual scandals or hints of scandals, and shouldn’t. The doubts about her are already there. He just has to look like the sane, adult alternative to the wacky, extremist, happy-face girl.

  • El Bicho

    Is that the smear by her former campaign manager who talks about how she’s a fraud that misued campaign funds for personal expenses?

  • In Olberman’s “ready made campaign commercial” Rove accidentally points out how at least one of the smears raised against O’Donnell in the primary is bogus.


  • I just watched the full length tapes of Rove’s and Limbaugh’s venting. Pretty remarkable. As Keith Olbermann pointed out tonight, Rove has handed Coons a ready-made campaign commercial.

    I wonder if the despicable gay-baiting the O’Donnell campaign used against Castle is an issue here. It certainly makes me hate her more.

    And does anyone know if Castle keeps his seat in the House?

  • The snake eating its tail.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And what do you think about what’s going on between Rove and Limbaugh?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Didn’t she make up a similar gap against Castle in a couple of months’ campaigning?

    Yes…but that was in a campaign among _Republicans_. Trying to attract independents and Democrats is a whole ‘nother matter.

  • Clavos

    …pre-martial sex…

    AKA fuck, then fight.

  • David Gergen was just on CNN self-righteously bloviating that “we must respect these voters,” meaning the naive dumbasses who prefer someone who can’t put a coherent sentence together [Palin, Angle, O’Donnell] over any “establishment” candidate.

    Well, David, sorry, but I don’t respect people like that at all. It’s a mob mentality, and it is in no way healthy for this country.

    “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people” applies this year to politics as well as journalism, entertainment, and commerce.

  • Baronius

    I don’t know if she’d be any good. I haven’t followd the race and sorted through the various accuastions. I’m glad that Castle won’t be in the Senate, though. As for Coons’s lead, there’s a month and a half to go, and no politician is getting more coverage than O’Donnell. Didn’t she make up a similar gap against Castle in a couple of months’ campaigning?

  • From PPP [Public Policy Polling], via Politico:

    Chris Coons begins the general election in Delaware with a 50-34 lead over Christine O’Donnell. Mike Castle would have led Coons by a 45-35 margin.

    Only 31% of voters in the state think O’Donnell’s fit to hold public office while 49% think that she is not. Even with Republicans in the state less than half at 48% believe that she is. That may seem inconsistent with her victory last night but keep in mind that our general election poll includes GOP voters who were not planning to vote in yesterday’s primary. Only 33% of independents and 16% of Democrats believe O’Donnell’s fit.

  • It will never happen in a real election.

  • I think she could win too, Dave. Considering that she was once 2 points ahead of Coons and the fact that the political wind is at the back of conservative Republicans, she’s got a pathway to victory. Good post, sir.

  • If Ms. O’Donnell were actually to become a member of the US Senate, would Dan welcome the ridiculous development with more tears of laughter and/or joy? Do either you or Baronius actually think this spokesmodel would be a good senator? Or even a competent senator? She is worse than Michele Bachmann.

  • John Wilson

    Some republicans say the TEA party hurt them in this election.

  • Hell just froze over.

    No it didn’t, that was a closed primary, nothing to write home about…


  • Baronius,

    I don’t get how an institution with its finger on the pulse of politics circa 1984 expects people to send money to them.

    That may be part of the problem. Their fingers are in the wrong places, including people’s lives and pocketbooks.


  • Baronius

    I don’t get how an institution with its finger on the pulse of politics circa 1984 expects people to send money to them. It’s very easy to send money to support campaigns directly or to find groups that aggregate funds and distribute them to candidates who support your favorite causes. I take that back. The RNC has its finger on the pulse of campaign technology circa 1984.

  • The Chairman of the RNC has issued a statement promising support for the party’s unexpected candidate and begging for money. The begging for money part seems to have vanished from the link but can be found here. It says, among other things,

    Please make an urgent contribution of $50, $75 or $100 to RNC Victory today to help fully fund the Victory Centers in Delaware and across the nation that are the key to winning the 39 seats in the House we need to Fire Nancy Pelosi and the ten we must capture in the Senate to Retire Harry Reid.

    , the RNC is the only Party committee dedicated to supporting ALL of our Republican candidates — from the county courthouse to Congress. And we are the only national GOP organization with the ability to rush resources and direct financial support to our candidates who need it most.

    Your 2010 election contribution today is critical to ensuring Christine O’Donnell and every Republican candidate receives the get-out-the-vote and campaign support they need to fight back and win an historic victory for our Party and our country on November 2nd. Please give as generously as you can.

    There are tears in my eyes because I laughed so hard at Steele’s e-mail. The poor demented Ms. O’Donnell with all the baggage and no party support didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning either the nomination or the election.

    Hell just froze over.

    I think it may have to do with global warming.


  • We are not going to allow a handful of media sponsored? and supported nuts run this country.

    Please take it all down a notch, before Baronius blows a gasket.

    :O Take a deep breath and relax…

  • “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis

    Now I am going to change my Twitter pic!(it’s a flag)

  • Republicans had been nominating and then, with independents and probably some Dems, re-electing Castle to the House for a long time now. There are some parts of the country where being a moderate might not be an advantage. I don’t believe Delaware is one of them.

    And…the state went for Obama 62%-37% two years ago. Not a swing state.

  • zingzing

    el bicho, your point is verily, extremely, incredibly valid. if she won’t jerk me off and fuck me while rubbing one out for herself (she has three arms and two crotches, as i understand it), then i don’t care how good looking she is. also, if i’m from delaware and she’s serving in washington, she can’t reach me. especially if it’s cold.

  • “guess what, most guys are suckers for hot, crazy single women.”

    yeah, to have sex with, not represent them, and since O’Donnell doesn’t even believe in masturbation let alone pre-martial sex, your political analysis is misguided.

  • Baronius

    Look, I’m not saying that O’Donnell is Reagan. I’m saying that the experts don’t understand her.

    Castle had a lot of negatives. He ran a terrible campaign in which he didn’t distinguish himself from his potential Democratic opponent. He didn’t try to win over O’Donnell’s supporters; he looked down on them for being stupid. He’s a bland, establishment, compromiser, and maybe those kind of candidates can coast to victory most years, but he’s a fool for thinking he could do it this year.

    The supposed experts are fools for not figuring that out.

    As for O’Donnell herself, the first thing to note is that she’s gorgeous. And if she’s crazy, guess what, most guys are suckers for hot, crazy single women. Ask any guy about the craziest good-looking woman he’s ever gotten involved with, and he’ll shake his head with regret – but he’ll be smiling.

    And don’t write her off as “substance-free”. I don’t know if she believes any of the positions she’s taken, or even understands them, but based on the things she’s said, her voting record is likely to be a lot more appealing to Republicans than Castle’s would be. Even to Delaware Republicans (who are not genetically different from anyone else in the country).

  • #10 ? or what’s it’s name.

  • dumb is the name you hide behind…

  • Arch ConscienceStain

    This just proves that the incredibly stupid voters are madder than the merely dumb ones.

  • it should not be too hard to portray O’Donnell as a nutty, substance-free extremist, since that’s what she is.

    Mind if I tweet this, handyguy?


  • O’Donnell is certainly no Reagan.

  • You need to take it seriously, Dave, that was her testimony.

    And don’t try to equate un-rational behavior with being female. I’ve seen plenty of un-rational men(Fox News).


  • Many, many Republicans and Conservatives ranging from Karl Rove to, yes, Dave Nalle have questioned Ms. O’Donnell’s bona fides to be a good US senator.

    Delaware is a pretty blue state. Unless Coons runs an utterly inept campaign, it should not be too hard to portray O’Donnell as a nutty, substance-free extremist, since that’s what she is.

    It may be exciting to ride the tiger of an extremist wave that keeps nominating weirdos. But then when you wake up the morning after, you will realize either: the weirdos lost the GOP several seats; or, worse from my point of view, the weirdos are going to actually hold office — and gain the ability to do real damage.

  • Ruvy

    I have to agree with Baronius as to the value of the GOP’s leadership. I sense that the GOP leadership will find itself nudged out of a lot of places it takes for granted. It is so nice to see the arrogant American media slobbocracy proven wrong by the people they consistently try to mislead.

  • Baronius

    This reminds me a lot of Reagan in 1980. The experts have just proven that, whatever else they may know, they don’t know how to guage the ability of this particular candidate to come from behind and win, and that very night they’re on the TV saying that this candidate won’t be able to win in the general election.

    On another note, in all the many discussions I’ve had about third party movements, there’s one scenario I’d never considered: that one of the major parties would give up its ability to influence elections. If O’Donnell wins, it’ll send a message that the Republican machine is disposable.

  • Sounds about as rational as Nancy Pelosi, although perhaps somewhat more sensitive.

    And that’s a quote from a workplace discrimination lawsuit. You can imagine how seriously I tak eit.


  • Can you picture this person making stressful decisions as an elected official?

    “For at least six months after being fired, Miss O’Donnell suffered enormous pain, cried frequently at the sense of personal loss and failure caused by ISI, and at the sense of injustice, and could not sleep at night, often wide-awake, replaying the whole scene in her mind, until 5:30 am, and has suffered from understandable and resulting depression.”

    JD – Thanks, Dave 😀

  • The National Republican Senatorial Committee will not fund Del. GOP nominee Christine O’Donnell.

    Fly in the ointment?