Here's to You, Pundits Who Thought Christine O'Donnell Could Win

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 5 2010 9:28 AM

Here's to You, Pundits Who Thought Christine O'Donnell Could Win

I'm from Delaware, which is almost never useful. It's a nice place, with nice people, and if you're ever there you should get a sub at Capriotti's and a weird out of print novel at Between Books. It's also a haven of socially liberal, economically conservative Democrats and independents, and as soon as Christine O'Donnell won the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in September, I said that Republicans had probably blown their chances of winning the seat . This opinion was shared by national Republicans, Karl Rove, and basically everyone who followed Delaware politics.

But for some reason, people who didn't follow or try to follow Delaware politics decided to weigh in with explanations of how O'Donnell could win. This seemed weird to me -- the point of beating Mike Castle in the primary was not to win the seat, but to make sure moderate Republicans were scared out of competing for Senate seats. A chorus of people believing that O'Donnell possessed some magical electoral quality arose anyway. Here they are.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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Meghan McCain (who also predicted wins by Sharron Angle, Meg Whitman, and Charlie Crist):

I am one of the few of the mind-set that Christine O’Donnell could actually pull this thing off. Followed by last week’s sexist "one night stand" story and the overwhelming media fascination (or horror depending on which way you look at it), I think people could come out in surprising  numbers and actually elect this woman

In Washington, the folks at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) had a perfectly sensible argument for not airing TV ads boosting her when she was roughly 20 percentage points behind Coons in polls: She was a lost cause. But the day after she debated Coons on CNN last week, a Rasmussen poll found she’d cut Coons’s lead to 51-40 percent. So O’Donnell may not be doomed to lose after all and might benefit from television spots by the NRSC.

And so O'Donnell gains, her deeply Establishment opponentnow perilously close to dropping below the 50% mark. With three weeks to go, only a crazy person would thinkthe Delaware race is over.

Why Christine O’Donnell Can Win the Delaware Senate Race... The race in Delaware will close. O’Donnell may still not win but the race is not, for the moment anyway, the sure thing blowout that many commentators are gleefully suggesting.

[I]n 2010 GOP longshots have been doing well -- Scott Brown is the most obvious, and then there are the polls showing Wisconsin, Washington, California, and even West Virginia in play. If Christine O'Donnell spends the next seven weeks pounding away on ObamaCare and deficits while Democrats talk about masturbation and Bill Maher, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Senator O'Donnell.

And my favorite, the PUMA bloggers at HillBuzz :

Today I talked to a friend from Team Hillary who is a big Dem fundraiser. He told me that for the last week or so the DNC has been at DEFCON 1 leaning HARD on the rainmakers because they are terrified of a CoD win in Delaware.

So: None of that happened. Barnes, who always puts real work into his stories, actually went to Delaware; I don't think anyone else who saw an O'Donnell miracle in the offing did so.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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