Santorum Campaign Willfully Compares Itself to Christine O'Donnell Campaign

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 20 2012 2:01 PM

Santorum Campaign Willfully Compares Itself to Christine O'Donnell Campaign

There was a collective, silent "whuh?" near the end of the Santorum campaign spin-o-thon today. John Yob,* Santorum's all-purpose delegate counter, argued that the Romney campaign and the media were underrating how their man could do in April. Example: The conventional wisdom is that the late April mini-Tuesday primaries in New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware will go in a bloc to Romney.

"I would point to the primary elections in 2010 in almost all of those states," said Yob. "Famously so, conservatives beat more moderate candidates. Ask Mike Castle whether a conservative or a moderate won in Delaware recently."

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Castle lost, of course -- Christine O'Donnell, a frequent candidate and brief media sensation, pipped him in his primary for the U.S. Senate nomination. She won by 6 points, 53-47.

The problem with the comparison? It's obvious. Castle-O'Donnell was a two-way race. There is no indication that Ron Paul will quit the race in four weeks, and little indication that Newt Gingrich will get out before Texas votes at the end of May. It's hard to compare any candidate to Mike Castle, who had been winning Delaware elections since the LBJ era, but given that Romney won 33 percent of the vote there last time, and that he's the establishment pick this time, Santorum is talking about edging him out in a winner-take-all four-way contest.

*I originally misidentified the speaker as John Brabender, not John Yob.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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