Christine O'Donnell: "Mike Castle, Call Off Your Goons!"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 3 2010 9:25 AM

Christine O'Donnell: "Mike Castle, Call Off Your Goons!"

Last night I got a chance to talk to Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party Express-backed candidate in Delaware's GOP primary for U.S. Senate. She'd had a tough day, starting the morning with a hostile radio interview with conservative host Dan Gaffney which quickly spread around the political blogosphere as proof that she couldn't hack it as a candidate. As she said on the air, O'Donnell blew off the interview as an ambush set by supporters of Mike Castle, the moderate GOP congressman who had been expected to easily win the primary.

"The tentacles of the Mike Castle campaign go pretty far!" she laughed.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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O'Donnell said she was buoyed by a Tea Party Express poll showing her down only 5 points to Castle, and by evidence that Castle's attacks were helping her. The day that Castle bought ads on The Drudge Report, she said, she quickly raised $21,000 online. The ferocity of the Delaware GOP's campaign against her, she said, was obvious -- so obvious that the attempts to portray her as paranoid were backfiring.

"The Weekly Standard quotes me saying that I'm being followed," she said, "and [Delaware GOP chairman] Tom Ross says oh, she's delusional. But thatsame guy with the camera was in D.C. That same guy was in the candidate forum lastnight. I'm delusional? He's the one posting all the videos on YouTube!"

I mentioned to O'Donnell that one of the latest knocks against her was her appearance making a pro-abstinence, anti-masturbation argument on the MTV show "Sex in the 90s," 12 years ago.

"Oh, my goodness, he wants to make an issue out of that?" said O'Donnell. "That's a good way of insulting his Christian base, don't you think? And who's going to get out his vote? The pro-cap-and-trade Republicans? The pro-big spending Republicans? The pro-human experimentation Republicans?"

O'Donnell told me that she'd never actually voted for Castle. His 11th hour barrage, she said, was a distraction from the votes that had turned Delaware Republicans and tea partiers against him since the start of 2009.

"Mike Castle, call off your goons," she said. "Let's talk about your record. Let's talk about how we're going to get more private sector jobs in Delaware."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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