ABC News reports, “At the debate at the Wilmington, Delaware Rotary Club, O’Donnell ended her closing statement not with a message of party unity, but with one of defiance: ‘If you want a senator who has had to fight her own party and is still fighting her own party,’ she said, ‘please vote O’Donnell for U.S. Senate.’ ”
With Republican politicians in the minority in Delaware, holding just two of nine statewide offices, O’Donnell’s decision to draw a line between herself and the GOP during the debate was perhaps a smart one. However, post-debate polls show very little change in the numbers.
A University of Delaware Center for Political Communication poll conducted just prior to the debate showed Coons with a 21-point lead over O’Donnell, 54 to 33 percent. A follow-up poll done just after the end of the debate showed a mere 2 percent of likely voters changed their views.
However, the Rasmussen poll, conducted on Thursday, October 14, shows Coons with only an 11-point lead over O’Donnell, 51 to 40 percent.
Regardless, O’Donnell finds herself in an uncomfortable position just two weeks before the midterm elections, prompting her to turn to the very party from which she has attempted to separate herself.
During an interview with “This Week,” O’Donnell indicated that she needed help from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. She said, “We’re hoping that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will help us. But it’s two and a half weeks left and they’re not.”
Delaware Online adds, “O’Donnell pointed out that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is spending in Delaware on Coons’ behalf. The DSCC has been running ads for weeks highlighting O’Donnell’s past financial problems and allegations raised in a complaint by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C.”
According to ABC News, however, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has already donated $42,000 to O’Donnell’s campaign, the legal maximum that can be donated.
Likewise, the chairman of the NRSC has indicated the Committee’s support of O’Donnell shortly after she defeated Representative Mike Castle in the Republican primary: “Let there be no mistake: The National Republican Senatorial Committee — and I personally as the committee’s chairman —strongly stand by all of our Republican nominees, including Christine O’Donnell in Delaware.”
Additionally, Chris Bond, spokesman for the NRSC, rebutted the notion that they have not been assisting O’Donnell’s campaign. “The NRSC has been in constant communications with the O’Donnell campaign, and our political director recently spent a day on the ground meeting with her staff, the focus of which was how to best spend the millions of dollars she has raised in recent weeks.”
One thing is for certain. Raising money has not been a problem for O’Donnell, who has raised more than $3.7 million since she won the primary. O’Donnell’s campaign has “enjoyed a 2-to-1 cash advantage over Chris Coons,” reports Bond.
While O’Donnell’s position appears precarious, according to Anthony Martin of The Examiner, “there is a reason to believe that the polls are wrong:”
“First, O’Donnell’s fundraising has outpaced that of Coons 2 to 1. This is in spite of the fact that both the state and national GOP establishment have refused to support O’Donnell. The Party elitists, who are dominated by RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) insisted, even to the point of being obnoxious, that Mike Castle should be their candidate. And even when he lost to O’Donnell, the Party bigwigs still refused to accept the will of the people.
Second, it is clear that internal, non-publicized polling done by Democratic operatives shows that Coons is in trouble. If this were not the case, then the Democratic Party elitists would not be bringing out the big guns to the state to stump for Coons … and to bash O’Donnell relentlessly. Obama and Biden both traveled to the state to campaign for Coons — a sure sign the candidate is not as far out in front as the public polls suggest.”
Campaigners for both candidates seem to recognize that Delaware’s Senate seat will likely be the determining factor in which party will have control of the United States Senate.
Coons notes, “I don’t think there’s a scenario where the Republicans take control of the United States Senate if I’m successful in this Senate seat. And I’ve been told that’s a critical strategic concern for folks who are looking at this race from outside.”
Despite this proclamation, Bond issued a news release stating, “We’re treating the Delaware Senate race the same as we would any other Senate race. We’re going to look in this last few weeks where our resources are best applied.”
Photo: Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell answers a question during a Rotary Club debate against opponent Democratic Chris Coons in Wilmington, Del., Oct. 14, 2010.: AP Images