Delaware Senate primary: The GOP reacts to Christine O'Donnell's win
By Matt DeLong
Updated at 2:10 p.m.
Washington is abuzz after tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell stunned the Republican Party with her upset of Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in the Delaware GOP Senate primary on Tuesday. Now that she's the GOP nominee, the million-dollar question is, can a very conservative Republican win in a blue state?
No way, says GOP strategist and former Bush adviser Karl Rove, Tuesday night on "Hannity."
"I'm for the Republican, but I got to tell you, we were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We are now looking at seven to eight in my opinion. This is not a race we're going to be able to win."
Rove finds himself in a lonely place, as many GOP leaders fell in line behind their nominee.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose endorsement is widely credited for O'Donnell's victory, called for party unity in a pair of tweets late Tuesday.
Primary debate is over; time 4unity is now bc time 4choosing is near. Attitudes of unsuccessful campaigns r contagious,make'em worth catching
Competitive primaries=great 4 voters! Strong msgs sent&recvd tonite; congrats 2 the victors; Now, Commonsense Constitutionalists, let's unite
In an interview with the Associated Press, O'Donnell herself called for peace after what she called "Republican cannibalism."
"We have to rise above this nastiness and unify for the greater good, because there's a lot of work to be done and there are a lot of people who want to get involved if the Republican Party would," she said. But, she added, she didn't need them to win: "It is doable without the support of the Republican Party."
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is behind O'Donnell all the way, said its chairman, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who added that the committee has already given her campaign a check for $42,000.
"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."
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the House's No. 3-ranking Republican:
"I categorically reject that Christine O'Donnell cannot win in Delaware. This is a whole new world, we elected a Republican member of the Senate from Massachusetts."
House Minority Leader John Boehner said somewhat vaguely:
"You have heard me talk all year about the rebellion that is going on in America. I have never seen more Americans engaged in our government in my lifetime."
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele also got behind the nominee:
"I look forward to electing [Christine] O'Donnell the next senator from Delaware," said Steele Wednesday at a press conference in Washington kicking off the RNC's "Fire Pelosi" bus tour. "We cannot waste the opportunity by tearing each other down."
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dedicated much of his show Tuesday to O'Donnell's upset and bashing the GOP establishment. Here's a sample:
"It's Washington versus the country."
"The same people who said we had to support [Florida Gov. Charlie] Crist told us to support Castle ... Every person they tell us to support is a dud."
"This is about conservatives taking back the Republican Party."
"The big tent has collapsed. The truth is there was never a tent."
What about the man who lost? Will he follow Palin's call for unity and endorse his former opponent? Not a chance, Politico reports:
A senior aide to Rep. Mike Castle told POLITICO the nine-term congressman will not be endorsing newly minted GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell.
"She is a con artist who won by lying about Castle's positions and her own life," said Kate Dickens, a Castle aide. "Out of state support was enough to pull her through yesterday so she can rely on it through November."
Mitt Romney, a likely 2012 GOP presidential contender, jumped on the O'Donnell bandwagon:
"Now is the time for Republicans to rally behind their nominee, Christine O'Donnell," Romney said. "She ran an impressive campaign. I believe it is important we support her so we can win back the U.S. Senate this fall."
September 15, 2010; 1:46 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Election , 44 The Obama Presidency
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