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Delaware Senate race moves from "Lean Republican" to "Lean Democratic"

Marketing consultant Christine O'Donnell's stunning primary victory over Rep. Mike Castle last night badly imperils Republicans' chances of winning the seat being vacated this fall by appointed Sen. Ted Kaufman (D).

Whereas Castle was a known -- and liked -- commodity to First State voters based on his more than four decades of service in elected office, O'Donnell has next-to-no presence among the general election electorate and, given the sort of primary campaign she ran, seemingly little interest or ability to expand her sphere.

National Republicans signaled privately last night that they would take their attention -- and, more importantly, money -- elsewhere in the country, focusing on what they believe to be growing opportunities in places like West Virginia and Connecticut to name two.

That decision almost certainly dooms O'Donnell's candidacy as she has no demonstrated ability to raise the money she will need to be competitive in the pricey Philadelphia media market against New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D).

(In 2008, O'Donnell raised $116,000 as she took 35 percent of the vote against then Sen. Joe Biden.)

Coons, for his part, is an elected official in the state's most populous county, a solid fundraiser and an affable guy on the stump. While he is no Biden, he is absolutely a credible candidate.

Against Castle, an icon in the state, it was hard to see Coons pulling off the upset.

Against O'Donnell, Coons is rightly regarded as the favorite.

This race moves from "Lean Republican" to "Lean Democratic" -- and in so doing gives a major boost to Senate Democrats' chances of retaining control of the chamber in the fall.

By Chris Cillizza  | September 15, 2010; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Winners and Losers from Sept. 14 primaries

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